After a very nice upturn during the pandemic, it seems that e-readers are selling less and less. At least, fewer people are buying new models. So we will study this.
The first thing we can say is that a recent study shows that e-reader sales in the US are not doing very well.
This concerns the Kobo, Nook and Kindle brands - a very popular brand in the US.
The data comes from Statista (link: https://justpublishingadvice.com/the-e-reader-device-is-dying-a-rapid-death/ ) and shows that Kindle e-readers are becoming less and less convincing.
Here's a chart that shows that e-reader sales, which used to be around $460 million worldwide, could drop to $160 million (US) by 2025.
If e-reader sales are down, how come readers are still reading digital books?
It seems that studies show that digital book sales are doing well (globally). So people are still using a digital device to read ebooks.
These devices can be: e-reader, tablet or smartphone.
So, these three devices are suitable for reading books even if it is obvious that the e-reader is largely superior because of its electronic ink screen which allows a display close to the paper which is ideal to read for hours on a screen.
But, the readers for assiduous could be satisfied with a smartphone or a tablet. Especially since these two devices can display color. If color is useless for novels and mangas, it is important for reading comics or magazines.
The study presented above is very pessimistic for the e-reader. Indeed, everything seems to indicate that people will buy less and less e-readers to read ebooks.
Will people settle for paper, smartphones or tablets to read? I'm not sure.
First of all, we have to put e-reader sales in perspective.
On the one hand, the pandemic has allowed many people to buy e-readers. The e-reader has the advantage of allowing the purchase of books without having to leave home. It was a big plus for the security of people during this difficult time (especially since some countries have chosen to close bookstores).
If you bought a reading device 2 or 3 years ago, you don't need to buy it again today. E-readers are very durable devices that don't need to be replaced on a regular basis - unlike a smartphone that starts to malfunction and is outdated 3 to 4 years after its purchase.
Then, a technological transition begins with the arrival of new generation color e-readers, like the Pocketbook Viva.
If these new reading machines live up to their promise, comic book readers could jump on them to finally properly consume their favorite albums with as much ease as novel readers.
Sales could then pick up again in a few years.
People are buying less e-readers because of a too slow technological evolution of the machines which do not impose a regular renewal.
If today I read every day (or almost every day) with my Kobo Libra 2, my old Kindle Paperwhite and its 6 inch screen still do the job. I might as well keep reading with my Pocketbook Touch Lux 5 which is still excellent and reliable.
So, people who are already equipped with e-readers don't renew their equipment as quickly as they do with smartphones (or tablets). So it's hard to compare this market to the smartphone market.
But that's not all: many new readers (the younger ones) are starting to read digitally with their smartphone. These devices are equipped with 5 inch screens (and sometimes more) which allows to read in better conditions than 4 or 5 years ago.
If some people will switch to e-readers for their visual comfort (and to limit fatigue), we can imagine that others will keep this habit and continue to read on their smartphone.
The decline in e-reader sales may therefore be temporary and does not herald the end of digital reading. On the contrary, I think more and more people are starting to read every day on an electronic device.
Around me, more and more people (of all ages) are reading on iPads, smartphones or e-readers.
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