back to article E-book reader demand boom near

Sales of e-book readers are going to skyrocket - but not for a few years yet. So says market watcher ABI Research, and it's conclusion is largely backed by fellow analyst Gartner. According to ABI, the e-book reader biz won't boom until 2013 when, it reckons, shipments will increase by almost 100 per cent on the previous year …


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  1. dotdavid

    Reflective Screens

    The key benefit of a dedicated ebook reader is that it usually has a reflective screen, which you can read fine without eyestrain, on the beach etc.

    Until the technology moves on enough so tablet screens can be read in brighter light, I think there will always be a market for a dedicated device. That said, I don't know how big that market would be - while I don't agree with them, a lot of people find the screen on their tablet or even smartphone "good enough".

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    History shows...

    That combined devices don't always have the market. Look at the success of the iPod despite the integration of a music player in most mobile phones for the last three to four years. Inasmuch as tablets are shaping up to be PMP with e-mail and browsing and reading as well, I'm not sure if people will consider them as better e-readers.

    Battery life is readability in all lighting conditions are still key differentiators for readers, so apart from price there is continued pressure on size, weight and robustness: can I take one with to the beach? Are they cheap enough to be able to have more than one?

    I'm still smarting that PlasticLogic's Que never hit the market - I want something for my technical documentation.

  3. dotdavid

    ...and another thing

    I forgot to mention the battery life. I somehow don't see Tablet devices lasting for two books on a single charge :)

  4. Frosty840


    It doesn't matter to me how low-priced, or how high-quality ebook readers become; if they can't balance their pricing with the fact that I currently get most of my books from the local library, then there's no further conversation to be had.

    A purchased book is a luxury item, with value over and above the ability to just read the damn thing. Until ebooks themselves are priced down to the cost of a trip to and from the library, then I'm not interested.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      so why not check to see whether your library does ebooks. I know the hertfordshire one does and they have enough choice that I can normally find at least one book I want to read.

    2. CABVolunteer

      Borrowing e-books?

      So, if you could borrow e-books from your local public library, would you be interested?

      My local library, in conjunction with a couple of neighbouring boroughs, has been offering a selection of titles in e-book format for a year or so. The choice is still tiny, but it's a start. (Of course there's always a snag - the service uses Adobe DRM.......)

  5. Bluenose

    Not if the books remain more expensive

    Why would any one want to pay over £100 for an e-book reader and then more for the book than the paper version costs? While e-books are more expensive than paper ones I will stick to paper and feel happy that I can then off load the book at a charity shop, something I don't think you can do with an e-book.

    1. Mark Aggleton


      I haven't paid more for a Kindle book than it's paper equivalent. Ok, if it's only available in hardback it will probably be more than it would be in paperback a year later however that price will drop when the paperback comes out.

  6. waltg

    Save money, use your Android!

    I recently started reading books on my Android phone - I find it perfect for the job. It's always with me and I can easily pop in and out of my book and the form factor of my phone is ideal for this.

    1. Code Monkey

      Save your eyes, get a proper ebook reader

      As someone who can happily spend an entire weekend buried in a book there's no way I'd do that on a smartphone. It'd be fine for a commute (were I to use public transport) but for a proper sesh? No chance.

      Speaking more generally, I've been sceptical about ebook readers. Since moving my mountain of paper books around has shown me it's not as "pointless bling" as I'd thought. So once my "to read" pile goes down, I'll be in the market for an ebook reader.

  7. Brian Gannon
    Thumb Up

    It's all about e-ink

    I bought my wife a kindle and she loves it. Battery goes months between charges, books can be downloaded (WiFi / 3G) any hour of the day and you can have thousands stored on it. The e-ink technology is very impressive and reading on it is a joy. The kindle itself is attractive and very very light. You can even email Word and PDF documents to it if you don’t have a USB connection available.

    It's not a cheap way to read books (although there are thousands of free classics available, and there is a burgeoning torrent collection of bestsellers if you are that way inclined) but it’s very convenient. I would challenge anyone who is sceptical to give it a go and I would imagine most would be converts.

  8. James 51 Silver badge

    E-Readers are expensive but wait, there's more.

    Even old classics cost money to buy and not even the best stocked libraries are going to hold them all, particularly the forgien language versions. But you can get far more than the cost of the e-reader from various sites like baen publishing or project gutenberg. Even the black library gave a few ebooks away when they relaunched their site. Also, my PRS-350 takes up a lot less room on my shelves or my luggage than my complete works of shakespeare.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How big is the market?

    There's a lot of people who aren't regular readers. People who only read a book 3 or 4 books a year aren't likely to queue up to purchase an expensive reader, unless it offers some compelling advantage. Many of the people who buy a couple of books a week have already switched to the Kindle for it's obvious convenience.

    As someone who has gone from being a couple of books a week to a couple of books a year reader (I spend much more of my time on "ephemeral" reading these days - blogs, the Register, newspapers, magazines) I can't see myself purchasing a dedicated e-reader. I expect to be using a tablet device to access the web content that takes up more and more of my reading time, but it will be a general purpose tablet, rather than a dedicated reader.

    I can see the 50USD/30GBP e-reader being sold as a "must give" Christmas present in the next couple of years, but I don't think they'll be bought by the readers themselves, so they'll be built to price, rather than function.

  10. Marco 1

    android 10.2" devices

    using an android device with a screen that size gives you lots of functionality . Apart from the fact that you can read Kindle books on the android device and also use other e-book readers to get other books or even read .pdf I see the android as a very flexible solution that costs just a bit more than a basic kindle and much less ( about a 2/3 less) than an Ipad. Obviously battery life isn't going to be as long as a kindle as what we are using is a bit more resource hungry . I don't usually stay in the garden for more than 8 hours reading a book anyway . I can very happily "make do" with something that reads e-books , plays music , shows videos or movies , surfs the net and can make use of tens of thousands of application and even games available on the marketplace.

    The interest in those devices would be higher if people were shown their capabilities more often .

  11. Chris Bidmead

    I'm with Marco 1 on this one

    ...except that I'm betting on the 7" Android form factor. Yes, e-ink is great for reading in bright sunlight. But a backlit screen is fine for most normal lighting conditions, and indispensible for reading in bed if you don't want to disturb your partner. The key requirement is being able to control the brightness precisely and easily, which in some Android eBook implimentations is as simple as running a finger up or down the left edge of the screen.

    Yes, you'll need to charge your Android device daily rather than monthly, but I never seem to spend enough time away from civilisation these days for this to be worth worrying about.

  12. robin penny

    Boom is upon us already. Not 2013

    I have been very surprised to see E-book reders popping up a lot on the train in the last 3 months, and not just with gadget hungry men, I have seen a surprising number of women with them too.

    I think the Kindle will sell very well over Xmas in the UK, with huge sales compared to last year.

  13. Martin Nelson

    Absolute Rubbish

    I've been interested to see the results of a study done by UKGOV with a multitude of focus groups and book-clubs. The results show that there is no great interest in eBooks or eBook readers. A mere 7% of those asked said that they had or planned to buy an eBook reader.

    I've also been visiting library readers groups over the last 2 months and have not yet met one single person interested in eBooks.

    As with all new techs there is an initial interest, but the real tell tale sign will be Christmas sales figures. My instinct is that eBook readers will not sell as well as predicted.

    If they do it would be a huge shame. Creators of eBook readers miss the point entirely. There is something about the bound pages that give a multi-sensory experience that CANNOT be replicated by eBooks. The smell of the book, the feel of the pages are the main ones, but there are other factors.

    Kindle should die and stay buried. As should all eBook readers

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Absolute Rubbish

      'There is something about the bound pages that give a multi-sensory experience that CANNOT be replicated by eBooks'

      Hmmm.... that's a bit like saying you enjoy going to the cinema because you love the feel of the seats.

      I like the 'extras' paper brings too, but no one should get hung up on what is essentially just an analogue data delivery mechanism. It's what's printed inside the covers that matters.

  14. Tony Paulazzo

    This Title Copyright

    I think there will always be a market for a dedicated device<

    Adam Notion Ink (admittedly still vapourware) offers the best of both worlds - e-ink and backlit with correspondingly longer battery life, and whilst waiting for this I'm 'making do' with an ipad because I can still read books comfortably, as well as, ecomics and PDFs in colour, surf, music, game, video podcasts (a new pleasure), and stream films from my main system whilst in bed.

    >There is something about the bound pages that give a multi-sensory experience that CANNOT be replicated by eBooks<

    'And there is something about the sensual nature of the fondle slab that simply can't be recreated by buying a book.' G33k L0vr /joke

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