I've mentioned in quite a few posts in the last few months that I believe this is the year that dedicated eReader sales will peak and start a rapid decline. It's not rocket science - the explosion of multi-function tablet computers are making the dedicated eReader obsolete.
The only real advantages of dedicated units are the battery life - up to two months between charges for some models - and the ability to be read in sunlight. I think both advantages are worth having a dedicated eReader to hand, but I suspect the days of people paying significant amounts of money for these features are over.
But it seems that my gut instinct is off beam. The potential decline in sales is obvious to anyone watching the increase in tablet sales, but the amount of new dedicated eReader models springing up over the last few months seems to suggest they have one last hurrah in them. Apparently not. According to iSuppli Market Research, the decline has already begun.
It seems that dedicated eReader sales are on target to be 30% less than last year, down from 23 million devices in 2011 to just over 14 million this year. Of course, this research is largely based on US trends which are currently running at about 18 months ahead of UK trends, so the uptick in dedicated eReaders I'm seeing over here may still translate to a good few sales. Having said that, the push for tablets is relentless as we approach the Christmas season over here, so perhaps we'll see a lot of basic Kindles, Nooks and Kobos in the sales.
My advice, if it is the case that a lot of these end up at sale price, is to pick one up if you haven't already got one. Even if you have a tablet, which you would almost certainly use for reading eBooks on anyway, the dedicated eReaders do have those two advantages mentioned already.
So, the days of the dedicated eReader are numbered. It was a short but fabulous journey. However the days of the eBooks that they host have only just begun.
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