I think I’m a prophet. At least when it comes to the future of books and eReaders (like the Kindle or Nook).
A prophet that has the impressive power to tell… the present.
As I was swirling around in my office chair, ruminating about eReaders and how they’re probably going to be obsolete in the next few years, BAM.
A study conducted by IHS iSuppli confirms that eReader sales have dropped by 36% this year and are expected to plunge another 27% next year.
The tablet tornado
Despite all of the innovation behind the incredible “e-ink” technology that apparently no one was able to develop until decades after the first personal computer, Amazon’s top scientists forgot one thing: people don’t care about reading stuff on screens anymore.
As screen resolution becomes increasingly higher-def, there’s theoretically less eyes strain when you read something on a screen, be it monitor or tablet.
Not only that, we’re increasingly moving toward what tech people are calling a “one screen” user experience.
Anything that we can’t do everything with is going to become obsolete. In this case, that means the lowly Kindle, Nook, and other eReaders.
Ereader sales mean a lot for authors
- 14.9 million eReaders were shipped
- 120 million tablets were shipped
- 7.1 million eReaders will be shipped
- 340 million tablets will be shipped
Just as books abruptly piled up on the internet over the past few years, vanishing without a papery trace, boring, black-and-white ebooks could follow.
The problem with someone reading something on a tablet as opposed to an eReader is the same problem you’re having while reading this blog entry:
There’s stuff to click. There are social media accounts and email to check. There are videos of cats in hats to watch.
When books are read on tablets, authors aren’t just competing with other books. They’re competing with every kind of media available, all of the time.
Publishers already know that ebooks on tablets are a double-edged sword, with a blade for a hilt.
According to Forrester Research:
- 46% of publishers believed tablets were an ideal ebook platform in 2011
- 31% of publishers believed tablets were an ideal ebook platform in 2012
What the heck is a book?
Over the next decade, everyone’s going to be scratching their head, wondering what, exactly, defines books.
As tablets absorb most ebook sales, it will be interesting to see how publishers and writers react. Here are my predictions:
1. Tangible books will get more popular as people choose to immerse themselves in a calmer medium.
2. Multimedia experiences will be critical to sustaining a reader’s attention on tablets
3. Start-ups will help energize a “book” revolution to redefine how we experience a writer’s creation
4. Books are going to get shorter
5. Everything about the way ebooks are distributed is going to change
6. Change isn’t going to happen as lightning-fast as sensational headlines predict: people will keep reading on eReaders and tangible books to escape the buzz of their other devices. Keep writing.
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eReader Photo Credit: jblyberg