iPad as eReader experiment not starting well

Apple finally disclosed some official iPad sales figures and here are the three figures that stood out -

  1. 1 million iPads had been sold by Friday. That’s almost as many as the number of articles written about the iPad (think about it before you dismiss the idea ;) ).  
  2. 12 million apps were downloaded. 
  3. 1.5 million eBooks were downloaded from the iBooks store.

It’d be nice to know some more details – especially the ratio between paid and free downloads.

Here are some interesting ways of looking at that data -

  • In the first month, when users are most likely to make purchases, 1.5 books were downloaded per user per month. Not very promising – We don’t even know how many of the 1.5 million ebooks downloaded were paid books.
  • Ratio of apps to books downloaded was 8:1. The notion that people are going to be doing lots of reading can be put to bed.  
  • The most hyped product in history sold 1 million units after 3+ months of publicity and 1.5 months of preorders and availability. Imagine how well it would have done if people could actually figure out what it’s for.

It just isn’t that impressive to sell 1 million iPads and get 1.5 million ebook downloads after the biggest launch of the year and 4 months of non-stop coverage. 1.5 million books downloaded in a month is hardly a threat to eReaders.     

Perhaps the high prices (of the device and the books) are getting in the way of the iPad’s plans of eReader domination.

Speaking of price, Buy.com has the Sony Reader Pocket Edition for $140 with free shipping. That’s a pretty good deal (courtesy CNet).

Playing Devil’s Advocate

Let’s take the same numbers and paint the iPad as the future of the eReader -

  1. All 1.5 million of those ebook downloads were paid books. That’s 1.5 books a month and 18 books a year. 
  2. Kindle for iPad and Kobo and other eReader Apps will add another 1.5 books a month – That’s another 18 books a year.
  3. This is just the beginning. By end of the year there will be 10 million iPads – each accounting for 36 book sales a year.

Perhaps we could go as far as claiming that people will actually read more books in later months than in their first month. Perhaps we start saying that not only will people buy books through eReader apps they will also buy individual book apps.  

It’s pretty easy to twist the numbers.

People’s Reactions

Not many people are talking about books. Nearly everyone thinks we should consider the iPad a success now.

Let’s wait till end of the year – Especially when it comes to assessing impact (or lack thereof) on the sale of eReaders.

For Apple lovers Teleread has a pretty sobering comparison -

Engadget has reported that 1.5 million ebooks were downloaded to the iPad in the first 28 days after its introduction. Wow! the press says. “It shows that the iBookstore will rule the world”.

Not.

Feedbooks distributed 2.6 million books during the same period!!

The 8:1 apps to books ratio is equally interesting. People are greatly underestimating just how difficult it is to focus on reading when you have thousands of distractions.

Is any company as full of itself as Apple?

Here’s a paragraph from Apple’s Press Release (split and highlighted by yours truly) which highlights why it’s hard for me to like the company despite them having made the iPhone -

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications.

Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

This is the type of write-up professional resume writers probably dream of.

It reminds me of this billionaire in India who’s building an entire skyscraper (literally) as a house – Even after earning billions he still needs to have (and people to know he has) 3 floors of gardens and 2 swimming pools to feel good about himself.

Perhaps that’s what it is – perhaps Apple has a little bit of the nouveau riche thing going on. After all those years of losing to Microsoft they are delirious to be doing so well and can’t help releasing gaudy press releases and thrashing the very life out of words like magical and revolutionary.

How important are physical stores for selling ereaders?

Apparently the Kindle might be coming to BestBuy soon (Kindle World) -

A long-time commenter at Engadget, David Wixom has posted that he is an employee of Best Buy (sells cameras there) and says today that:

  “I have a feeling we are going to start selling the Kindle at Best Buy as well seeing as we just got cases for them in on the truck today.  I find it hard to believe we will sell cases for a product we don’t sell.

  My impression is that the comment is genuine (not rumor-mongering), as he identifies himself, unlike the bulk of anonymous posters

This is in addition to claims that Kindle is going to start selling at Target on April 25th (TechFlash via Engadget) -

… Kindles may be headed to Target store shelves by April 25. Perhaps Amazon sees a greater need for a brick-and-mortar sales channel for its e-readersAsked about the Kindle-Target report, Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said “we don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

We also have news from Engadget that B&N’s Nook will start selling at BestBuy on April 18th -

… now multiple sources are telling us that Best Buy will start selling the Barnes and Noble Nook on April 18th — a rumor we can back up with this shot of Big Blue’s inventory system.

We’re also informed that units are arriving at stores right now, so keep your eyes peeled …

So in the space of a few days we hear that Amazon might start selling the Kindle via Best Buy and Target and B&N might start selling the Nook via Best Buy.

By the end of April we’ll have the Kindle available for the first time in physical stores and Best Buy will be the stage for the War of the eReaders and Pretend eReaders – Kindle vs iPad vs Nook.

How badly do Kindle and Nook need retail presence?

(Of course, for Nook we mean in addition to B&N stores).

Very badly.

Apple has managed to get more publicity for the iPad than perhaps any product ever. It’s also trumpeting sales numbers (now at 450K iPads sold).

The way Steve Jobs is promoting the iPad is a master-class in sales psychology -

  1. ‘A Magical and Revolutionary Product at an Unbelievable Price’ - That phrase is a work of copywriting art.
  2. The constant reminders of sales invoke Social Proof – notice how they are always referred to as amazing and magical sales numbers and when possible contrasted against lower figures.
  3. At the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement Steve Jobs kept harping about how they can’t make it fast enough – which is exactly what he would say whether 1 million iPads had sold or 100,000. That and the convenient sold-out status a week before launch invoke Scarcity.
  4. Selectively talking up good points (reading light, color screen, Winnie the Pooh) while ignoring negatives (reading in sunlight, advantages of eInk, lack of range in iBooks). 
  5. The constant bombardment of the Press increases familiarity and that creates a Liking for the product. It’s why advertisers always try to get their brand/product brought to customers’ attention again and again.
  6. There’s always talk of 600,000 books downloaded on iPad without mentioning how many are free books. Note that Amazon got blasted for their Christmas ‘more ebooks than books’ press release even though they did NOT include free book downloads.
  7. The constant reminder of the promise of Apps and of the sheer number of apps.

Apple is just destroying eReaders in the War of Perception – Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field is in full effect. The best response to that is Reality.

The Kindle and Nook need retail presence badly to provide a dose of reality. A shot of eReader reality will create three main effects -

  1. Familiarity – All the iPad articles and press coverage are getting people very familiar with the iPad. Amazon and B&N need to ensure that users get a chance to see their devices regularly too. If all things are equal the more familiar device will get picked. 
  2. Fair Representation - The Press have downplayed the strengths of eReader devices. When people try them out themselves they’ll be able to tell the difference instantly – eInk vs LCD, unitasking vs multi-tasking, weight, portability, glare. Things that all the iPad reviews and Kindle vs iPad comparisons completely miss out. 
  3. Financial Reminder - A reminder of the price and of cost of ownership really helps eReaders. $259 is a LOT less than $499 - Especially when you get a chance to see the Kindle has free Internet (with a limited browser). 

The importance of reality brings up another question.

Could Kindle and Nook win against Steve Jobs on Perception?

Quite frankly that’s almost impossible as long as the Press are in bed with Apple. In a few years when the Press realize that Apple have exploited them just like the Internet did they might be more likely to paint a fair picture. For now, it’s best to assume that it’ll be a guerrilla war against the main stream media and Apple’s full-out invasion of people’s minds.

Getting actual eReaders in stores is a big step.

Equally big is positioning eReaders well and focusing on their strengths -

  1. The focus on reading.
  2. Reading in sunlight.
  3. Reading for longer periods.
  4. Battery Life.
  5. Reading purchased books on PC, Mac, Blackberry, and so forth. With iBooks you can’t.
  6. Lack of distractions.
  7. Portability – smaller size, lower weight, one-handed reading.

At this point it might make sense to talk up the price difference a lot. With the understanding that an iPad Mini down the line (perhaps, in Q1 2011) means price can’t be relied on as the main advantage.

If eReader companies really do want to stick to only books (and not expand the Kindle and Nook brands to multi-purpose devices) it might be worthwhile to paint Kindle vs iPad as book lovers vs the world. 

It’s really difficult though – Apple are masters of psychological influence and the one thing that’s keeping dedicated eReaders in the game is that Apple’s strategies don’t work that well with people who read books. Which is perhaps why they want book lovers to buy a device that’ll lead to reading less books.

Ups and Downs in the eReader World

There are lots of changes in eReader World and most are linked to the magic that is the iPad.

Sony Reader Pocket Edition priced at $169 for 2 weeks

The Digits Blog of the Wall Street Journal starts off with an article on Sony’s $30 price cut on the Sony Reader Pocket Edition – It really is a good value at $169. Do check my kindle vs Sony reader pocket edition review post to see how they stack up.

It’s a 2 week discount -

Sony’s $30 discount only lasts through April 4, just in time for the April 3 arrival of Apple’s $499 and up iPad in stores on April 3.

It’ll be interesting to see whether this sparks a pricing war. Forrester, rather predictably, use this as an excuse to expound on their sub $100 eReader theory -

Forrester analyst James McQuivey predicts that single-purpose e-reader prices will drop to as low as $99 by next year.

“When you are competing against multi-function devices, you must have a clear signal as to why a single-purpose device is desirable. A price of $99 would be a very strong signal,” he said.

Apple starts snapping up the larger Independent Publishers

Apparently there are large independent publishers and they are beginning to sign up with Apple. Amazon has allegedly told independent publishers that signing up for the Agency Model means Amazon will stop selling their books. It doesn’t seem to be working.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (affectionately known as TUAW) write about Perseus Books Group’s decision to sign-up with Apple -

Perseus also distributes books from 330 smaller presses, the most notable being Harvard Business School Press and Zagat. Similar to Apple’s deal with app developers and the other large publishers who have already signed on, Apple will allow Perseus to set prices for their ebooks while Apple will receive a 30% cut.

Perseus is also the largest distributor of independent publishers and it might be too big for Amazon to take action against.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens if the iPad doesn’t become a huge channel for ebooks. A lot of the smaller publishers might regret getting Amazon angry.

Apple iBooks’ text to speech raising concerns

Christian Science Monitor wonders – Is it legal for ebooks to be audible?

At other places on the Internet (that now escape my browsing memory) people argue the opposite – Is it legal for Publishers to deny text to speech to blind readers?

It would not be a surprise if Publishers gave Apple allowance to use text to speech as a means to make the iPad and iPad ebooks more attractive than Kindle ebooks. It’s so much Divide and Conquer you expect the East India Company to have a hand.

iRiver Story debuts at retail stores in Romania

The iRiver Story had launched in Romania via eMag, the largest online Romanian store, around 3 months ago. It’s now available in the 250 store Germanos network. It’s available for 999 lei and comes with 101 Romanian Novels.

iRiver are happily playing up the Kindle vs iRiver angle -

Two months ago, representatives of Skin, distributor of iRiver Story in Romania told Wall-Street that iRiver Story sales could reach 10,000 units at least, and that until mid year, the battle will be between Kindle (the e-book reader available via Amazon) and iRiver Story.

Just how crazy has the JesusTablet worship gotten?

Exhibit A: Wired are running an article with 13 people talking about the Rise of the Tablet. Ladies and Gentleman, hold your horses – We haven’t even had a launch yet.

Here’s a comment from someone who designs games for the iPhone -

Forget the netbook. It’s a slow, clunky piece of junk. Do I want to look like the guy who couldn’t afford a real computer or the guy who went to the future and brought back a device that’s as cool as I imagine I am?

That’s beautiful all by itself.

Here’s another comment. This one went totally over my head -

Ten years from now, we will look back at the tablet and see it as an end point, not a beginning.

The tablet may turn out to be the final stage of an extraordinary era of textual innovation, powered by 30 years of exponential increases in computation, connection, and portability.

An extraordinary era of textual innovation?

Kevin Kelly says -

This window tablet injects some Africa into computers. It overthrows the tyranny of the keyboard. Gestures are king. Swoosh your fingers to scroll, wave your arms as with a Wii, shake or tilt it. Celebrate its embodiment. The craftsmanship of this device will matter.

We’ll spend hours holding it, caressing it, stroking its magic surface, watching it. The feel of its surface, the liquidity of its flickers, the presence or lack of its warmth, the quality of its build, the temperature of its glow will come to mean a great deal to all of us.

Mr. Kelly should consider writing romance novels – Anyone who can use feel, flicker, warmth, glow, caress, stroke, and presence to describe a gadget would probably make romance novels spontaneously combust.

Nicholas Negroponte thinks one-handedness is the big advantage tablets have. He obviously misses the fact that it’s impossible to get away with holding a device in one hand when it uses multi-touch technology and weighs as much as a hardcover.

Chris Anderson of Free fame manages to use the Kindle as the reason that Tablets are the future of Media -

Tablets are the future of media — if they become ubiquitous.

The Kindle shows that people are willing to pay for specialized devices if they can give them the flexibility to have the content they want when they want it.

Bigger than a phone, funner than a laptop, more cuddly than a Kindle. I think they’re going to sell like hotcakes.

Have just one question for Mr. Anderson – Have you ever really cuddled with a Kindle?

Unfortunately, the other contributors keep their wits about them and Gina Bianchini of Ning even manages to keep it short and sweet.

This takes the Cake – $8 billion App Market by 2015

Michael Wolf at GigaOm decides he shall outdo the iPad cuddlers and magic surface strokers -

The paid web tablet app market will grow to top $8 billion by 2015 from just $183 million in 2010.

In 5 years the paid app market for Tablets is going to grow 43 times?

Note that he doesn’t even count advertising revenue from apps and subscription revenue or content sales (kindle books, netflix). Which means he expects the overall app economy to be much bigger than $8 billion a year.

Lest we accuse Mr. Wolf of being unrealistic only about apps he also predicts web tablets to be a 43 million units a year market.

How do we stay balanced towards the JesusTablet?

When you have people alternating between -

  1. Proclaiming eReaders are dead.  
  2. Predicting 43 million tablet sales a year.
  3. Verbally molesting the iPad. 
  4. Making obviously wrong claims i.e. Tablets are great for one-handed use.

It’s difficult to figure out what to think of the iPad. There isn’t anything it could possibly do to impress us if we already expect it to completely transform everything.

Thankfully it releases in 10 days and we can have actual facts replace all these flights of fancy.

The downsides of clubbing the iPad with eReaders

It’s a bit vexing that people are trying to pass off the iPad as an eReader - claiming that any device you can read on is an eReader. If they use that definition all desktop computers are eReaders. Even if they try to be clever and say – An eReader is any mobile device you can read on (which would keep in the iPad and keep out the desktops) you have 70 million+ eReaders in the form of 20 million+ netbooks and 50 million+ iPhones.

The main downsides of passing off the iPad as an eReader

Well, there are quite a few -

  1. It makes eReaders seem less successful than they are. The two devices are targeting completely different audiences - eReaders target readers and iPad targets people scared of computers and looking for tablets and those who love the iPhone and iPod. It’s completely different markets and the latter two are obviously bigger than the former.
  2. It downplays some real benefits that eReaders have i.e. the eInk screen, the focus on reading, and the lack of distractions. 
  3. eReaders are an emerging market. It’s attractive to pass off an iPad as an eReader but it confuses people about the market. If the iPad is an eReader then suddenly the definition of ‘eReader’ has been expanded into ‘any electronic device you can read on’.
  4. It skews figures – It’ll seem like people buying the iPad are dedicated readers but most aren’t.  
  5. It’s an unfair comparison because you’re comparing a device dedicated to reading with a device dedicated to multiple functionality. 
  6. It distracts authors and publishers. All these ‘there are more books than games for the iPhone’ type of articles are bad enough. Why don’t we talk actual ebook sales and actual profits.

It’s rather interesting that Apple are targeting two of the weaker markets i.e. Tablets and eReaders. They’re targeting netbooks too – However, netbooks are a strong market and that’s why there’s not much effort made to paint an iPad as a netbook. Compare iPad sales with 20 million+ a year netbook sales and it isn’t impressive. Compare iPad sales with eReader sales and it might be.

A simple test for whether the iPad is an eReader

Here’s what we should do – Any iPad owner who buys a $10 book a month on the iPad gets counted as a reader and that iPad gets counted as a reading device. You want to be generous and make it one $10 book every 2 months – that’s fine. However, we can’t be taking devices that people never read books on and calling them eReaders.

Why the push to call the iPad an eReader

There are some really interesting possibilities -

  1. Apple want to capture a share of the eReader market and of the eBooks market so they definitely want to push the iPad as an eReader.
  2. In a sense Apple is giving developers a blank slate – So they are hoping apps make the iPad as good as a dedicated eReader even though the iPad isn’t built as one.
  3. Lots of tech people are bothered that not-cool eReaders are becoming popular – they desperately want to find a way to ‘kill’ eReaders.
  4. A lot of the press are anti-Amazon and want to downplay the success of eReaders in general and the Kindle in particular.
  5. eReaders have a lot of buzz and iPad wants to use that to sell something rather different from an eReader.
  6. eReaders are still a young market so the competition and branding is fluid and weaker.
  7. eReader technology is weak.

There are some very good reasons to take a general purpose mobile computing device and play it off against Tablets (that sell a million or so units a year) and eReaders (that sell 4 to 5 million units a year).

Apple would have to be crazy to compare the iPad with the actual devices that it’s comparable to – netbooks (20 million sales a year) and laptops (hundreds of millions sold a year).

How do eReaders counter iPad’s attempts to call itself an eReader?

Simply promote the benefits of eReaders that Apple can’t match -

  1. Videos comparing eInk with LCD.
  2. Videos showing eReaders being read in bright sunlight. 
  3. Explain the amount of reading done on eReaders.
  4. Play up the dedicated reading aspects.
  5. Talk up the Kindle’s free Internet.
  6. Non-Kindle eReaders should talk up their ‘open’ qualities.
  7. Make it a point of pride – I love reading enough to get a dedicated device. I get something that is great for reading, not something where reading is an afterthought.

The biggest problem is that the Press is desperate for the iPad to succeed since they’re hoping they can sell newspapers on it and they feel it is a hedge to Amazon’s take over of ebooks. So no point looking to the Press for help – In fact, that’s why every single eReader from Kindle to Nook to Entourage Edge gets crucified in the press. For the press eReaders are the enemy and Steve Jobs’ JesusTablet is the Messiah.

eReader companies have to reach customers directly and they have to hammer on the fact that eReaders are built for reading and for readers. The iPad is trying to capture the ebooks market as an afterthought – without really caring for readers. eReader companies have to show readers they are for reading – both by talking to them directly and by stepping up the pace of improvements.

Rumored death of ereaders

There has been a flurry of articles proclaiming the death of eReaders. Thought it’d be fun to compile all the reasons people think eReaders are doomed and see whether any patterns show up.

What are the main reasons people think eReaders are dead?

  1. The iPad is revolutionary.
  2. iPad can do multiple things – it’s not limited to being an ereader.
  3. iPad can do a lot and is better value for money.
  4. There aren’t enough voracious readers to support eReaders.
  5. The market for a single-purpose dedicated device for reading is a very, very small market.
  6. With iPad publishers can create whole experiences and go beyond ebooks.
  7. iPad is going to steal all the casual readers.
  8. iPad looks so good and it’s so sexy.
  9. Apple products are sexy.
  10. The iPad makes the Kindle look like it’s from the 1980s.
  11. iPad’s screen has multi-touch and gestures and is a pleasure to look at.
  12. iPad will have iPhone Apps and its own Apps.
  13. iPad supports ePub (Note: People are going to get a rude shock when they figure out there’s proprietary Apple DRM on the ePub).
  14. iPad’s iBooks Store and eReader Software is very good.
  15. iBooks creates a buying experience.
  16. iPad lets Publishers make more money off of books.
  17. Kindle and Nook screens are only in black and white.
  18. They were never interested in a dedicated eReader.
  19. They want a device that can do more than one thing.
  20. eReader contrast is not that good.  
  21. eInk makes no difference, its overrated, LCD screens are fine for reading.
  22. People compare the iPad with the $489 Kindle DX and not the $259 Kindle and Nook.
  23. The weight and size doesn’t affect portability.
  24. One handed reading isn’t important.
  25. My reading is broken into chunks and eye-strain is not an issue.
  26. iPad will kill larger eReaders since it delivers more at a similar price.
  27. iPad will take over education and that will limit eReader growth prospects severely. 
  28. Color is necessary for textbooks.
  29. Color is necessary for design books.

There was a commenter who mentioned that it all comes down to 2 reasons and he’s right -

  1. The iPad (or the next eReader Killer) can do more than just read.  
  2. The iPad (or the next eReader Killer) is pretty and sexy and cool.

It’s amusing that the two main reasons people think eReaders are going to die out have nothing to do with reading.

People who, for the most part, don’t read much are proclaiming the death of eReaders

That really was the big thing that stood out again and again – The Death of eReaders is being predicted by non-readers.

  1. Most of the people claiming eReaders are dead don’t read much.
  2. Most of the people who say eInk is nothing special have neither read on eInk nor do they actually read books on LCD screens.  
  3. People say they don’t want a device that just reads and then indicate that they read ‘in between other things’ and ‘not enough to warrant a dedicated reading device’.

These are literally people who don’t need an eReader. It’s perfectly valid for them to see eReaders as ‘unnecessary’ in their lives.

Their only mistake is in assuming that eReaders are irrelevant to everyone else.

Main reasons people are saying they want a dedicated eReader

It’s interesting to see a ton of people chime in and support eReaders. Here are their reasons -

  1. eReaders are designed for dedicated readers.
  2. Kindle Store has more eBooks than anywhere else (excluding free public domain titles).
  3. eInk is great for reading.  
  4. ePaper and eReaders are going to keep evolving.
  5. LCD is tiring to the eyes and doesn’t work in sunlight.
  6. eReaders focus on unitasking.
  7. Low Price – Devices like iPad are more expensive and the subscription price adds up.
  8. Book Prices – All signs point to Apple allowing Publishers pricing freedom which would be a disaster.
  9. They don’t want to be constantly distracted by games and email.
  10. Kindle is smaller and weighs less than half of what the iPad weighs.
  11. Kindle is thinner.
  12. The iPad is not a replacement for ePaper.
  13. They want a real eReader.
  14. Much better battery life.
  15. No keyboard on the iPad.
  16. Lack of handwriting recognition on the iPad.
  17. Books at Kindle Store are much cheaper than Apple’s stated prices i.e. $12.99 and $14.99.
  18. Books available outside the US – iBooks from Apple is US only at launch.
  19. Why do some pundits reflexively assume a Swiss Army type device is always better than a single purpose device.  
  20. For trips don’t want to keep finding power outlets and plugs and worry about battery charge.
  21. Don’t want ‘more’ than a Kindle – already have a lot of computers.

Here, again, we see a simple distillation -

  1. eReaders are focused on reading and excellent at reading - people who love to read want a device for reading.  
  2. They also want lots of books and at low prices. Price is important for both books and book readers.

eReaders serve a very real need for people who actually read

Except for LCD compatible humans most people who read a lot want some very specific qualities in a reading device -

  1. eInk screen which reads just like paper. 
  2. Very long battery life. 
  3. Capacity to carry a lot of books.
  4. A focus on reading and only features that complement reading.
  5. And so on.

For these people eReaders are doing a valuable job.

Of course, they do want a lot of improvements and for eReaders to evolve. Their main requests are -

  1. Better Screens.
  2. Better ways to take down notes.
  3. More reading related features.
  4. More books and at cheaper prices.
  5. Color. 

The Color ePaper Waiters

One interesting group caught between the eReader haters and eReader lovers is people for whom a color screen is important. These include -

  1. Students who need color textbooks. 
  2. Photographers and Designers and other creative types who need color. 
  3. People who want to read comics on their reader.

Until ePaper evolves a multi-purpose color device is best for these people.

Quick Thanks

Articles referenced include -

  1. Forbes’ article – Five Reasons iPad isn’t a Kindle Killer
  2. GigaOm’s fawning iPad will kill the Kindle article. 
  3. WSJ Digits Blog.
  4. TechFlash which argues both sides of the argument.
  5. The co-founder of Blue Nile at TechCrunch who refuses to answer whether he’s ever read a book on a laptop.

The Conclusion – Two very different devices

It’s pretty straightforward -

  1. People who want to read ‘once in a while’ want multi-purpose devices and can’t understand readers ‘wasting’ $300 on a dedicated eReader.
  2. People who read a lot want dedicated eReaders and don’t understand how the multi-purpose people and the LCD compatibles get by without a dedicated eReader.

It’s two completely different markets. They’re both big, huge markets.

People underestimate how large the eReader market is. It’s much, much bigger than people realize -

  1. The current market penetration is between 3 and 6 million eReaders. A lot of people think this is as good as it gets.
  2. The estimated market size in 4-5 years is 15-30 million eReaders. This is something most people begrudingly admit – and even then they feel/wish/hope this will get eaten up by multi-purpose devices.
  3. The actual market size will be 150-250 million eReaders. Simply think of eReaders as replacing paper.

The only thing that could kill ePaper devices and eReaders is paper. Since paper isn’t evolving (except in the form of ePaper) there’s little danger of that happening.

If ePaper keeps evolving soon even multi-purpose devices will have to embrace ePaper.

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