This year is a timely junction for ereaders. After a heady take-off last year with sudden public awareness of the product, tablets appeared and made many question the long term viability of readers. This despite the fact that readers continue to increase in ownership, and that tablets are now riding the initial boom that accompanies any new product. The questions will be answered soon, once the first wave of tablets are bought. And the biggest question is simply this:
Will readers relegate their consumption of books to an application on a multimedia device that is not optimized for reading?
The eReaders Conference in San Francisco will have plenty of people on hand to address this. From their brochure:A Robust Market
A recent report from the Pew Research Center* indicates steady growth for the eReaders market, despite concerns of increased competition from tablet devices. According to the Pew survey, eReader adoption grew 100% while ownership for tablets grew by only 60% over a six-month period. The report also indicates that growth for eReaders has been accelerating more rapidly than tablets. eReaders have been a huge success due to their low price point, portability, ease of use and ability to deliver books and other content instantly. Additionally, publishers and other media providers have been championing the technology as a crucial new revenue stream as book sales continue to decline. With that said, many experts agree that the eReaders market is still far from mature, with many underserved applications, demographics and markets. Some Uncertainties Remain
While most research indicates a healthy market, there is still uncertainty pertaining as to whether eReaders will be able to sustain their rapid growth with increased competitive pressures from tablets and other multifunction devices. Some of that doubt centers on the possibility that consumers are beginning to abandon application- specific devices (cameras, phones and laptops) and adopting more comprehensive, multifunctional devices. Furthermore with tablet manufacturers adding e-reading functionalities to their devices, there are growing concerns that consumers will opt to purchase devices with greater functionality – avoiding purchases of application-specific products altogether. However not all market experts share these concerns and are of the opinion that tablets and eReaders will be able to co-exist, serving separate markets. Find your answers at eReaders 2011
The purpose of IntertechPira’s inaugural eReaders 2011 conference is to unite all facets of the industry in one location to discuss the issues and opportunities currently facing the eReaders market. The conference will feature approximately 20 expert presentations assessing market trends, technical development and application-related advances through presentations, question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions. Attendees will also participate in a forum of learning and networking, and receive the insights and connections necessary to move the industry forward.
While I would dearly love to attend, it’s out of the question. What is interesting, though, is how consistently ereaders (and readers in general) have been under-estimated by the generation of the net. While video always draws the eyeballs, reading continues to draw the real attention. It’s as though certain companies would just prefer readers to go away, so they could fire videos and sound bites at us 24/7. It ain’t gonna happen. And I expect many of the reasons why will be discussed at this conference, which – despite the massive growth of ereaders – will go under reported.