The e-reader market: Still young and restless
On a gross scale, industry experts believe e-books account for less than 3% of the total market for books, but the arrival of more and more new e-reader devices is accelerating the demand for e-books to levels that exceed projections made a year ago. In March, Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said some major book publishers expect that one in four books sold in five years will be e-books.
A consolidating market
Serbinis estimated that there are 60 companies making and selling e-readers, although analysts predict a huge amount of consolidation and reshuffling in coming months.
True to that prediction, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in June bought Skiff LLC, maker of the Skiff e-reader and an e-reading platform. News Corp. described the purchase as one of the "building blocks in our strategy to transform the publishing industry."
Weiner, in his blog, wrote that News Corp. is bound to use the Skiff platform to distribute its newspaper content for use on "myriad devices."
In another symptom of the changing market, Plastic Logic earlier this month canceled the launch of its Que e-reader. The so-called e-reader for business professionals had been unveiled at the CES trade show in January, and Plastic Logic had planned to start selling the device in April. On Aug. 10, CEO Richard Archuleta said after product delays and a dramatic change in the market, "it no longer makes sense for us to move forward with our first-generation electronic reading product."
Archuleta said Plastic Logic will create a second-generation device, although analysts have warned that it will need to compete with the lower-priced e-readers designed for consumers. The cheapest Que -- a 4GB model that could hold 35,000 documents -- was expected to sell for $649.
Despite its plans for a second-generation device, Molchanov said Plastic Logic has essentially exited the U.S. market, along with e-reader companies Interead and iRex. Those companies couldn't keep up with advances in the technology or the lower prices offered at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Meanwhile, Molchanov noted that two other companies -- Samsung and Acer -- have announced plans to enter the e-reader market.
Given the failures and the start-ups, this fall is bound to be busy with more maneuvers by manufacturers and publishers. Beyond expected price drops for some e-readers to less than $50, the consensus of analyst predictions is pretty simple: The e-reader market is still young and fairly wild.
"This is certainly still a young market and it will take at least another two years for things to settle down," Molchanov said in an e-mail. Devices like e-readers and tablet computers that fit in between the laptop and smartphone form factors "have a lot of growing to do," he added. "I expect to see the two devices will begin to look very similar when products like the Mirasol display take off."
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Eye on e-books
- E-reader decline prompts user debate over e-reader vs. tablet
- Last chapter for e-readers?
- Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight: An e-reader for night readers
- Bluefire launches Android-ready e-reader software for independent booksellers
- More Americans own e-readers than tablets, survey finds
- First look: The Kobo eReader Touch Edition
- Amazon: E-books now outsell print books
- Creating an e-book: Tips on formatting and converting your document
- Kindle for the Web demos at Chrome event
- Update: Amazon to demo Kindle for the Web on Tuesday
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts