The organisers of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, being held in Las Vegas have, for the first time ever set aside a dedicated area for e-book readers. It’s hardly surprising – there are at least two dozen different manufacturers displaying e-book readers at the show.
The increased level of awareness, both from electronics manufacturers and the public is no big surprise. After all, 2009 was a very successful year for e-book readers. And there’s every indication that 2010 will be even better.
There’s little doubt that a great deal of the credit for this heightened awareness of e-book readers in 2009 must go to the Amazon Kindle reader. The release of first the Kindle 2.0 in February, quickly followed by the Kindle DX launch in June, created a great deal of good press for e-book readers in general and for the Kindle in particular.
The Kindle quickly became the top selling product on Amazon and, during the festive season of 2009, the Kindle became the most gifted item on Amazon. Kindle book sales had been running at 35% of all book sales (where a Kindle edition existed). For the first time ever, on Xmas day 2009, Amazon sold more Kindle books than traditional books.
Public demand, both for e-book readers and the e-books to read on them had been firmly established and now seems set to take off.Right now, Amazon has 60% of the American market and Sony has 35%. Obviously there are plenty of other manufacturers who want a share of this new market. On the face of it, they will have a hard time considering Amazon’s dominance – but the market is very new and changing and developing at breakneck speed. Exponential growth seems very likely in the near future and the right product at the right time could rewrite the rules overnight.
Electronics manufacturers are not the only businesses interested in the growth and development of the e-book reader market. Independent manufacturers who produce various accessories – reading lights (the displays of e-book readers are not back-lit),chargers, covers, screen protectors etc. – are also benefiting from a market that, until very recently, was simply not in existence. At the moment, Kindle accessories are, predictably, the most common, but as other readers begin to make inroads in the market these will, almost certainly, also be catered for.
2010 will be a big year both for e-books and e-book readers. Next year’s Consumer Electronics shows will also have a separate e-book reader section – but it will probably be considerably larger in size in comparison with this year.
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