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back to article Tablets aren't killing ereaders, it's clog-popping wrinklies - analyst

Don’t blame the tablet computer for the demise of the ebook reader. Instead, look no further than aged users who are inconveniently - for Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo et al - kicking the bucket. That’s the claim made by ABI Research, a market watcher which has been tracking the ereader business for more than 10 years. ABI’ …

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"In all seriousness, can anyone spend long periods reading from a tablet without suffering eye strain and associated headaches? Can many people even hold a proper tablet in their hands for extended periods without cramping?"

Yes. I do so every day with no problems.

HTH

HAND

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Re: @ A Known Coward

>There's no evidence at all that an LCD screen causes any more eye strain than an e-ink screen.

Other than the fact the e-ink screen is going to be in sympathy with ambient lighting, i.e readable in the sun, and not blinding in a darkened room.

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Linux

Re: @ A Known Coward

We recently acquired an e-ink device around here. The main draw was battery life.

...as far as the survey goes, I think it's a big pile of nonsense.

Book readers are getting better. More people are getting exposed to tablets. Book readers are dirt cheap. Small tablets aren't that much more expensive. So it's very conceivable that people could have a dedicated reader along with all their other devices. Although book readers aren't subject to quite as much churn.

Don't see us getting another e-ink device until this one DIES.

Can't say the same for other tablets. "Tablets" are still in the 80s PC phase.

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Re: @ Gribbler

I also prefer e-ink to the illuminated lcd. But, I suspect the comfort is due to the brightness/contrast in each reading situation. With e-ink, it's much like paper; only reflecting back ambient light from your surroundings. Too dark to read? Turn on the nightstand lamp and still, contrast is not high because e-ink is no brighter than the environment illuminated by the lamp.

With lcd, it's pumping out bright light right into your face. Even on lowest brightness settings, most devices are still way brighter than a dark room. That contrast is fatiguing. Reading from an lcd in a day lit living room doesn't bother me that much. Screen refresh/flicker might also get people, but as the lighting technology is not CRT, I wouldn't put much weight here.

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Happy

Re: Sold Apple

"reading on a tablet is crap..."

In general LCD reading terms (phone or LCD tablet/e-reader), put the device / app into "Night mode". You will find LCD reading is much easier with white-on-black text than the reverse!

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I don't want two devices where one will work.

I'd like an ereader, but what I'd like more is a tablet with pixels incorporating both backlit and reflective display technology, so that when reading text it could be switched into a low-power reader mode - is this going to be possible some day or is there some fundamental reason why it can't be done?

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Re: I don't want two devices where one will work.

You could probably mass produce a roll-up e-reader screen that would connect to your tablet/phone/doc with bluetooth for less than a £10. Leave your device in your pocket/bedside table and read away. Simples.

The fundamental reason this will not be done is for economic reasons - they don't want you to save money.

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Re: I don't want two devices where one will work.

It's called the Txtr Beagle. Designed to link to a smartphone, but I guess there's no fundamental reason why it couldn't link up to a tablet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't want two devices where one will work.

"pixels incorporating both backlit and reflective display technology"

You mean like http://www.mobiletechreview.com/compaq3900.htm

That was ten years ago.

Times change.

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Re: I don't want two devices where one will work.

Im hoping Amazon will try this at some point, combine their kindle ereaders and Fires in one device and get revenue from both segments of the market? Id certainly be front of the queue (just make sure the ereader part has a paperwhite style light too!)

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Re: I don't want two devices where one will work.

That Txtr Beagle... from their website:

"Memory 4 GB. Number of books cached: Up to 5" Whaaa?

Hmm, I wouldn't mind one if it could seamlessly take text from any webpage I'm reading on my laptop, or documents for prooferading.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: backlight

The new Kindle "paperwhite" models are e-ink with a backlight and they still claim impressive battery life even when the light is constantly in use.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007OZO03M/ref=famstripe_cl

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Coffee/keyboard

Unlikely

So e-reader sales are down? No big: after all, they're sold at near-zero profit margins anyway, just like "cheap" Epson inkjets. In both cases, the profit's in the consumables: books and ink, respectively, and people who don't buy e-readers will use Kindle on their tablet, Mac or PC instead.

The thing is this: the number of readers (as in, people) isn't going down and the sales volume of readable media isn't going down either; quite the opposite, in fact. You won't see the CEOs of Amazon or Barnes & Noble, etc. sobbing into their soup!

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Unhappy

Books aren't the Window to the World anymore

Younger folks don't read much. They didn't grow up being entertained by books.

When I was a teen, we had three TV channels and no internet. Reading was a great escape and adventure source for me. Jump back to Now, and there's the Internet, cable TV, thousands of offerings pouring out at you.

Never again (in the West) will kids grow up with books being their window to the world. Reading is the also-ran these days, merely one function on the multi-use widget young folks want.

To older folks who love reading an e-reader is best, since it does that one thing perfectly. To younger folks whose primary interest is shiny video and Faceborg, tablets meet their wants better.

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Re: Books aren't the Window to the World anymore

"When I was a teen, we had three TV channels and no internet."

<insert obligatory reference to Yorkshiremen sketch here/>

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Re: Books aren't the Window to the World anymore

I'll agree that some of what you say is true. I remember three channels, the broadcast Shutdown overnight and such and the era before VCRs made it possible to watch films and programmes when they weren't scheduled.

I think there is a lost generation to books, I know (relative) youngsters in their early-late 20s who don't read. They didn't have the need to read as you say.

On the other hand, schools in the UK are trying to improve literacy in all its forms through encouraging reading.

My son's school base target is for every child to read to their parents for 15mins a day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Books aren't the Window to the World anymore

In my office there are 8 people around 25 y.o. and at least three of them readily admit that they have never read a book other than directed by teachers during their education.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Books aren't the Window to the World anymore

I forgot to mention, they all have bachelor's degrees with honours!

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Did they actually talk to any users?

E-readers have improved every year in recent memory. I've bought a new one every year for the last 4 years in a row, most recently for the new glow screen. When I look around on the train, there's far more people with e-readers than with tablets, because they all understand that it's hard to hold a heavy tablet and read on the train where the ambient light level is too high. Tablets are e-readers are different devices for different market. E-readers naturally have a more adult demographic because the first thing a kid wants is a nice colourful tablet like all their friends. Only later in life can they afford to by more specialized gadgets for different purposes.

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Rubbish

i've had a kindle 3 since they were released here and i'm in the 18-35 bracket. Of course mine has been re-batteried so thats one sale they might normally have gotten but the new kindles look like crap (and have touchscreens)

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Holmes

Re: Rubbish

Indeed - similarly after a late night screen smash incident with my Kindle 3. I've replaced the screen on the old one (£22 from China, 30 mins taking my time to make the replacement). I'm not in the 18-35 bracket but I'm hoping I have a few more decades left in me before I shuffle off.

Not intending to buy another one until this one is inoperable/irreparable.

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Re: Rubbish

Where'd you get the screen from, if you don't mind me asking?

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Boffin

Re: Rubbish

Ditto! Wants one of those screens I does.

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WTF?

I represent the effect the study ruled out

(I'm 35 by the way).

I bought an eReader first (kindle, 2 or 3 years ago).

I bought a nexus 6 months ago.

I hardly ever use the kindle now, I'm perfectly happy to read for several hours at a time on the tablet, the only downside is battery life, I'd take the kindle if I was going somewhere without power, or the journey was long (long-haul long I suppose).

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Re: I represent the effect the study ruled out

Thumbs down for what? I posted the reality of my situation, I guess you don't like that reality whoever voted it down. Sucks to be you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I represent the effect the study ruled out

Maybe it was that your sentence was fragmented (consider revising)?

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My lovely Sony PRS-300 is just fine thanks

Bought lots of e-books, but not any new e-readers in ages. I might, eventually, get one of the side-lit screens, if anyone made one that I can read with my gloves on.

Really, designers - I want a light on my reader so I can read on the way home when it's dark. If it's dark when I'm going home, it's also probably winter. And cold. Which means I don't want to have to take my gloves off to turn the page!

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Re: My lovely Sony PRS-300 is just fine thanks

You can buy touchscreen gloves you know. £1.49 for my pair but I am sure you can buy nicer gloves that do similar.

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Re: My lovely Sony PRS-300 is just fine thanks

" I want a light on my reader "

That would be Kindle Paperwhite, eh?

I'm getting one soon, as I've broken my Kindle 3... iPad is fine, but its battery life is crap and for some reason it's harder on eyes than Kindle.

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Meh

Outdoors

I mostly read outdoors on the patio. Tablets / phones / laptops are all rubbish out there. Kobo wins.. I'd consider an e-ink tablet if they could improve refresh rates, but wouldn't consider a tablet as an e-book reader. Only exception being for manuals - laptop wins every time (refresh rate and scrolling).

.

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Pint

Re: Outdoors

Location, location, location.

I mostly read in my local, which is not known for its bright lighting (thank god), so a backlit screen is essential. Nexus 7s and pints of ale all round.

PS. Bought Nexus before Amazon Paperwhite came out. No desire to swap.

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Re: Outdoors

How does reading on the patio somehow make a tablet rubbish for reading?

Unless you mean because you're reading in the sun, in which case I agree.

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WTF?

Dead boomers already?

Boomers in the US are dying off already? That's a bit early, isn't it? I'm a UK boomer and I've no intention of dying for at least another twenty years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dead boomers already?

Depends which "boomers" we're referring to. Like all shorthand it doesn't have a common and exact defintion. In the context of "dying off" and the US, it largely refers to the 1945-1955 post WW2 births, but I've seen it used for UK births during the 1960s, meaning that depending on who or what is being implied, a "boomer" could have been born anytime between 1945 and 1970.

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Re: Dead boomers already?

IIRC, "baby boomer" is anyone born between 1946 and 1964, so some of us haven't even reached 50 yet.

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Angel

Re: Dead boomers already?

Kudos because the author correctly said, 'baby boomers' is a US term. In the UK, we had the 'Bulge' in the late '40s and early '50s. I'm getting pretty fed up with youngsters* in UK media who don't know or care. I not a numb^H^H^H^Hbaby boomer I'm a Bulge Baby and proud of it!

Where's the Bulge Baby icon? Ah, that one's close enough.

*I think the rot set in when Trivial Pursuit introduced its mysteriously named "Baby Boomer Edition" to the UK.

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Re: Dead boomers already?

The peak year for births in the US was 1957, so the baby boom in the US lasted well past the early 1950's. With life expectancies in the high 70's, it will a while before the boomers start dying off in large numbers. WW2 vets on the other hand are starting to get scarce, with the youngest at 85 - and a large number of baby boomers are children of WW2 vets.

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h3
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I am moderately young (30) and still prefer a kindle with physical page turn buttons (And no touchscreen) to any tablet. (And I have both).

I won't be replacing my kindle unless I absolutely have to (And even then I will get the cheapest unless they give me physical buttons and no touchscreen and a glow light).

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Anonymous Coward

@h3 Well as a boomer in his late 50s with a son in his early teens can say we both agree with you on horses for courses, we also use both. As does my very close female friend in her 20s. Jeez all this stereotyping and the 'when I was a lad' talking down young people.

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Unhappy

screen size

Thanks to John Robson for the good analysis. Disagree about screen size, though - I can only get a fraction of a page on the machine at big enough to read so I'd really like a larger screen. This may push my standard reader from my laptop +monitor to a tablet in time.

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I'm not a baby boomer.

I've been reading e-books since 2001 (on a Palm-pilot back then)

And it never occurred to me to use anything other than a tablet of smart-phone to read ebooks.

Buying a single purpose device is such a waste...

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"Buying a single purpose device is such a waste..."

I dunno - a spork works, but I'd still rather have a separate knife, fork and spoon.

And as someone once pointed out - if you're reading on an ebook reader, you're not tempted to answer the email or twitter or facebook post that just came in...you stick to the book.

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Because doing one thing really well is such a waste.

Versatility is only a virtue when you don't have any exceptional abilities. If I can afford it, I am going to acquire the best gear for the desired application. I could buy one enduro type motorcycle that is both street legal and can do alright off-road but two motorcycles with stronger qualities in each use is going to be far more enjoyable.

Dedicated e-readers are a trivial cost for any gainfully employed adult who spends any significant time reading. Having one in addition to a tablet is so minor a cost compared to the cost in eye strain from trying to do it all on one device.

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A spork is less useful than separate 'devices' because you use them simultaneously, or near simultaneously.

You don't do that with book reading and anything else the tablet would do, so having a single multi function device is more efficient.

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> having a single multi function device is more efficient.

Until it breaks, then you lose everything in one go. In my experience that;s when you find that no-one makes an equivalent new single-function device that does exactly what the old one did.

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Pint

More Money for Amazon

I've read numerous posts where it's claimed Amazon just breaks even on selling e-readers. They make their money by selling e-BOOKS. While it's true the Kindle ties you to Amazon, and the iPad ties you to Apple, you'll probably keep on buying your books in the same old place even if you're using a tablet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More Money for Amazon

There are definitely easy ways to get free books and books from other sources available on your Kindle. Similarly for other tablet and reader-like devices. You do not have to pay the Amazon (or Apple) tax.

IANAL but I would say that if you already own a physical copy of a book you should be entitled to read an electronic version as well. This may fall under 'fair use' allowances in Europe.

In any event it's very unlikely that under current regulations and procedures, a copyright owner would be able to find out about or pursue you in regard to files on your e-reader that may not have come from verifiable sources. There is some risk that this could change with revisions to the DMCA or similar that have come up for discussion recently.

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Bollocks, Rubbish and Nonsense

The boomers are no more populous than 10 % above the norm compared to younger and older cohorts. That doesn't kill a product.

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WTF?

Ave Kindle, te morituri salutant

As a creaking, senescent 45-year old, I was horrified to learn that my preference for reading on my Kindle is just one more proof that Blinky's rider will soon be speaking to me in ALLCAPS. Either that, or a marketing division need another excuse to justify their existence. I read a lot on my Nexus 7,but only when my Kindle is charging or, more frequently, if the book is an epub that requires using Aldiko rather than Kindle. As others have pointed out, it is far more likely that the sales stagnation of e-readers is a reflection of the "if it ain't broke don't waste money upgrading it" axiom than of time scything the market.

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Re: Ave Kindle, te morituri salutant

"I read a lot on my Nexus 7,but only when my Kindle is charging or, more frequently, if the book is an epub that requires using Aldiko rather than Kindle. "

Mostly I use Calibre to solve that problem, and organise the collections on my Kindle. [ http://calibre-ebook.com/ ]

It is .pdf that requires the Transformer to read comfortably.

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