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Why the e-reader is quickly losing its appeal

Posting in Technology

In much the same way that smartphones are driving the declining sales of point-and-shoot cameras, the growing tablet market is pushing the previously popular e-reader market into what a new report calls "alarmingly precipitous decline."

The report, from IHS iSuppli, says that by the end of the year the total shipments of e-readers will drop to 14.9 million from 23.2 million last year, a 36 percent drop. Estimates from the report say that e-reader sales will continue to drop next year to 10.9 million units sold and in 2016 to 7.1 million units -- a number that, if accurate, means a decline of more than two-thirds of its peak sales volume just five years earlier. (New smartphones that double as e-readers probably won't help.)

According to IHS analyst Jordan Selburn, the rapid rise and quick collapse of the e-reader is "virtually unheard of" even in the electronics space. But he say's the e-reader's fall is indicative of the consumer's preference for general-purpose devices over single-purpose items like GPS devices, MP3 players, and point-and-shoot cameras.

Conversely, tablet shipments are expected to reach 120 million units this year and an impressive 340 million units in by 2016. But we'll have to wait and see if tablets stay hot in an ever-evolving market.

Ebook Readers: Device to Go the Way of Dinosaurs? [IHS iSuppli]

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

— By on December 14, 2012, 5:11 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure