I've over-used this link. It comes up again to point out why ereader growth will be excellent this holiday season. If you will, a rebuttal to the publisher FUD:
With the WSJ publishing another "beware the slushpile article," (ht JA Konrath's blog comments). Here is the deal, the #1 resistance is price.
I suspect for years to come the bulk of ereaders will be given as gifts. I really have trouble seeing gifts > $100 for anyone but a parent, close sibling, spouse, or child; let's call this 'group #1.' But many won't give > $100 gifts. Hence why I think the LeapPad is $99 (but the books are $25!).
For Nephews and nieces and a few others in what I'll call 'group #2', I can see $70 being a gift limit. For this group, 'with special offers' becomes practical; while with 'group #1' I suspect it would look bad to give a discounted gift 'with offers.' For many, $50 will be the limit for this group.
See Fig. 11 of my first link. Only 46% are willing to buy ereaders at today's prices ($139 w/o offers); that doesn't mean 46% of the potential has bought an e-reader (that will take while). I suspect for gifts, the 'willing price' drops a little for anyone not special enough in group #1, we'll see more price resistance. Per Fig. 11, ereader sales open the 'potential market' by ~80% at sub< $100 (46% to 79% is about 80% market growth); don't forget not all of the current market is an early adopter.
So we *need* that $99 Kindle/Nook in 2011. :) Honestly, I suspect $70 is the true price barrier. e.g. The dash alarm clock at its normal price of almost $100 isn't a great alarm clock. But at $70, it became my father's day gift. A similar 'price resistance' will be true with e-readers.
Citibank analyst is predicting 17.5M Kindles in 2011. I think, like every other Kindle sales estimate so far, that this prediction is going to understate the market.
Note: I expect the rumored Kindle tablet to really shake up the market. I *really* would be enjoying a device where I could blog in 'glaring light' right now. Mirasol or e-ink, I'm ready for a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard that works in light LCDs are 'washed out.'
I see a market splitting in multiple markets (as all mature markets do). IMHO, e-ink or other 'glare friendly' technologies will dominate reading devices. LCD is just too much an 'office light' device.
1. Dedicated, cheap, and light e-readers. The 6" format will probably hold on. However, if the LeapPad's 5" works, I see no reason a smaller form factor won't be adopted at the lower price points. :)
2. E-reader phones at both the 5" and 7" form factor. IMHO, these devices are required for a fast boost to US e-reader adoption.
3. 7" and to a lesser extent (due to weight) 10% tablets utilized for dual purpose.
The less 'ideal' a reader, the more the device will be used for 'convenience reading' (e.g., I see this at the pediatrician and parks with smartphones) or by people who read less than 20 books per year who want a multi-purpose device.
Ereading will grow. Expect customers to be outside playing this time of year and not browsing for a new electronic toy. But as soon as the weather turns south...
Anyone else suspect that ereading was granted a 'leg up' by the unusually long winter this year in the Northeast US?