Friday, May 27, 2011

New Ereaders and "Power Buyers"

Tiss the season for everyone *but* Amazon to launch new hardware:
Kobo Touch
Nook Simple
Large form factor Android Phones

While the "Special Offers" kindles will sell well, they are *nothing* to encourage a K2 owner to upgrade.

But we'll also see a tremendous amount of ereading on upcoming devices:
Amazon ereader tablets and phones (By Xmas?)
Other Android tablets (Sony, Asus, Acer, Dell, Motorola, Toshiba, Samsung, LG, HTC, Lenovo, etc.)
More large form factor smartphones
Heck, Microsoft might actually get in the game too (snicker)

Let’s not forget Sony is big in international ebooks. So while I haven’t heard of a new ereader from them, I expect them to update their product.

Devices equal ebook sales. :)
Link on ebook buying

““Power buyers,” who buy at least one e-book a week, represent about 18 percent of the total people buying e-books today, but they buy 61 percent of all e-books purchased.” As ebooks mature, more and more readers will not be ‘power buyers.’ Look at those numbers. In print, power buyers buy 70% of the books. It is less for ebooks; that strongly implies that ebooks are bringing in casual/convenience reader sales.

I know, by name, just over a dozen parents who ‘convenience read’ on their phones or tablets who otherwise would have dropped out of the book market. That is great! That is a few individuals who otherwise would have forgotten the ‘reading habit.’ Now they are instead utilizing tech to stay 'connected' with books. Once their kids grow up, they’ll probably drift back to being ‘power buyers’ of books instead of just being TV junkies.

If it seems like I'm being hard on Amazon, I am. Where is the new reader? Once a year product updates do not work in a fast growing market such as ebooks unless one expects to forfeit market share; as Amazon has certainly done. Certain customers have a strong preference for touchscreens; while I would want to see the K3 continue, Amazon must invest in new hardware.

My group of friends is defecting to the Nook Color or IPad for the kiddie ebooks. That means touchscreen, color, and sound. But here is the market opportunity for Amazon: these kiddie ebooks are locked onto one device and *no one* likes that. The Nook app does not play Nook color kiddie ebooks. (We tried.) Apple apps are locked onto iOS devices... If Amazon is clever and upgrades the Kindle app (when they release touchscreen) to be far more flexible, they'll take that market in under six months. For parents want mom and dad's cellphones, tablets, and computers to all play the book (as kids have zero understanding why the book isn't available).

The point of this article is to show that ebook growth is about to take off due to the excitement generated by new devices for ereading. In many ways, I'm most excited about large smartphones as those toys seem to be 'pulling back' readers into the habit thanks to 'convenience reading.' Tablets will help that trend too.

Got Popcorn?


  1. No matter how they get back into it, I have to admit that I am happy more people seem to be reading - period. We were nose-diving into a TV-zombie spiral. We totally got rid of the cable in my house and have so much more free time! (Well, when I'm not writing or an Internet-zombie, anyway :P)

    I have a K2. When Kindles were first announced, I thought, "I won't have to carry around 400lbs of books anymore?? Whee! I WANT." Beyond the convenience of having an enormous library at my fingertips, I didn't need much more. Yes, I sometimes use the Kindle app on my Android, but I'll probably wear my K2 down until the motherboard is showing :P I especially like eInk and no backlighting, because it strains my eyes.

    But if the new crowd wants fancier gadgets, it's fine by me. As long as they read :)

    YA: Cheat, Liar, Coward
    Adult: Shackled

  2. @J.E. Medrick: "But if the new crowd wants fancier gadgets, it's fine by me. As long as they read :)"

    Exactly! I love my K2, but I'm actually finding I want more. In particular, a cell phone, Kindle, and basic tablet 'all in one.' (I travel a bit.) But I'll keep (and when it wears out replace) the K2.

    I could see having one device for the road on one by the bed or couch (the two places I do most of my reading).

    How people read... I do not care. What they read? Let them read what they want. As long as they read more. :)


  3. Hey Neil,

    You might like these rumours of a 7 inch iPad.

    You should check out the rest of that blog too, it's one of the best out there on the changes in the publishing industry.


  4. Hey Neil,

    Interesting e-reader developments in Spain.

    Could the killer device be a combo phone, tablet, and e-reader?

    This is going on sale for less than $200 in Spain. Oh and that's Spain's largest telecoms company moving into the e-reader market.

  5. I blogged about a new international competitor for Amazon today. You might be interested in this.