Its worth estimating sales of eReaders other than the Kindle as it gives us a good idea of the total size of the eReader market.
These are all guesstimates. The only official figure is the one from Sony for sales through Dec 2008 (300,000).
eReader Sales Estimates Chart
Here’s a chart showing sales estimates for the number of different eReaders sold so far –
The Legend is only a rough guide – there are lots of other factors considered. Analyst estimates are only for the Kindle.
eReader Sales Estimates – Data Points
- 900K according to analysts. See this post on kindle sales estimates from analysts.
- Guesstimate based on reviews and other criteria you get a figure closer to 1.35 million sales so far.
- Finally, if you extrapolate using eInk panel display figures, you arrive at 1.31 million so far (see Sony section for details).
For Kindle Sales we get a range of .9 million to 1.35 million.
- Dec 5, 2008: Sony revealed it had sold 300,000 Readers worldwide (in October 2006 through December 2008).
- Extrapolate out the 300K figure and add in a factor for increasing ereader penetration and Sony probably sold 200,000 more Readers to arrive at a total figure of 500,000 so far.
Note: Jan 18th, 2009: Sony revealed it had sold 30,000 Readers in the UK in 4 months.
An alternative method would be to do what Evan Schnittman at Oxford University Press did i.e. use numbers from PVI. That would indicate –
- Using his figures of 60-80K eInk panels per month in 1st half 2008 and 120K eInk panels per month in the 2nd half of 2008, he arrived at 500K sales for Amazon and 350K for Sony.
- We know Sony sales are actually 300K. This hints that 50K panels were probably used for other eReaders – which makes sense since eInk is used by eReaders other than Kindle and Sony.
- If we assume capacity ramped up to 180K eInk panels per month for 2009, and 60% went to Kindle, we get 810K additional kindle sales. 30% going to Sony implies 405K Sony eReader sales.
The range for Sony sales becomes .5 million to .705 million.
All Other eReaders
If we assume that 10% of sales of eInk panels were to other eReader companies (not Sony or Amazon) we get –
- 42K in 1st half 2008, 72K in 2nd half of 2008, and 135K in 2009.
That’s a total of 249K eReader sales from other companies.
Lets consider the iRex iLiad –
Booksahead quoted a figure of approximately 60,000 unit sales of the iRex iLiad through August 7th, 2009.
This does fit in with our figures of 249K for all other eReader sales as iRex is a relatively big player in the ‘business ereader market’.
Another good data point is the number of posts in the forum for each ereader at MobileRead –
- Kindle – 2,090. However, most Kindle owners use the Kindle forum. So we’ll leave this out.
- Sony – 5, 330.
- iRex iLiad – 2,017.
- iRex Reader – 359.
- Bookeen – 851.
- Hanlin – 368.
- All Others – 294 (excluding legacy devices section).
This does seem to indicate that iRex is the clear #3 after Sony and Kindle. It also clearly shows that all other eReader devices together are getting less interest than the iRex, which itself is getting much less interest than the Sony.
This seems to indicate that iRex gets same sales as all other eReaders (excluding Sony, Kindle, iRex), indicating sales of closer to 120K. This is our 2nd estimate for iRex sales.
For the iRex our sales estimate range is 60K to 120K sales.
Our estimate of 10% of total eInk shipments being for other eReader devices isn’t too far off. The figure is unlikely to be higher than 20% or lower than 5%.
Overall conclusion – eReaders Sales Share
- Kindle owns 58.59% of the market.
- Sony owns 30.6% of the market.
- iRex owns 5.21% of the market.
- All other eReaders account for 5.6% of the market.
This is a guesstimate – however, its probably very close to actual figures as official figures from Sony match up with it, as do guesstimates based on number of kindle reviews.