Originally Posted by jocampo
And a world of difference between a can opener and an ereader, don't you think? ;-)
Not at all. While they perform quite different functions, both are single-function devices that people have little need to upgrade and tend to replace only when the item no longer works. There's not a whole lot you can do to an e-reader that makes people feel they simply must have the new model.
In contrast, devices such as smartphones and tablets people are much
more likely to upgrade. These devices do become obsolete fairly quickly, while dedicated e-readers do not.
My main point was that the initial growth in e-reader sales was people buying their first e-reader. It would be a mistake to expect that same rate of sales to continue. Once the market becomes saturated, the number of first-time buyers becomes small, and the remainder of the market is people replacing their devices, and people aren't that highly motivated to replace their dedicated e-reader with a new dedicated e-reader. The decrease in sales doesn't predict the end of the e-reader, only the end of the initial stage of rapid growth in e-reader sales.
It's simply a very different market from the tablet market. With a tablet you can say "Sure, you like Angry Birds, but if you want to play Angrier Birds, you need to upgrade", and people will. The new tablet offers something substantially different than the previous model. Perhaps they don't need Angrier Birds, but it's a feature that persuades people to upgrade. With dedicated e-readers, however, it just reads books, so it's much harder to add features to entice people to upgrade.