Research firm Gartner believes an eReader mania will start by the holiday season of next year. The company believes the future is bright for eReaders and advises publishers to invest in digital distribution of books, newspapers and magazines. Market research indicates the price of eReaders need to drop closer to $99 to gain consumer traction, and Gartner believes smartphones have the potential to become a bridge to other devices such as tablet readers and netbooks.
“With the entry of new players, such as Barnes and Noble, into the e-reader market and an increase in models from Amazon and Sony, consumers began to have choices in single-purpose e-reading devices in 2009. Among the product differentiation points are support for E-ink’s electronic paper technology, support for further book formats, and the ability of some devices to allow consumers to purchase content wirelessly and to synchronize content across devices,” said Allen Weiner, research vice president at Gartner.
Mr. Weiner said that while fixed devices – those built solely for reading, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s family of devices – get most of the attention, book applications on smartphones are an important component of publishers’ digital strategy. However, Gartner believes that it is too early in the evolution of the e-reading market to know whether smartphones will become powerful stand-alone devices for reading books or whether they will complement other devices, such as fixed readers.