Worldwide shipments of dedicated ebook readers such as the E-Ink Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook will fall by 36 percent to 14.9 million units this year, and plummet to just 7.1 million units by 2016.

That’s the word this morning from industry researcher IHS, which blames the rise of multipurpose tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad.

The phenomenon isn’t a surprise, but the is significant. It’s reminiscent of the impact that smartphones have had on dedicated music players and cameras.

“The stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry: Single-task devices like the ebook reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets,” says IHS analyst Jordan Selburn in a news release.

IHS says makers of ebook readers will likely continue to drop in price, which will prolong the life of the market, but “the devices on the whole will not regain the popularity they once had.”

Meanwhile, the firm says tablets are “enjoying unstoppable growth,” with shipments expected to reach 120 million units in 2012, and 340 million units by 2016.

Comments

  • http://www.actlocalmedia.com/ Brenda Walker

    The emphasis on the negative tone of the IHS release is mystifying. How is this development a bad thing?

    “‘“The stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry: Single-task devices like the ebook reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets….'”

    And perhaps that’s just a typo in the first line but “ebooks” have not flamed out. The single-use readers will go away but that doesn’t mean that people are going to stop reading. Data has shown that people are buying MORE books not less, because of the ease and portability of the devices.

    This is all good news. And it will be even better news when the multi-use devices are commonly sold for under $70 so that any “digital divide” type gap that has developed will close.

    • Miguel Silva Rodrigues

      Yup, definitely an editing miss there: should be “ebook readers” instead of “ebooks” — In fact, more people will be attracted to buying a tablet than an e-book reader (and then use it for ebook reading).

  • Celeste

    I am all for multipurpose devices. My tablet very rarely leaves home anymore. Why ? Because I have a Samsung Note II that does it all. It’s a phablet! No more looking for that piece of paper to write an important quick note. I use the phablet and my Ultrabook. Fast, light and easy!

  • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

    I would not call the Kindle a multipurpose tablet like a Nexus 7 or iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/igorgl Igor Gl

    Most people would rather watch a movie than read a book and prices are not that different: $139 for a Kindle (ok, $119 with annoying ads) or $199 for Nexus 7.

  • tre

    I would love to buy A4 ereader. Waiting already several years…

  • http://twitter.com/ShoomKloom ShoomKloom

    So sad…
    A tablet IS NOT a good eReader.
    The whole point and benefit of eInk is that it is easy on the eyes and easy on the
    battery.
    Until we have a dual technology tablet – i.e. you will be able to switch between LCD
    and eInk – we will not have a good solution for people who want to read a lot of books…
    I fear that tablets will cause the eReader technology to be abandoned…

  • Mike_Acker

    the tablet will kill the iphone too. the reason being a tablet is about the smallest device that is practicle to read or browse the net with. people wil figure out a flip phone is all they need for txt/voice and a tablet with wifi is a much better choice for web browsing

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