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Will Tablets Kill Off e-Readers?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the give-me-e-ink-or-give-me-death dept.

Books 333

Nerval's Lobster writes "Are e-readers doomed? A research note earlier this week from IHS iSuppli suggested that, after years of solid growth, the e-book reader market was 'on an alarmingly precipitous decline' thanks to the rise of tablets. The firm suggested that e-reader sales had declined from 23.2 million units in 2011 to 14.9 million this year — around 36 percent, in other words. The note blames tablets: 'Single-task devices like the ebook are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets.' Even Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the reigning champs of the e-reader marketplace, have increasingly embraced full-color tablets as the best medium for selling their digital products. Backed by enormous cloud-based libraries that offer far more than just e-books, these devices are altogether more versatile than grayscale e-readers, provided their users want to do more than just read plain text."

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In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: yes. (5, Informative)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 2 years ago | (#42293907)

However, I don't think that e-readers will die completely. Those hardcore people who prefer reflected light for reading books will likely cling to their devices (I'm one of them).

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294177)

So "Yes" but "No"

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294409)

Not quite.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#42294225)

I don't own either type of device - e-reader or tablet - but imagine that e-readers offer a simpler experience for the user - no/fewer software and security updates, etc - and that will always appeal to various consumers. Tablets are more powerful and capable, but also more complex.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294349)

Noce non-comment comment. Trolling for mod points, are you?

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (4, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#42294575)

I have a couple of both.

You're right, an e-reader of the simple sort is better than a tablet for reading in a number of ways. Epaper (are we still calling it that?) is easier to read, assuming you have a light source in or near the reader. Managing the device is obviously simple... updates are pretty rare. Battery life far exceeds a tablet. They're usually much more compact. They're simple to operate and they're less expensive.

That said, I rarely use mine anymore. It's just simpler to carry around the tablet that will do whatever I want. And they've come down in price now so much that some are pretty competitively priced, compared to an ereader.

So yeah, I think tablets will all but kill the reader market. As with most tech the readers won't go away entirely. At least not for a good, long while.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (4, Informative)

anagama (611277) | about 2 years ago | (#42295029)

I have both (Kindle and Nexus 7) too. If I had bought the tablet first, I wouldn't haven't bought the Kindle. While reading text on the Kindle IS nicer than on the tablet, reading PDFs on the Kindle is a nightmare -- the page renders are slow and hard to make out, and moving around on a page isn't exactly a breeze. A PDF on the tablet is totally straightforward and renders perfectly.

What would be interesting however, would be a tablet with an Epaper touch display. Most of my beef with the Kindle is that for PDF applications, it is slow and clunky. Take that away by giving the device some processing power and a good resolution, plus the ability to run other apps, and the only downside to Epaper would be a lack of color. In other words, an Android tablet with an Epaper display might be interesting -- not for games -- but for reading the web, books, documents, emails, and stuff like that.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295281)

A tablet with an e-paper display on the back would be ideal. It could be used for notifications and to display art when not in use for reading text.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42295179)

So maybe the right answer is a tablet... with an Epaper screen on the back.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (1)

frinsore (153020) | about 2 years ago | (#42294721)

I own both types of devices (gen 1 kindle and iPad 2) and I vastly prefer my iPad. I realize that I'm comparing old tech to ancient tech but the feature set in the Kindle software on the iPad still beats the newer e-ink kindles. My problems with e-ink is the slow refresh rate and lack of color. With the original kindle I had to learn to press the next page button when I was a couple of lines before the end of the page as by the time I had read those remaining lines then the display would transition. The newer kindles have drastically cut this time down but it is still slower then a tablet's change of page and for myself being a passive observer of changing the page, I find that wait frustrating (when I change the page of an actual book I'm an active participant so the time spent isn't annoying).

I will freely admit that e-readers look gorgeous (though that could simply be nostalgia for actual paper) and the effective battery life is magnitudes above tablets (my iPad's battery is constantly being depleted by other activities like browsing the web, playing games, and other CPU intensive apps).

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294333)

You can have my iRiver Story HD when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295411)

No, thanks. Don't rush yourself.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (2)

Brucelet (1857158) | about 2 years ago | (#42294487)

If ereader users are the hardcore traditionalists now, what do you call those of us who still like to read on paper?

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (3, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42294583)

We're hideously antiquated, old bean.

*adjusts monocle and top hat*

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (5, Funny)

Is0m0rph (819726) | about 2 years ago | (#42295197)

Read on paper? Insane tree murderer!

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | about 2 years ago | (#42294547)

Im sure there will always be a market for them, but they probably will not last much longer as mass marketed items. Their share will fall rapidly and unless your selling 15 million of something anymore it's considered a failure.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42295151)

eReaders are dirt cheap. They can probably be considered a loss leader. They're there to enable the sale of content. They are the proverbial razor handle. They will likely never go away because of this.

They simply don't need to compete as an independent product.

So market forces likely won't cause them to go away.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294753)

Heh. E-readers will increasingly become niche devices, but I don't think they will die anytime soon, or even be relegated to the "hardcore". For many that have an either or choice and don't do a ton of reading, the tablet is clearly better. But for someone that does a lot of reading or who can afford both, the E-reader will have a place for a long time to come.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#42295013)

Well, single function devices tend to do better at that single function. Unless we can get 30 day charge tablets, there will still be somewhat of a use for them. I don't see that happening yet - although I wouldn't say that it won't happen. That's not to say that it couldn't be a small enough dwindling demand to completely kill the e-readers margin off completely - it certainly could.

Re:In defiance of Betteridge's law of headline: ye (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42295099)

My local iFan ended up using an e-ink reader. She likes it a lot better. It is smaller, better suited to reading, and has killer battery life.

She started out with an iPad.

It's a bogus question probably written from the point of view from some fanboy ninny that things that "Apple is inevitable".

Probably (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42293911)

In the same way that smart phones killed of mp3 players and cameras for a lot of people. Why by a single purpose device when you can get many more features for a little bit more money?

Re:Probably (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#42294059)

Battery life.

A non-backlit ebook reader will last a very, very long time without recharging or fresh batteries. A tablet won't last through the day.

Re:Probably (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about 2 years ago | (#42294945)

Most tablets nowadays get 8-10 hours of battery life under moderate use. The only times I can think of where more longevity would be helpful is camping or on international flights.

Re:Probably (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#42295529)

My Mother-in-law is approaching a point where we may have to look at an ebook-type solution for her because of her macular degeneration, since the type could be scaled up. She wouldn't be interested in a device that has to be plugged in every night.

Re:Probably (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#42294387)

In the same way that smart phones killed of mp3 players and cameras for a lot of people. Why by a single purpose device when you can get many more features for a little bit more money?

Perhaps. I use my phone as a camera if it's all I have with me. But when I know I want take pictures when I go somewhere I'll take my Canon 40D, or even one of my smaller point an shoots. Any of those are going to give me a far superior picture compared to a phone camera. But when I see people taking pictures of something 50+ feet away using the flash on their phone, I suppose they really don't care about the quality of the picture.

I travel somewhat frequently and rarely use my phone to listen to music. I don't like it when I land and don't have enough battery power to make call. I'd like to be able to do this as I could stop carrying my mp3 player. But I don't care for the interface on my phone for music and It's pretty rare that the battery dies on my mp3 player before I land.

Leatherman killed the tool market. (5, Funny)

ClayJar (126217) | about 2 years ago | (#42295033)

Leatherman killed the tool market when it came out. Why buy a single-purpose tool when you can get many more features for a little bit more money?

Sometimes having something that *doesn't* slice, dice, and julienne fries is the better choice. I mean, sure, I could do many small repairs using just a leatherman, but a nice set of wrenches and drivers makes working on my bike *much* nicer. Or how about crescent wrenches (or shifting spanners, as the case may be)? You can handle all variety of nuts, bolts, and fittings. SAE, metric, square, hex? All are open to you. Yet anyone who spends much time working on mechanical things knows that a crescent wrench, while convenient, is often vastly inferior to a good set of wrenches.

When I'm out on a ride, I carry a small multitool that *does* do a bunch of things in one small, inexpensive, unobtrusive package, just as when I'm out and about, I can get some reading done on my Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is convenient, but if I ever broke my e-ink Kindle, I'd have a replacement ordered that very day. E-ink readers are basically designed to fill the niche of "electronic trade paperback for avid readers". They fill that niche exceedingly well, and avid readers are a renewable resource.

Re:Probably (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 2 years ago | (#42295429)

I read a lot and LCD screens don't hold a candle to ereader screens. For the sake of my eyes...I will always use E-ink.

e-Ink (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42293921)

The only reason I bought a Kindle is that I can't stare at a backlit tablet for hours on end.

Isn't it also reasonable to suppose that eReaders are on the decline because all the people most likely to buy them have already bought them?

Re:e-Ink (5, Insightful)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 2 years ago | (#42294757)

Also: Please try to actually use such a fancy tablet outside in the bright sun. I know, this is Slashdot, what with the aversion of the daystar and all, but still...

Re:e-Ink (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42294889)

See, I've always had problems with the e-readers compared to a dead tree version. I've tried a bunch of them but they just don't work for me.

Re:e-Ink (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42295511)

If you only ever want to carry a single book or don't mind lugging around all the books you want to take with you and like killing trees so much that you're willing to pay a premium for it, then an e-reader is not for you.

Re:e-Ink (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294933)

ereaders are not like a cell phone or computer; they don't change that much from model to model, so people that bought an ereader four years ago are probably still happy using that same ereader. On the other hand, I know lots of people that upgrade their phone/ipad as soon as a new model comes out

eReaders will stick around. Not the sexiest technology, but they will remain available.

"Hybrids" (1)

Vrallis (33290) | about 2 years ago | (#42293939)

This is one reason why I got a Nook Color. I mainly wanted an eReader, but people had rooted the NC, provided instructions on how to fully 'open up' its copy of Android to essentially use it as a full tablet, and it perfectly suffices in that role for my uses.

I've known people who have done similar getting the really cheap no-name Android-based eReaders to use as an entry-level or small tablet and have worked just great.

No (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42293945)

1) high contrast displays (several ordered of magnitude)
2) superior battery life (several orders of magnitude)

Of course... if manufacturers dump these advantages because of OMG COLOR, OMG VIDEO, then "e-readers" are undifferentiated from tablets, and the people making those decisions need to go back to MBA school to learn the basics of strategy and marketing.

Number One Fallacy (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#42294371)

high contrast displays (several ordered of magnitude)

Are you talking about e-ink? Because until the Kindle Paperwhite, I could not stand reading eInk screens because of the low contrast.

Battery life is better but when an iPad lasts for days of pretty heavy use it doesn't factor in as much.

No! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42293959)

No eReaders are not doomed by tablets.

eReader prices are doomed.

Nope. (5, Insightful)

rainwalker (174354) | about 2 years ago | (#42293979)

Bring a tablet, I'll bring my e-ink reader, and let's go sit in the sun and read for 4 hours.

Yes, they're a niche item, but it's a substantial and highly useful niche.

Amazon doesn't offer the ereader I want from them. (1, Interesting)

micheas (231635) | about 2 years ago | (#42294057)

What I want is the ten inch paper white touch screen at a reasonable price ($200 - $300 or so)

I also want the weight to be somewhat less than my ipad3.

I also want my kindle to support epub without having to do crazy side loading.

I don't use the kindle that much because it really is only useful for reading on the train and such, which I don't do that often.

Re:Amazon doesn't offer the ereader I want from th (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#42294137)

What I want is the ten inch paper white touch screen at a reasonable price ($200 - $300 or so)
I also want the weight to be somewhat less than my ipad3.
I also want my kindle to support epub without having to do crazy side loading.
I don't use the kindle that much because it really is only useful for reading on the train and such, which I don't do that often.

I want a pony.

Re:Amazon doesn't offer the ereader I want from th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295221)

Yeah -- I really wish they would go up a little bit on the size. That industry standard 6-inch screen is just too small, it needs to be more the size of a real paperback.
Amazon sure doesn't move as quickly as some other companies when it comes to innovation. Still the paperwhite is a good step forward.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294165)

Not if you have gig's of full color PDFs purchased from someplace like DrivethruRPG.

Your e-ink reader is so shit slow its useless.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294481)

When you start reading grown up books, you'll probably encounter more words than pictures.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295223)

What you call grown up books others call dumb-ass, mass-market trite.

Re:Nope. (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#42294917)

Bring a tablet, I'll bring my e-ink reader, and let's go sit in the sun and read for 4 hours.

Exposing yourself to a powerful emitter of deadly electromagnetic radiation for hours at a stretch is a terribly slow and indirect way to kill yourself. Casually reading as you boil away your life only adds confusion for your grieving next-of-kin.

I'll kick back in the shade with my full-color full-capability portable computer, thanks. Maybe I'll read. Maybe I'll play a game. I certainly won't be gratuitously shortening my life. XD

Re:Nope. (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 2 years ago | (#42295497)

I carry my nook around in my hand wherever I go. Literally wherever. If I need to wait in a queue, I pull it out for a few minutes worth of reading. Waiting for a movie to start? Do some reading. And a single charge lasts for almost a month.

There is no way I'm carting around a heavy tablet double the size. Not to mention I want to keep my eyes from exploding after a while.

LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (4, Interesting)

morcego (260031) | about 2 years ago | (#42293997)

There is no question: anyone who spends more than a few minutes/day reading will agree reading books on LCD is really tiring. That is why I love my e-book reader, I can read for hours and my eyes won't get tired. Before it, I used to read on LCD, and after about 20 minutes my eyes would start bothering me.

On the other hand, I don't think most people read enough to be bothered by it, which is sad in many different levels. But hardcore readers won't give up their e-readers for LCD. Too bad we are a minority.

Yes, there IS a question.... (3, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | about 2 years ago | (#42294263)

Speak for yourself.

I deliberately chose an ebook reader with an LCD, gleefully.
I've had it for a year now, and would not give it up willingly. Before I got the reader, I would download my ebooks in HTML format to read on my nice PC monitor.

And I'm not some young whippersnapper with good eyes....I'm 54, wearing tri-focals. I have never experienced the problems you allude to, and I am a voracious reader.

Re:Yes, there IS a question.... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#42294857)

Sounds like a case of someone who's never used a good e-ink display.

No question a LCD tablet is better than reading on your computer. But if you think it provides comfortable eyestrain free reading for long periods of time then you need to be enlightened.

Re:Yes, there IS a question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294999)

I have good eyes, for the past 8 years I've been reading ebooks from a laptop, and lately from my Nexus 7. A few simple reasons.

You can change the colors, like white text on black background.
Brightness is adjustable.
Text is resizable.
I like reading at night.
I read about one book every two days.

Oh, and e-reader vs tablet, with a tablet, I can choose the reader I want without changing the hardware.

Re:Yes, there IS a question.... (1)

xlsior (524145) | about 2 years ago | (#42295431)

And I'm not some young whippersnapper with good eyes....I'm 54, wearing tri-focals. I have never experienced the problems you allude to, and I am a voracious reader.

I can't find the link anymore, but a few weeks ago I read a study that showed that aging users with poor eyesight fare better with LCD screens since their eyes can distinguish less contrast, and benefit from the emitted light. For pretty much everyone else e-ink is far more comfortable to read on, especially for extended times.

Sorry, not "anyone" (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#42294311)

anyone who spends more than a few minutes/day reading will agree reading books on LCD is really tiring.

That is nonsense. Not do most readers on Slashdot spend a large majority of the day reading on LCD screens, but I personally have read for several hours at a stretch on an iPad.

I don't find it tiring at all. The reason I think some people do find LCD's tiring to read on is a lack of ambient light - with a book you need enough ambient light to read by, so your surroundings have some illumination enough to even out what your eyes adjust for. With an LCD screen if you have only a big glowing rectangle in front of you it's harder on your eyes, or at least it is on me - I find it very hard to use a tablet or laptop in the dark.

Re:Sorry, not "anyone" (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#42295259)

Have you tried turning down the brightness? I read on my Asus Transformer all the time, and for hours at a time. Of course, I have it set on Auto Brightness, which typically keeps it about 20%-30% bright inside the house.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42294643)

On the other hand, I don't think most people read enough to be bothered by it, which is sad in many different levels.

Funny, I think the same about people who use "e-readers" instead of actual books. Sad on many different levels.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#42294905)

There is no question: anyone who spends more than a few minutes/day reading will agree reading books on LCD is really tiring

Having recently read the first two Game of Thrones books entirely on my iPad, I cordially disagree. That said, I'll readily agree that the eInk reading experience is a superior one. I wouldn't say that an LCD is tiring for me, but I would say that eInk is more pleasant. Maybe some people keep their tablet's brightness set way too high? Mine has never caused me issues with extended viewing.

As for the quantity of reading most people engage in, I was actually surprised by the results of a GameFAQs poll [] that inquired regarding reading habits among the site's visitors. I figured that among gamers, particularly the younger crowd it seems like that site attracts, that reading levels would be split between a very small minority of avid readers and everyone else who read essentially nothing at all. Turns out I was wrong, since about 40% were reading on a pretty regular basis and only 20% hadn't even read a book in the last year. It definitely was worse than I would have liked, but it was nowhere close to what I was expecting.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (1)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about 2 years ago | (#42294963)

There is no question: anyone who spends more than a few minutes/day reading will agree reading books on LCD is really tiring.

Wrong. I have a rooted NC that I use primarily as an e-reader and I actually find myself getting more tired reading physical books than reading on my NC.

The key is to keep the amount of light exiting the screen roughly balanced with the ambient levels so that your eyes aren't constantly trying to adjust between the screen and your environment. I changed my display to show light grey text on a black background and usually have it near fully dimmed when indoors. The only time I've found it mildly tiring to my eyes is when I read in complete darkness and forget to dim the screen all the way.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42295047)

hardcore readers won't give up their ink-and-paper books. Too bad we are a minority.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295105)

I used to find the same thing with LCDs, however I found out that most of the problem (for me) to do with LCDs being tiring is related to the colour scheme and brightness used. If you turn the brightness right down and use an off white background the problem goes away.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 2 years ago | (#42295175)

Exactly. People who read a lot will stick with e-readers and most heavy readers probably already have their Kindles.
We have 2 Kindles at home (for me and the wife) and I can honestly say for readers it is a revolutionary device. For me, it cannot be compared to a tablet at all. It is lighter, the battery duration is greater by several orders of magnitude, and, above all, it is as relaxing to read as a regular book! No eyestrain!
I have an Ipad 4th gen (for development), which, as I understand it, has about the best LCD they could put on a tablet. Well, it is still pretty much a regular LCD. As much as the text is sharp, you are looking at a light source and also if you read on a white background it is only nice and white as long as you are not more than a few degrees of the axis (and lets not start with the reflections!). I saw my wife printing huge papers in PDF to read, which is the only thing the Kindle is not good at, and offered here to try out my Ipad, and she could only read for about 20 minutes or so before giving it back to me saying it is not less tiring than her LCD monitor.
So, the, minority as the parent poster says, will always have their e-readers, regardless of whether they get a tablet or not, because they perform a different function. And as you don't upgrade your e-reader every 6 months like some people do their tablets ( although I am thinking to go Paperwhite ;) ) the sales of e-reader devices is bound to go down as less and less people who would want an e-reader are left without one.

Re:LCD vs. E-Ink/E-Paper (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | about 2 years ago | (#42295265)

Not true, I'm a software engineer I spend all day looking at LCD screens. I read books on my phone (while not tablet size it's 4.7" screen is big enough for me) all the time and backlit screen does not bother me at all. The people that are bothered by it will stick with e-ink. I don't like having to turn on a light at night if I want to read. But the cool reader android app I use lets you set the back light as a slider so it can be very dim for reading in the dark. If it didn't have that feature I would not like reading in the dark with a bright backlight.

I really hope not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294005)

I just can't read in a tablet (or computer), I just get distracted and never finish reading anything.

500 hour tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294009)

Give me a reflective screen tablet with 500 hours and a "reading only mode" and I'd give up my e-reader certainly. So, maybe in a decade?

Tablet != eReader (4, Insightful)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about 2 years ago | (#42294043)

The e-Ink display gives insanely long battery life, is viewable in most light conditions and is easy on my ageing eyes. A tablet is heavy and chews through it's battery in a day.

However, web surfing on my e-reader is painful and apps/games are non-existant.

Just because they are similar looking doesn't mean they can (or should) do each other's job. Each has it's strengths and they are cheap enough that there's no need to worry about combining their roles.

Another possibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294161)

The early adopters already have their Kindles, Nooks, and Sony e-Readers, and many are finding that they aren't using them as much as they expected.

The sales decline might not have anything to do with tablets.

No (1)

kermit1221 (75994) | about 2 years ago | (#42294167)

At least, I hope not. Tablets and e-readers provide two wildly different reading experiences. I can't stand reading for very long on a tablet, but I'll read for hours on my e-ink device. The wife feels the same, she also has both (a kindle and a fire, she's an amazon fangirl) and uses them for very separate purposes.

If they'd come out with a less artifact-ey e-ink screen with even 8 bit color I wouldn't even want a tablet. I could totally live without video on a handheld device, but color magazines/comics would be nice.

E-ink covers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294169)

A multimedia tablet with an eink capable covering would be the best of both worlds.

I doubt it (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#42294183)

As long as there are avid readers, I don't think tablets will kill off e-readers. However, I think both tablets AND e-readers may eventually kill off printed books. Back to the first argument...E-readers use e-ink which is easier on the eyes for extended periods of reading. E-readers also last much longer on a single battery charge...up to several weeks. Also, the multitude of apps and other functions in tablets and smartphones provide a plethora of distractions for even the casual reader. Most avid readers don't want those distractions. Whereas E-readers usually don't serve multiple purposes such as phone, email notification, calendar/appointment scheduler, web browser, weather app, etc.

Not exactly (1)

mmmmbeer (107215) | about 2 years ago | (#42294223)

Rather, they will merge. Once a color e-ink screen with an adequate refresh rate comes out, all previous tablets and e-readers will become horribly obsolete compared to the new, combined version. Until then, e-readers will continue to fill a niche market. They might not be as popular as they once were, but they aren't going to go away.

Tablets Aren't the Problem (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42294293)

It's not that tablets are "killing" e-reader sales - it's that, for the price of a feature-rich e-reader, I could just buy a damn tablet that does a lot more than display text.

Case in point: Amazon's Paperwhite Kindle is $130 (without warranty or any accessories), and only functions as an ebook reader. The Nexus 7, for $120 more, is a full-fledged Android powerhouse.

It's easy math.

Re:Tablets Aren't the Problem (1)

broggyr (924379) | about 2 years ago | (#42294989)

That means that if most people follow the same logic, then tablets are killing e-reader sales.

Re:Tablets Aren't the Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295301)

But the basic Kindle is $69, so many people will get that AND a tablet. I have a tablet, but I read books on my nook.

Price will be the factor (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#42294303)

If e-readers like the kindle can be priced down low enough, say under $50, then you will see lots of them. I can see schools buying up huge lots to hand out to students.

Schools spend pther peoples money (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42294849)

In areas where people have limitless funds through taxes, schools, government, military etc very rarely buy anything because its good value, practice, fits a purpose.

Look at this recent selfish plan to roll out of iPads in a UK school, Where Teachers have been treated to free iPads, and the cost to them is nothing; they are spending taxpayers money, so don't choose the affordable, open solutions. I can't justify the expense of an iPad, expecting partents to is insane []

Re:Schools spend pther peoples money (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#42295381)

I agree, I've seen schools here in Maine purchasing laptops for kids, and iPads for kinder-gardeners. I can see buying an e-reader if it's cheaper than buying books though.

I hope not (1)

es79 (2039900) | about 2 years ago | (#42294305)

I love my Kindles. I'm admittedly bad at focusing. E-readers allow me to do that. When I'm on my iPad I'll read for a few, then check my email, then oh! what's Twitter up to? That link is hilarious, let's post it on Facebook. Another email! I know this is my problem. Kindles help me manage it. I'll still buy them while they are available.

Uh. (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#42294307)


Oh my god. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#42294331)

I'm so sick of these "Will technology X die because of technology Y?!?" stories, the answer is almost always the same.

....Unless its Yes. (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42294709)

Apple shares are took a beating because of a massive slump in ipods [Now they are just simply dropping], which are being replaced with modern smartphones, and I believe those usurped the cd-players, and tape players that were so universal.So the answer is often Yes

Different Functions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294343)

Tablets will not kill off eReaders.

I have a 32 GB Nook Color HD+. Love it for looking things up when I running my bi-weekly Pathfinder game. I do not like to read books on it.

I have an old Kindle 2 with 90 or so books. Absolutely love it for reading any non-reference book for hours on end. 3G kills the battery and any network content renders slow as hell.

I like both of these devices, for my intended purposes for them. Like using a screwdriver to pound in a nail, cross-purpose usage is often painful.

For me and folks like me, probably not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294373)

I own both an iPad and the front-lit Kindle. For long reading sessions (novels, recreational reading), the iPad is horrible. It's heavy and the screen is overly bright, resulting in eye fatigue after a half hour or so. For the odd 'magazine' and reference reading, it's amazing. I like the ability to carry several texts in a small package with strong annotation tools that enable me to quickly and cleanly send off to co-workers. The Kindle can't hope to match this capability with reference texts, but the iPad can't hope to match the ease and experience that a light device like the Kindle offers. Both have their place, and I would bet that both will be around for a while to come. E-readers have a different problem to contend with: saturation. Everybody I know who wants one has one at this point. The only reason I upgraded was because I gifted my old one to a friend.

Maybe they are, maybe they aren't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294413)

...depending on how much the public believes the lie that a color LCD screen is superior for a reading application to a greyscale e-Ink display, and if the public would rather have multifunctional tablets over a dedicated reading platform.

Me, I'll stick with e-Ink - I've been e-reading back to the days of the Apple Newton, Jornada PDA, Windows-XP slate tablets, and Sony Reader 500. But as long as they're available, and as long as I stay addicted to reading, I'll take an e-Ink display.

My e-reader killed its own market (1)

infernalC (51228) | about 2 years ago | (#42294505)

I have an iPad2, which I use for all indoor reading with the Kindle and Bluefire apps. I also had, before the iPad2, a Sony PRS-300 and I still use it for outdoor reading. The iPad2 is already bordering obsolete, but the Sony still does what I want. It's only function is e-reading, and I just don't see how, except the battery being too expensive to replace, I would justify replacing it in the next couple years. When we get something like a piece of paper (a killer form factor) for e-readers, I will replace it.

I guess what I'm saying is that the market is declining because people already have them.

Re:My e-reader killed its own market (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 years ago | (#42295361)

Yes. In other words the useful lifetime of the eReader is much longer than the tablet. Every few months there is an incremental improvement in tablets and eventually your apps stop working. The EReader will keep displaying files as longs as I keep putting them in there.

iPad is too large/pricy to compete with e-ink (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42295423)

I have an iPad2

I'm not sure that really justifies you to have an opinion. The oversized iPad is very much an "at home" device...its cumbersome.It not a [as] mobile device. The really threat is from better value 7" tablets that are price competitive to e-ink readers with out the trade-offs, of price and portability, while still keeping most of the advantages of a multi-function smart device.

Will Floors Kill Off iPads? (1)

drewm1980 (902779) | about 2 years ago | (#42294545)

You can drop an e-reader on the floor without it breaking.

Re:Will Floors Kill Off iPads? (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 2 years ago | (#42295053)

Can you cut a tin can with it?!?

What happening to the content? (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42294573)

I know its possible, albeit dubious to move move between devices, and Applications for the Kindle means you can be locked into their furry handcuffs even in an Apple Gaol, and I know you can switch between the numerous and confusing formats [ignoring the awful PDF]...but it all seems a little too technical, and not always leads to premium results, my personal experience is epubs [The DRM free not the crippled ones from Apple] are not appearing in Android Books. Considering how ebooks are so overpriced [and the market confusing as hell], are they simply being discarded for that other content that is cheaper [Apps], or not locked [Web]. Can ebooks be sold?

Re:What happening to the content? (1)

DadLeopard (1290796) | about 2 years ago | (#42295353)

You haven't looked in the right places! if you like the stuff I like then has there's in multiple formats for just about every ereader out there, and they are DRM free, so you can move them from device to device with no problem! I still have and use my old Sony PRS-505 whenever I either run out of library books, have a Doctors appointment or have to wait while the wife shops, in other words whenever I leave the house and find myself with time on my hands. I have 460 books on it at the moment! Saved me it's purchase price on our trip oversea back in 2007 just in not having to pay the airline for dragging along 20+ books for a three week trip! Ther are lots of places that sell DRM free ebooks that can be converted to any format you want or need with applications like Calibre.

Edges (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 2 years ago | (#42294585)

It has to be faster, thinner, longer battery life and cheaper. Initially these are the edges against laptop/tablet in the beginning but the gap has shrunk quite a bit.

Never (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#42294715)

I just dont see people willing to carry around all those stones.

I like ereaders but the software sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294737)

I have a couple of e-readers a Kobo and a Sony and all in all I like them as devices to read but I don't think the software that is used on them is any good. For example why is Jane Austen after Bram Stoker in an alphabetical list? I find the software on the two systems variable but in need of a major rebuild

Another theory (5, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#42294833)

Maybe the people who wanted an e-book reader (typically the technically minded with a great love for books) already have one?

Tablets have gone through significant upgrades, but e-book readers are very damn similar today than they were 2 years ago. They still have predominantly black and white e-ink screens of roughly the same size. They still are incredibly thin. They still have a battery life of about a month or so. There's no fast paced upgrade cycle like there is with tablets or phones.

Everyone I know with an original iPad has ditched it for the iPad 2 or the iPad !3. Yet everyone I know who bought an ebook reader more than a year ago still has that ebook reader and has no intention of upgrading.

Am I missing something? The 6th generation Kindle Wi-Fi looks very similar to the 4th gen models of yesteryear. It's hard to take the marketing of it being lighter than previous models seriously when they were already lighter than paperback novels to begin with. And as for the touch experiment, why the hell would you want touch on a Kindle? I actually know people who went out of their way not to get the Kindle touch.

e-ink screen for PC (3, Interesting)

Stonefish (210962) | about 2 years ago | (#42294969)

I really want a large screen e-ink display for reading at work, led/lcd screens are really inferior to paper whereas e-ink screen is less so. This would be in additon to my exiting screen. The current crop of tablets really such for reading a novel or event short papers.

Convergence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42294975)

What we really need is a convergence of the two devices. Once we have fast-refresh and vivid colors for eInk you can have a device with all of the benefits of an eReader and all of the benefits of a tablet as well.

Mirasol (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about 2 years ago | (#42294997)

What happened with mirasol [] display? I for one would certainly prefer this to tablet light on my eyes.

Surprisingly recently I spend more time with kindle than with ipad.

Re:Mirasol (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42295439)

It's dead.

Yes, slowly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42295101)

Having both devices and planning another one LCD I can say it's a pain to read documentation on e-ink. While reading document or any technical book one has to jump quickly back and forth. If the original document was big you need to zoom and scroll. It's impossible to do on e-inc (only hardcore fans would). Besides that there are games and videos. On the other hand e-inc looks nice at day light, devices have long battery life, lite, very comfortable for slow reading. But, no matter what, it all depend on Amazon's decision which one to pick next. Without back end support they wouldn't sell well. iRex failure is a good lesson for all followers. They had great devices and nothing else.

Kindle vs. Tablet (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | about 2 years ago | (#42295109)

Amazon has done something right with their Kindles. While there are others out there that work amazingly well, the Kindle 4 with the ad-supported option is the closest I've come to ever treating a fancy electronic gadget as a "consumble" - if it gets stolen, it's not going to make me *that* upset, since it's only $69 and does everything I expect it to. That's the price of a few hardback books, and it can hold gigabytes worth of literature; I don't know about you guys, but I can't read more than a few dozen megabytes worth of text in a month.

I already have enough trouble focusing and reading it with my other gadgets handy without the option for websurfing on my device. It's not a tablet, and I don't want it to be. It's all of my library that can be "turned on" with a button, charged up once a month or two, fits in a pocket, and can be taken on any sort of trip. If it's stolen, big deal - at that price, it won't ruin your day. It's easily hackable to remove the ads, but those ads aren't terribly intrusive to begin with. The format options leave a little to be desired, but 2 minutes with Calibre gives you any format you could want for all of your books. Is it as functional as a tablet? No. It's not trying to be though. It's a book alternative with a pretty damn cool technology they've cooked up, at a price where you don't have to choose between which device you want to own.

Yes. (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#42295235)

And probably cameras, gps devices, and robot puppies too.
Next question.

Not until... (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42295385)

...they can invent a full-color passive display that can match the screen update speeds of existing active color displays, and is perfectly scalable to at least tablet screen sizes.

Absence of upgrade drive (5, Insightful)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about 2 years ago | (#42295443)

The problem with E-readers is that there seems to be very little MUST-UPGRADE-NOW mentality in the users. There is no real reason for me to buy the latest-and-greatest E-ink reader when my current device works just fine.

Compare this to a smartphone/computer/tablet. Most people I know wait for their contract to expire and get a new "free" phone immediately. I know people who get new laptops every 3-4 years. Both from a hardware and software point of view, upgrading offers significant benefits for these devices (I can't personally speak about tablets, having never owned one). For some devices, the software upgrades aren't available on older devices (either due to a hardware limitation, or to get people to upgrade their devices).

I bought a Kindle DX soon after it was launched, and I have a smartphone. The collections "feature" was the latest good update I recollect for my Kindle. Sure, it might be nice to have lighting on the device, but I can just get a clip on light if I really want to. My Kindle DX is a device I use regularly, but unless they make great software improvements in handling PDF documents/improved page refresh, I don't see any reason to upgrade (especially since I don't really care for a smaller E-reader).

My phone on the other hand runs Gingerbread (flashed my own ROM), and I don't think it can support the latest Android OS. It doesn't have two cameras, or the best sound, or the fastest hardware. So I clearly see the benefit of upgrading to a new phone.

E-readers seem to be like toasters/microwaves - if it works, I'm not going to buy a new one. They are, in a way, dull devices. A tablet/smartphone is like a car. Sure, last year's model might be sufficient, but this year's model gives some improvements that (while not central to what I want a phone for) make it feel that upgrading is worth it.

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