New Apple and Android tablets are literally killing the once-thriving eBook business, thanks in part to their multi-purpose functionality that includes gaming.
The lower price points of new tablets from Apple, Google and top consumer electronics makers is impacting the once-popular eBook business. After spectacular growth during the last few years, the ebook reader market is on an alarmingly precipitous decline, sent reeling by more nimble tablet devices that have gained the ardent patronage of consumers, according to an HIS iSuppli Consumer Electronics special report from information and analytics provider IHS.
Unknown to consumers before 2006, ebook readers saw shipments skyrocket for the next few years. From 2008 to 2010, shipments grew from 1.0 million to 10.1 million, up by a factor of 10. The market peaked in 2011, with 23.2 million units.
However, shipments of ebook readers by year-end will fall to 14.9 million units, down a steep 36 percent from 2011. Another drastic 27 percent contraction will occur next year when ebook reader shipments decline to 10.9 million units. By 2016, the ebook reader space will amount to just 7.1 million units—equivalent to a loss of more than two-thirds of its peak volume in 2011, as shown in the figure attached.
“The rapid growth—followed by the immediate collapse—of the ebook reader market is virtually unheard of, even in the volatile consumer electronics space, where products have notoriously short life cycles,” said Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS. “The stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry: Single-task devices like the ebook reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets. And while other uni-tasking devices—like digital still cameras, GPS systems and MP3 players—also face similar pressures and battle dim prospects ahead, all have had a longer time in the sun than ebook readers, demonstrating even more painfully the depth of the ebook reader&rs quo;s fall.”