So there's a reading gadget and a reading gadget with Angry Birds Star Wars. Which do you pick? Well, you, cultured person that you are, would select the dedicated e-reader, of course, just like you would rather watch Frontline instead of Honey Boo Boo, or pick up Vanity Fair instead of Us Weekly on the checkout line. Or at least that's what the ideal version of yourself would do. But as Amazon and Barnes & Noble are quickly discovering this year, the highbrow ideal all too often gives way to the mass-market realities. Sales of the Kindle and especially the Nook fell this holiday season, despite lower prices than more fully functioning tablets, which are distinctly on the rise. And market researchers estimate that these divergent paths will continue — The Wall Street Journal reports that e-readers sales will be cut in half, from 14.9 million per year to just 7.8 million, by 2015. But the death of the e-reader has less to do with the iPad than what's inside of it: from tablets to TV shows and everything in between, the most high-minded of ideas for cultural consumption always seem to devolve toward mindless entertainment.
So there you have it. The decline of ereader sales is due to the fact that we prefer "mindless entertainment" over "cultural consumption"