A bunch of digital authors were panicking last week when they read that research analysts are projecting that eReader sales will fall off a cliff in 2013.
According to iSuppli, eReader shipments will supposedly drop by 27% by next year. Whether this prediction is accurate, or if it’s not, I’m not the least bit worried… Let me explain.
Throughout history, one form of media rarely replaces another entirely. eBooks will not kill print, and tablets won’t kill eReaders…
That DOESN’T mean that you should go into the eReader business. At least, I wouldn’t invest in a company that produces or sells eReaders exclusively…
Still, eReaders aren’t going anywhere; just look at some of the comments on the blog last week. If those aren’t glowing endorsements for how much people like Kindles and Nooks, I don’t know what is.
eContent Consumption is Exploding
If the cooldown on eReaders has you worried, maybe you should take a look at how fast the digital book market is expanding. Actually, expanding makes it sound too slow… it’s blowing up! It’s a bull in a china shop!
And the fastest growth comes around this time every year. For example, in the three months from Nov. 2011-Jan. 2012, the number of ebook buyers in the US increased from 17% to 20% — that’s almost 18% growth in your customer base in three months!
How much do you think it’s growing right now? One thing is for sure, with the demand for ebooks growing like wildfire, there’s no chance of eReaders dying out. In fact, Amazon just unveiled a whole new series of b&w screen Kindles… even though tablet sales are skyrocketing.
People are still buying eReaders and they will continue for a while, because they’re a better book delivery system than iPads. Then again, my landline never dropped calls, yet I got rid of it in favor of an iPhone that drops calls on a daily basis — because it does so much more.
In the end, there’s this…
eReaders Aren’t Devices
One of the main takeaways for digital authors and publishers is that you’ve got focus on what matters and stay flexible — especially right now while the publishing industry is undergoing massive changes.
Will tablets eventually replace most eReader devices? My guess is that they will (it won’t be soon). But it doesn’t matter…
Why? Because eReaders aren’t hardware; they’re software.
Just as we found out that “books” don’t necessarily have to be made out of ink and paper, eReaders don’t have to have to be single-purpose machines with B&W screens. They’re essentially apps.
Battery life, screen resolutions, readability… those are hardware characteristics. Reader apps are what marketers should be focusing on.
The devices will come and go, while Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo… these are the brands and formats that will dominate the digital book market for the next few years.
The sooner you learn how to make money in these fast-growing ecosystems you can rule the ePublishing future!
Share your thoughts about which ePub platforms are going to make you the most money in 2013… Leave me a comment!