Ereader Sales Face Rapid Decline

Think ereaders are reaping their digital success? Then think again, as market figures show that the once loved ereader is now being abandoned, in favour of the tablet.

Ereaders may be facing possible extinction, as new research from Taiwanese IT news site Digitimes has revealed that users are relying on tablets as their source of digital content.

Statistics show that overall, last year's worldwide ereader shipments stood at 22.82 million units, a year-on-year increase of 107 per cent. The report further added that yearly shipments would exceed the 60 million mark, by 2015.

However, the report confirmed global shipments of ereaders in the first quarter of 2012 as only two million units, down from the nine million shipped in the previous quarter.

Despite the last quarter of 2011's most hectic shopping and sales period of Christmas, the slump in sales is evident to see.

In the case of Amazon, this could be attributed to users purchasing the multi-functional Kindle Fire tablet, as opposed to buying the standard ereader, the report alleged – a characteristic known as the "substitution effect".

Analyst at business research firm Frost & Sullivan, Pranabesh Nath, noted that consumer buying trends within the ebook market are changing, saying that multifunctional tablets, such as the Fire and the Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet, are proving to be more and more popular

“I think this trend will accelerate in the future as more vendors get into the game and prices fall further – think of an Apple iPad Mini, for example,” he told The Register.

“What will be interesting to see is how e-ink technology evolves as a result of this trend, and whether it can survive the onslaught of cheaper LCD-based tablet devices such as the Kindle Fire, which are usable in a wide variety of ways.”