Magazines and Books on E-paper E-reader Displays 'Approaching the Tipping Point,' Says Expert
Another significant result is that the market for e-paper e-readers will divide into four marketplaces by 2020, each with different device specifications and markets. Two of these will feature under 9-inch displays: the "roll-able/foldable" e-reader, similar to a communications device, with sales of 27 million units valued at $3.8 billion in 2020, and the "e-book" e-reader with sales of 115 million units valued at $6.5 billion in 2020. The other two will feature over 9-inch displays, and some significantly larger: first, a monochrome screen-based "paper replacement/newspaper" e-reader with sales of 24 million units valued at $1.2 billion in 2020, and subsequently the high-quality color display-based "magazine" e-reader with sales of 280 million units valued at $14 billion in 2020.
INSIDER: What are some of the most effective uses of e-paper e-readers in publishing today? What seems to resonate with consumers?
HAMPSHIRE: Undoubtedly what resonates most with the consumer today is books, and e-book editions are starting to outsell their print equivalents. It is the ability to instantly buy an e-book, to be able to store and carry a whole library in a single portable device, to take notes, increase text size, look up definitions, bookmark pages, but above all it has been the arrival of e-paper display technology with its paper-like reading quality in ambient light that has been the real attraction.
Magazine publishers need to stop believing that the e-reader "threat" is still far away and have to start realizing that this future is rushing toward them at great speed. In 2012, we will see the first real high-quality color "magazine" e-readers with magazine-size displays.
INSIDER: The emergence of e-readers (in use and design) seems to have been a relatively slow but steady progression. Is there a possible tipping point for adoption of the technology?
HAMPSHIRE: The market for e-paper e-readers is no longer growing at a snail's pace. We are approaching the tipping point for magazines but are in the midst of it for books. New manufacturers are announcing products on an almost weekly basis. Investments made over the last couple of years, in both e-paper displays and e-readers are now entering production, and new display technologies are about to appear. Unit prices are dropping fast, and should hit the $150 mark in 2011. In 2010, we will see e-paper e-reader sales in excess of 6 million units, up from this year's figure of 2.5 million. This is the beginning of a rapid growth period which will see over 446 million units being produced and sold in 2020.