Technological Takeover: eReader Style

By Kayla Kimmett

Photo courtesy: Kayla Kimmett

Photo by: Kayla Kimmett

Technology has changed the way people live their daily lives. From looking up movies times to checking their bank accounts, everything has moved toward a digital platform. Even books.

Books have moved into the digital era with ease with the help of what is now on many customers must have list, the eReaders. Although, many avid readers are skeptical about this new device that allows them to carry around a whole library of books, which they can read instantly and can have access to thousands more at the tips of their fingers.

eReaders have become extremely popular since their release eight years ago.  In fact, according to Dan Eldridge’s online article “ The Rise of E-Reading- An Infographic,” they have become so popular that the number of sales rose from 12 million in 2010 to 15 million in 2011. The sales numbers again rose in 2012 to 15.5 million.

“For the first few years when the eReaders first came out, the market escalated drastically,” said Bob Reece, a Nook salesman at Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Thornton. “Right now the market has flattened out a little bit.”

Reece said the sales reflect what the consumer is interested in and sales will skyrocket when something new or different comes out. Different companies will create the same thing and when that new item has lost that “I have to have it now” feeling, the sales of that specific type product will flatten out until another new device comes on the market and catches the consumer’s interest once again. Anything new can change the eReader industry in a heartbeat.

“It all depends on what strikes the market’s interest in that certain time and certain year,” said Reece.

Increases in sales could be because of what the eReader offers the buyer such as cheaper and more convenient access to books, the ability to travel easily with one and and the ability to use it for more than just reading books and magazines.

“I wanted cheaper books,” said Christina Sullivan, a Nook Tablet owner. “I wanted to read whichever book I wanted, whenever I wanted.”

Convenience and book prices seem to be the selling point of most eReaders. On the Nook, you can buy a book for about $12 while the price of it in its physical form in store could be more than twice the cost. The Amazon Kindle has the same deals, cheaper downloadable books than the ones you can buy in store.

“I bought a Kindle because I could find cheaper as well as free books for it,” said Lindsay Nokovic, a Kindle owner. “I couldn’t do that on the Nook.”

Although many people still prefer to read physical books, they will often own an eReader or tablet as well.

“I still like going into bookstores,” said Christina. “Cookbooks and coffee table books I get in physical books.”

The eReader sales are only 25% higher than the average physical book sale. That means paper books are still making their profit on the shelves of bookstores and in people’s hands.

“I still read more physical books than Kindle books but I do read on both,” said Nokovic. “I’d love it if I could buy a physical book and get it on the Kindle as well.”

Here is a little history for the curious. The first Amazon eReader, the Kindle, came out in 2007 and sold out within six hours. The first Kindle sold for $400. The Sony Reader was the first recognized eReader on the market and it was not a touch screen.

So which eReader is most popular? According to Top Ten Review’s article “eBook Reader 2013- Compare the Best,” the most popular eReader currently on the market is the IPad Mini as well as the Kindle Fire and the Barnes and Noble Nook. Currently, according to Reece, the most popular version of the Nook is the Nook HD and Nook HD+.

“These are full web browsing, e-mail and gaming tablets,” said Reece.

All three of these eReaders have two things in common. One is that they can hold an entire library of books within their memory card. Number two is that there are many different versions of the eReader that a customer can choose from, depending on what they specifically want it to do. The continual rise in sales of the eReaders reflects on how popular these devices have become not only to readers, but also to gamers and movie watchers.

“I watch Netflix and Hulu on my Nook Tablet,” said Sullivan. “I also have magazines on it too.”

The IPad Mini, the Kindle and the Nook are just three out of many eReaders in the market at the moment. There are also Kobo readers as well as Sony eReaders.

Each eReader comes with a price. The lowest they can run is between $70 and $80 and these are the simple ones, which are geared towards buyers who just want to read. The Nook Simple Touch and the Kindle E Ink Display fall under those prices and categories.

Some eReaders cost a little more expensive than the simpler ones, but the ones that are up in cost are the ones that can do more than store books. These are the tablet versions of the eReaders and can run between $160 and $400. These are the Kindle Fire editions and Nook Tablets, which cost about $270. You can always go for the high performance model of the tablets and go with an IPad, but IPads are geared more towards the gaming and video-watching crowd and less towards the readers. You can still read on the IPad, Apple has their own book market called the IBook. Buyers can also download a Nook application or a Kindle application and get the same benefits as Nook and Kindle buyers.

The eReader market can fit almost any consumer need. There are two types of consumers that are in the eReader market. The first groups of people are the ones who purchase an eReader specifically for reading. Every company that produces eReaders keeps in mind that there are people who are only looking for an eReader to read on and not have the bells and whistles on it, Reece said. The Nook Simple Touch is a good example of a simple eReader

“The other group of consumers are the people who want the bells and whistles,” Reece said. “Besides reading, they want to browse the web and play games.”

The eReaders over the last eight years have evolved in their own specific ways. When the first Kindle eReader came out, it was simply meant for reading and that is all a customer would be able to do on it. The latest Kindle that was released is a tablet that can be read on but a person can also play games and watch television shows and movies.

Reece said that playing games is a big reason for people to buy eReader tablets. He is an owner of a Nook Tablet and said the reason he likes the tablet form of the eReaders is the ability to take it with him when he travels and be able to keep up with the news or check his email without carrying his laptop around with him.

It is a battle of the eReaders when it comes to comparing them all together and finding which one suits the consumer better and what the buyer wants to get out of it. Whether it is simply to read on or to watch movies and play games with.

Reece says that the eReaders are turning into multi tasking tablets because of the needs in the market and what the customers want the device to do.

“This industry has gone crazy with the ability to do multiple tasks besides reading,” said Reece. “It is obvious now, if you go out and look at the market it’s just all different kinds of tablets being made by multiple companies.”

The Nook has also taken on a tablet form, allowing the readers to have access to everything that the Kindle users do.

Will these extremely convenient and fun eReaders run physical books off the shelf any time soon?

“The market still supports real books,” said Reece. “We are never going to see books disappear. Books have been in our culture of hundreds of years and eReaders have only been in the market for about eight.”

According to Jeremy Greenfield’s online Forbes magazine article, “Amazon Unveils the Future of E-Reading—And It’s Not the Latest Kindle,” says books won’t be gone for good but the future of authors and publishers is about to get exciting. Greenfield says authors and publishers have to adapt to the next generation of readers who will only read on the eReaders and never pick up a paper book. And he add that many publishing companies are making the transition from strictly paperback and hard cover books to digital media.

“Maybe someday down the road, we will have portable units that can play a movie in 3D,” said Reece. “Who knows what we will be able to do with them in the future.”

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Kayla Kimmett

About Kayla Kimmett

Kayla Kimmett is a journalism student at Metropolitian State University of Denver.

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