13 Comments

Summary:

This has been a breakout year for e-readers and e-books–device sales will have more than tripled by the end of this year, and content sales…

Kindle Reader
photo: Corbis

This has been a breakout year for e-readers and e-books–device sales will have more than tripled by the end of this year, and content sales are up 176% for the year. But next year will be anything but boring. Here are Forrester’s predictions for 2010:

1. E Ink will lose its claim to near-100% market share for e-reader displays. Next year will see the first devices that are marketed as “e-readers” but that don’t exclusively use E Ink displays. Competition will come in three forms: 1) cheaper substitutions for E Ink that use the same electrophoretic display technology; 2) dual-screen devices that have both an E Ink and an LCD screen; and 3) devices that use an entirely different display technology, such as transflective LCD or OLED.

2. Dual-screen mobile phones and netbooks will eat into e-reader demand. Most consumers don’t read enough to justify buying a single-function reading device, and according to Forrester’s data, more consumers already read e-books on mobile phones and PCs than on e-readers. Consumer electronics manufacturers will tap into the growing digital reading trend by launching new versions of their devices with reading-optimized screens. Mobile phones like the Samsung Alias 2 already have secondary E Ink screens, which could be repurposed for reading rather than typing or time-telling. Netbooks will also launch with dual E Ink/LCD screens, like the Asus EEE PC prototype that debuted at CeBIT in 2009. Since some e-readers will launch with dual-screens, too, like the E Ink/LCD Entourage Edge, the main difference between these devices and dual-screen netbooks will be software and marketing.

3. Apps will make non-reading devices more e-book-friendly. E-readers like the Kindle have catalyzed demand for digital reading: e-books have been around for more than a decade, but no one bought them before Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) made it convenient to buy and consume them. But the market for e-books is not limited to e-readers. This year gave us oodles of apps for the iPhone (Gizmodo called e-books the new fart apps), the B&N app for smartphones and PCs, and the beginning of apps for portable gaming devices like the Sony (NYSE: SNE) PSP and Nintendo DS. Next year will see more e-book apps on more devices. These apps will make it easier to view reading content on non-reading-optimized devices, which will provide a

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

This article originally appeared in Forrester Research.

  1. Carsten Schmidt Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    i have to say that when i saw the header i was looking forward to reading the predictions, but the more i read the more disappointed i got. if this was just a blog post by some guy in a basement i would say ok, the guy reads the news. but to see two forrester analysts write something like this i expect more. none of these predictions are in any way new nor groundbreaking. just take "China, India, … will propel global growth" … come on, you can write this about anything. as for any of the other "predictions", well they are predictions in that most of them will happen in 2010, but those developments are either already underway, or have been announced, or as in the case of the dual screen are already being produced and sold.

    so let's just all predict that next year will be 2010.

  2. This article is generic. There are some real factors that will happen with e-books I'm seeing on the ground floor. This is the problem with technology journalists – they hang out at "conferences" and pal up with "status quo mouthpieces" instead of being where the action is at before opening their mouth on a subject.

    Notice no mention of the mobile manga format that NTT out in Japan is introducing to the market. This is very big as most young audience read animiated comics and graphic novels as opposed to text.

    Notice no mention of Adobe who has all of the magic to change the interactivity level of this e-book industry as we know it with their new embedded Flash mobile version.

    Notice they stated the media firms will launch their own e-Readers but do not explain how. e-Readers are destined to be commodity items like "free phones with paid subscription" price model offered by the content providers.

    As Carsten above stated – nothing is novel or out of the obvious written…

  3. The only thing that this predicts is that the writers may be able to read press releases. What a waste.

  4. Watch out of web apps as well. It's much easier to build something once that plays everywhere (across browsers on laptops and phones) than to release device specific apps that are downloaded through app stores.

  5. And the #1 prediction for ebooks next year? Apple releasing it's own industry-changing e-book/tablet.

  6. Happy as always to play devil's advovcate on the subject of e-books and e-readers. I doubt that the market will expand to $500 million in content sales in 2010, for three reasons:

    1. The growth rate of 176% for 9 mos. '09 vs. '08 is not sustainable as the market moves beyond early adopters to mainstream. Mainstream readers will primarily use these devices as a supplement to their print reading, not as a primary displacement technology. This still creates a sizeable market, but nowhere near the compounding effect that Forrester predicts.
    2. As competition heats up among the mutliple e-reader suppliers in 2010, market-share pressures will keep e-reader prices low, stimulating unit sales but exerting downward pressure on total revenues.
    3. In response to pts. 1 and 2 above, publishers/authors will exhibit greater concern about cannibalizing their frontlist hardcover sales. Increasingly, they will deny the market immediate access to frontlist product and resort to staging their e-book releases in attempt to segment the market and maintain control over the value proposition.

    My prediction: $250-$300 million tops in e-book content sales in 2010.

  7. Epps and McQuivey oerlooks a few things about e-readers and e-reading and 2010. First of all, in 2010, it will be shown via MRI studies by top experts in the field that "reading" in screens is vastly inferior to reading in paper surfaces, and that screen-reading is not really "reading" at all, but a new kind of reading we might call "screening" (or whatever new word comes down the information highway in 2010, and there will be many suggestions for this new word. Please do suggest!). Secondly, newspapers will start to be called "snailpapers" in daily slang since the print editions of most newspapers now arrive at our doorsteps in the morning with news that is already 12 hours old. Thus the nickname, via snailmail usage, of snailpapers to define newspapers in the Internet age. Thirdly, I will likely suffer a second heart attack in 2010 and leave this wonderful planet for good. Sigh. It's been a good ride. Best of luck to everyone. Chins up!

  8. This is an interesting market to keep any eye on for sure. It reminds me of back in the day when mobile phones started to become popular.

    Always plenty of people saying “it’ll never last” blah blah, but once the big players get involved you know there’s a market with lots of potential. People keep saying nobody reads books anymore, maybe, maybe not, but people sure read a lot of ebooks & magazines.

    Lindy

  9. I don’t know about some of the predictions here, but I am looking forward to increased competition bringing innovative products onto the market while lowering prices. Ebooks optimized with internet and multimedia links are very exciting, too. And with these developments, I don’t see why sales won’t reach over $500 mil next year. As a teacher, my favorite ebook site I’ve found is at http://www.dedicatedteacher.com which is easy to use and has some great resources. Let the year of the e-book BEGIN!

  10. the model is simple. it has been laid out before us. (The digital music) drm and formatting wars of mp3/windows/ipod.

    the kendel is the ipod = people who dont care about owning there ebooks (aka like renting them from amazon)

    nook, better control and ownership of your ebooks

    sony, little better still

    the EZreader is awesome, it will display almost anything you want on it

    looks like Epub is the MP3 of books

Comments have been disabled for this post