E-Books by the Numbers: E-Readers - A Tale of Two Forecasts
Big Growth to Come
Global research and advisory firm mediaIDEAS forecasted in a recent study that the U.S. market in 2010 for paid e-reader content will be approximately $460.6 million—consisting primarily of e-books sold to a user base of more than 8 million.
The study suggests that, from 2011 on, the availability of large-format, high-quality, color e-readers will promote magazine- and newspaper-content sales, as well as other paid content and e-books. The report suggests that, by the end of 2014, the U.S. e-reader user base will grow to nearly 45 million (more than five times its projected 2010 size), and the market for all categories of content sold for e-readers will rise to approximately $10.86 billion; by 2020, it will exceed $33 billion.
E-Reader Sales to 'Hit a Wall'
Computerworld.com's Matt Hamblen reported May 27 that, "E-readers like the Kindle and Nook are surging in popularity, but their sales will hit a wall in 2014 in the face of competition from a wide range of consumer electronics devices, including the iPad, according to a London-based analyst firm."
The article also reported that e-reader sales "are expected to soar to 12.2 million in 2010, up from nearly 5 million in 2009," according to Informa Telecoms & Media. "Sales will continue to grow to a high of 14 million in 2013, but they will drop off 7 percent to 13 million the following year."
iPads and E-book Reading
In a recent Comscore study, consumers were asked which features and activities they most likely would use if they owned an iPad. More than a third (37 percent) of respondents said they were "likely" or "very likely" to read books on the device, 9 percent more than those who would be "unlikely" or "very unlikely" to do so.
The results also suggested iOwners (iPhone or iPod Touch owners) are more receptive to purchasing digital content than non-iOwners: 50 percent of iOwners who also own e- readers said they spent at least $60 on e-books in the past three months, versus 24 percent of non-iOwners.
Kindles Don't Kindle
College Students' Interest
Remember last fall when Amazon launched a pilot program with seven universities, where select students test-drove the Kindle e-reader? Many anticipated the device would alleviate the burden of lugging heavy textbooks around campus.
Unfortunately, the pilot program was not so successful, according to a June 10 BusinessWeek.com article: "… Results from the pilot programs have trickled in, with most schools reporting that students were dissatisfied with the device as a classroom tool, and many had abandoned the Kindle just a few weeks into the experiment. At some schools, more than half of students surveyed said they wouldn't recommend the e-reader to friends for classroom use."
Borders recently joined major players in the e-reader market when it announced its sale of the Kobo and Libre e-readers. The Kobo was made available June 17 for $149.99 (the same price as the Sony Reader Pocket Edition, and less than the Nook and Kindle), and was reportedly sold out at press time. The Libre eBook Reader Pro, with its launch in early July, sells for $119.99.
The new e-readers are in line with Borders' plan to provide a neutral selection of device offerings, according to a company press release. The eBook Store features "free apps for your Mac, PC, Blackberry, Android, iPhone and iPad," according to Borders.
The Big Apple
According to Time NewsFeed (NewsFeed.Time.com), Apple sold 2 million iPads just 60 days following its April 3 release. At the annual Apple World Wide Developers Conference on June 7, Apple CEO Steve Jobs dropped another buzz-worthy stat: Some 1.5 million e-books have been downloaded from the Apple iBookstore, capturing a 22-percent share of the e-book market in 65 days.