Last year was most likely the peak for the e-reader; over 23M units were shipped. According to The-Digital-Reader, e-reader shipments are expected to drop like a rock in 2013, falling by a projected 27%.
Let’s be honest, we all know that the e-reader, in its purest form, was little more than a technological stopgap. Even though the Kindle was cute looking, I could never understand the appeal of a device with a two tone screen and no other functionality besides displaying text… it seemed laughable.
Over the next couple of years, e-reader features improved and the line between e-readers and tablets got blurry. All of a sudden, e-readers starting including web browsers, app stores, etc.
Right now, it appears that the e-reader era is ending.
What it Means For Authors
For digital authors, the takeaway is that your strategy should focus on the apps. The future of ebooks will be determined by the popularity of e-reading apps… good news for Amazon, Apple, and Google.
For B&N and Kobo, on the other hand, this can’t be seen as good news.
Kobo and B&N are heavily invested in the device side, not the ecosystems. The Nook is a good device, but it’s not going to gain any ground on the iPad, Kindle, or the handful of popular Android tablets… all of which come standard with, you guessed it, their own reader apps and product ecosystems.
I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the Kindle App will continue to hold the top spot; it’s just got way too much of an advantage. At the same time, I think the Nook and Kobo apps are going to struggle to hang onto their market share.
iBook and the Google Play Books app are going to steadily gain ground, because they’re pre-installed on the popular devices.
Check it out: Even the Kindle lineup is shifting toward a broader, multifaceted direction…