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Old 04-30-2013, 12:09 AM   #1
linereader
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e-reader sales have peaked. What do you want to see?

Several articles I've read over the last few days have mentioned that e-reader sales have peaked, including the wikipedia entry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ereader
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"In 2013 ABI Research found that the decline in the e-reader market was due to the aging of the customer base.[5] Another reason given for this "alarmingly precipitous decline" is the rise of more general purpose tablets that provide e-books along with other apps in a similar form factor.[6]"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article on Samsung's promising Liquavista technology also mentioned the sales slump http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...to-amazon.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Shipments of e-book readers will decline 27 percent to 10.9 million units in 2013, according to researcher IHS Inc. (IHS) By 2016, IHS expects 7.1 million e-readers to ship, less than a third of the peak volume seen in 2011.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While they still sell millions per year, the numbers have dropped from their peak. The reasons? Who knows. Some people think the aged users are 'dropping off'. Others think cheap(er) tablets are taking over. Their prices have come down a fair bit lately...any colour e-reader will have a hard time competing, even though outdoor use would be more pleasant with a real sungliht-viewable e-reader.

I thought it would be interesting to gauge what would make people want to buy and/or upgrade.

I would look for:
Removable battery Make one so I can replace my own battery easily when the battery doesn't hold enough charge or I encounter some strange error in the future. Embedding batteries results in ridiculous e-waste and every manufacturer knows this.
Better resolutions I'd love to see this in the ~100ish price range.
Colour An obvious one, but I'd love a sunlight-readable display that does this well.
Waterprooof An obvious choice, going where paper books can never go, and marketed as such. Simple rubber seals will do it.
Bundling the case! A $2 item should never be optional.
Better responsiveness Natural page-turns, better handling of large files and PDFs.
Audio Still surprised companies like Sony take out audio support that was included in previous editions.


1) What are your thoughts on the reasons e-reader sales have peaked?
2) what do you want to see in a new e-reader?
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:27 AM   #2
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The reason it peaked is all the heavy readers already have one or more ereaders. The ones they have are still working fine. New models aren't enough temptation to trade in until they wear out the ones they are using.

Occasional readers don't need ereaders.

Double digit growth can't go on forever. I expected a plateau where the most purchases are from new readers coming of age to read, some paper book reader getting too old to read paper anymore, and the occassional upgrade as the ereaders break or otherwise fail.

Check the growth of the ebooks. Those should still be going up.
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by linereader View Post
Several articles I've read over the last few days have mentioned that e-reader sales have peaked, including the wikipedia entry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ereader
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"In 2013 ABI Research found that the decline in the e-reader market was due to the aging of the customer base.[5] Another reason given for this "alarmingly precipitous decline" is the rise of more general purpose tablets that provide e-books along with other apps in a similar form factor.[6]"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article on Samsung's promising Liquavista technology also mentioned the sales slump http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...to-amazon.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Shipments of e-book readers will decline 27 percent to 10.9 million units in 2013, according to researcher IHS Inc. (IHS) By 2016, IHS expects 7.1 million e-readers to ship, less than a third of the peak volume seen in 2011.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While they still sell millions per year, the numbers have dropped from their peak. The reasons? Who knows. Some people think the aged users are 'dropping off'. Others think cheap(er) tablets are taking over. Their prices have come down a fair bit lately...any colour e-reader will have a hard time competing, even though outdoor use would be more pleasant with a real sungliht-viewable e-reader.

I thought it would be interesting to gauge what would make people want to buy and/or upgrade.

I would look for:
Removable battery Make one so I can replace my own battery easily when the battery doesn't hold enough charge or I encounter some strange error in the future. Embedding batteries results in ridiculous e-waste and every manufacturer knows this.
Better resolutions I'd love to see this in the ~100ish price range.
Colour An obvious one, but I'd love a sunlight-readable display that does this well.
Waterprooof An obvious choice, going where paper books can never go, and marketed as such. Simple rubber seals will do it.
Bundling the case! A $2 item should never be optional.
Better responsiveness Natural page-turns, better handling of large files and PDFs.
Audio Still surprised companies like Sony take out audio support that was included in previous editions.


1) What are your thoughts on the reasons e-reader sales have peaked?
2) what do you want to see in a new e-reader?
Most of your suggestions would actually lead to lower sales figures since e-readers would last longer.

They probably should take the opposite approach, make a bare-bones reader for $30.-, with prices dropping further in the future.

There is, however, also a sizeable market left for different screen sizes. Perhaps every manufacturer will follow Kobo's lead so that all heavy readers will re-buy their e-readers with a new screen size?

Last edited by HansTWN; 04-30-2013 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by linereader View Post
2) what do you want to see in a new e-reader?
Quote:
Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
There is, however, also a sizeable market left for different screen sizes. Perhaps every manufacturer will follow the Kobo's lead so that all heavy readers will re-buy their e-readers with a new screen size?
I'd love to see a Kindle version of either the 5" Kobo mini or the 4.3" Pyrus Mini.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:40 AM   #5
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I want to see a less fragile screen with a metal or plastic substrate instead of glass.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by linereader View Post
Waterprooof An obvious choice, going where paper books can never go, and marketed as such. Simple rubber seals will do it.
This too. I'd swap replaceable battery for fully waterproof. I'm thinking of completely waterproof. Charging by induction, connection via wireless and bluetooth, touch screen, and all electronics encased in some thermally conductive but electrically insulating moulded plastic/rubber compound, leaving no air gaps inside the reader. Would obviously also need to have the non-glass substrate display.

In short, a reader than can't be damaged by dropping or by damp. A better-than-paper book replacement.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:07 AM   #7
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This too. I'd swap replaceable battery for fully waterproof. I'm thinking of completely waterproof. Charging by induction, connection via wireless and bluetooth, touch screen, and all electronics encased in some thermally conductive but electrically insulating moulded plastic/rubber compound, leaving no air gaps inside the reader. Would obviously also need to have the non-glass substrate display.

In short, a reader than can't be damaged by dropping or by damp. A better-than-paper book replacement.
Those same specs define an ebook reader you can safely give to a three-year-old (and older).
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:20 AM   #8
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It will be interesting to see where ereader sales level off.

What would I like to see? From the technology end, not much. If these vendors want to see me buy books, rather than using libraries, they need to change their business models. It's not just the price or the DRM. It's things like having access to books and magazines from other vendors. I can do that on my tablet, but the options are more limited on dedicated readers.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:18 AM   #9
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This too. I'd swap replaceable battery for fully waterproof. I'm thinking of completely waterproof. Charging by induction, connection via wireless and bluetooth, touch screen, and all electronics encased in some thermally conductive but electrically insulating moulded plastic/rubber compound, leaving no air gaps inside the reader. Would obviously also need to have the non-glass substrate display.

In short, a reader than can't be damaged by dropping or by damp. A better-than-paper book replacement.
Make it with front lit 5 inch screen and you have my money. Offcourse, you can get more money if you let me make calls and listen to my podcats but that will be asking for...well lets say too much
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:56 AM   #10
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I think the market for ereaders is just about dead.

Everyone is using apps on their phones and tablets.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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I think the market for ereaders is just about dead.

Everyone is using apps on their phones and tablets.
Correction: a large chunk of the market for ereaders is dead. There is still a significant portion of the market that demands ereaders for a variety of purposes. A similar example may be computers: laptops and tablets have not killed the market for desktops. Far fewer people use desktops outside of the office these days, but they still sell because they serve a purpose.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:25 AM   #12
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I think the market for ereaders is just about dead.

Everyone is using apps on their phones and tablets.
Quite obviously not everyone.

Plenty of people are still buying eInk readers, and that includes people new to e-reading.

I just got a Paperwhite less than half a year ago, so I'm not in the market for a new reader yet, but I do know I want eInk also in the future, at least as long as backlit LCDs are what they are now. I have both a reasonably decent tablet (iPad 3) and phone (Galaxy S2), and there is no way at all I'd switch to reading most fiction on either of those.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:20 PM   #13
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I can't think of a single realistic feature that would get me to upgrade my Kindle 3. I say realistic, because what would get me to upgrade I don't think is reasonable to expect within my lifetime.

As it is, the Kindle 3 represents close to a perfect reading experience for me. Sure, I can think of a couple of minor nice-to-have things (no flash when turning pages for example) but none of them are worth upgrading for. For reading books, I don't want colour. I don't want a lit screen. I don't want a touch screen. I don't want it to be bigger. I don't need it to be lighter. I don't need a better battery. I don't need more storage space. I don't need it to be bendable or more durable. In short, I actually prefer it the way it is.

Now, what would get me to upgrade if modern technology and physics didn't get in the way? A screen that can physically change from an e-ink type screen (non-glossy, non-touch, non-lit) to the type you see in modern tablets. It would also have to be able to morph in size from Kindle sized, to 10ish inches. Then I'd consider upgrading, since I would then have a device on which I'd gladly read both books and magazines.

Since I can't have that, I'll have to contend with keeping the Kindle 3 for reading books, and a tablet for reading magazines.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:31 PM   #14
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I can't think of a single realistic feature that would get me to upgrade my Kindle 3.
How about something simple, such as a user-replaceable battery? What are you going to do when your K3 battery dies?
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:44 PM   #15
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The Kindle Keyboard suits my needs pretty well as far as physical design.
What I would add is more memory, SD cards, and better library management software.

I don't need touch, lighted screens, internet access, social media, bendable screens, search other than for title, author or genre, highlighting, notetaking, ect.

I just want to buy, store, find and read my novels easily. That's where the focus should be with ereaders. The rest is fluff. Fine to work on if you have mastered the essential four requirements but having those other things doesn't make up for being lacking in the essentials.
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