John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Every Time You Buy a Tablet, an E-Reader Dies

God_kills_an_ereaderE-book readers haven’t been around all that long, but already they’re heading toward obsolescence, pushed aside by the burgeoning demand for their multi-use successor: The tablet.

After years of rapid growth, sales of dedicated e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook are declining, precipitously. That’s the word from market research outfit IHS iSuppli, which says the e-reader is “flaming out.”

In 2011, worldwide e-book reader sales hit 23.2 million, says IHS iSuppli. This year, it says, they’ve fallen 36 percent to 14.9 million units. Next year, sales will fall an additional 27 percent to 10.9 million. And by 2016, just 7.1 million e-book readers will be purchased.


Not a surprise, really. With each successive generation, tablets are becoming thinner, lighter and more powerful. Their prices are dropping and, more importantly, consumers are beginning to see them as a better value proposition than the single-use e-reader.

“The stunning rise and then blazing flameout of e-books perfectly encapsulates what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry,” said IHS iSuppli analyst Jordan Selburn. “Single-task devices like the e-book reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik