The E-Book GainsE-Reader Market Share & Forecast

Rohan Mathew

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The conditions for e-readers and digital books are to experience the growth forecasted by analysts, which could be higher than 100% this year, are already on the market. And is that despite the fact that 51% of consumers in our country do not know the product, sales are likely to trend upwards. There is generally a better disposition of readers, and some of the most popular eReaders you can buy out there offer titles in digital format that can be used on multiple devices. It is further supported with a key fact: The drop in prices both in books (over 30%) and in readers (drop in average prices of around 100 euros as a result of a strong increase in competition).

The arrival of international providers such as Amazon, Facebook, and GoogleBooks with an important portfolio of free material will play strongly in favor of that market. Until now, the lack of digitized books has been the main brake on its expansion. But a recent survey conducted among 280 publishers in our country has shown that 75% of them already have a catalog of digitized news or have the project to start this year. The comics sector stands out, where 94% of the firms say they have it already in place, which could attract young people and adolescents to digital consumption.

According to the aforementioned survey, 26% of publishers expect to have more than half of their catalog in digital format by 2012 and announce that they will be able to offer books between 30% and 50% cheaper than on paper.

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This announcement has coincided with the avalanche of news in the field of readers. Sony has expanded its offer of electronic ink equipment, the new Nook (in color), from Barnes and Noble, has also appeared, and the successful Amazon Kindle 3 is already at $ 139 (about 98 euros). According to a recent report by Futuresource Consulting, in 2010 the global ebook market grew by over 200%, surpassing 90 million units sold, and the first quarter of this year has far exceeded expectations. Sales are led by Amazon, with its Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Sony, although the consulting firm Garnet has warned of the emergence in this area of ​​computer giants that will make a move in the markets.

Another advantage is the improvement of electronic ink technologies. E-Ink, the leading company in this sector, recently launched a high-quality screen called Pearl, available in some readers such as the Kindle 3 or some Sony.

There is also competition here with the arrival of the innovative AUO + SiPix ink, which already incorporates devices such as the Papyre 6.2, from Grammata. In computers with LCD screens, some include the advanced C-Paper technology that improves reading and reduces visual fatigue. An additional advantage is a gradual increase in storage capacity that already reaches 64 GB (which would allow a complete bookstore in your pocket with more than 10,000 books) as well as connectivity that is extended to wi-fi, 3G, and Bluetooth, which favors streaming downloads and reading.

The incorporation of the reading function in tablets and touch computers with the advantage of the color screen is appreciated, especially in the case of magazines and newspapers. The screens are in this case LCD (TFT) and they are favoring the emergence of this digital reading market. Regarding the formats, note that not all readers read all the books. One and the other must be understood, it is advisable to use an open code and those more extended, in order to expand the reading possibilities. The formats preferred by the readers are the ePub, the pdf, and the Mobipocket.

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How to Choose the Best Reader

1. Screen

Electronic ink (E-ink) is a system that does not tire the eyes, but the screens are in black and white. LCDs are more fatiguing, but they can display videos and are in color.

2. Format

An open-format is recommended because the wider the read compatibility, the better. The most common open is ePub.

3. Capacity and Connections

It is recommended that it have a slot for SD or micro SD memory cards and not less than 2Gb of capacity as standard. Better with USB, ‘wi-fi’, Bluetooth and headphones. An advantage when it comes to downloads is access to 3G networks.

4. Functions

Better the touch screen and if you need a keyboard better than this is virtual, so as not to lose screen size.

5. Battery

The more autonomy you have, the better. LCD screens consume more battery.

6. Weight

Important that it weighs little so as not to tire your hands.