Don't Blame Tablets if Dedicated eReader Market Vanishes

A market research firm forecasts media tablet shipments around the world will reach 145 million units in 2013. New players, a wider range of lower cost tablets to choose from, and increased interest from business sectors will help media tablets to "continue to take the market by storm," ABI Research says.

"The rate of innovation is slowing as tablet vendors augment their product portfolios to meet the needs of market audiences," says ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr. "The late 2012 launches of Apple’s iPad mini and a variety of slates based on Intel architecture and new Windows operating systems will only begin to show their progress this year."


Where does that leave dedicated eReaders? One would think it leaves them in a precarious position, and while that's correct, their demise, if it comes to that, won't necessarily be the fault of tablets. ABI Researcher holds firm that tablets have little to do with the trajectory of dedicated digital readers.

"The facts are that the U.S. market continues to dominate eReader shipments and an aging Baby Boomer population looking to replicate the print reading experience is a waning audience," adds Orr. "If other world regions do not successfully organize digital publishing markets, the dedicated eReader market will go away without regard for adoption of tablets and other mobile devices."

Perhaps it's much ado about nothing. In November 2012, the Market intelligence & Consulting Institute (MWC) said it expected eReader shipments to rebound in 2013 with 18.2 million units shipped. E-Ink chairman Scott Liu is also optimistic, telling Digitimes the eReader market is expected to keep growing in 2013. Speaking of which, E-ink sales aren't exactly drying up. E-ink revenue climbed a percentage point in December versus one month prior, and increased 141 percent year-over-year.