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2011 Predictions for e-Book Readers

When I first began writing for the PDA/eBook Reader site I predicted that for the eBook reader to really take off the price had to be considerably lower. 2010 has been the year where we have seen this happen. Sales for eBook readers has more than tripled with eBooks up 176% from last year. As I review the stats I see some predictions for 2011 that should be noted.

Prediction #1 is the news media. PDAs today have many APPs for news channels, magazines and newspapers. They are very attractive and easy to use. Many of these publishers are okay with how they appear on the PDAs because they understand the limitations. However, when they are published on an e-Book reader the display lacks most of the formatting they would expect. With the APPs becoming available for e-Book readers this problem should be relieved. Color is also a just for many magazines to go digital. I would not be surprised to see a e-Book reader customized specifically for this industry.

Prediction #2 is that e-Ink will see some competition. e-Ink has near 100% of the market share today but I believe next year there will be competition from many different directions. Many new eBook readers are toying with the idea of having both e-Ink and LCD screens. B&Ns Nook has both technologies today. However, there are also some talk about devices that could use new technology such as transflective LCD or OLED.

Prediction #3 believes that mobile phones and netbooks will begin to eat into the e-Book reader market. Their reasoning is that most consumers do not read enough to buy a single function product. I have read books on my PDA and it is okay, but does not compare with an e-Book reader. Manufacturers believe this prediction so much that many mobile phone manufactures have been developing PDAs that come with e-Ink screens for the very purpose of reading books. One phone that already have this dual screen technology is the Samsung Alias 2. Netbooks also have this dual technology.

Prediction #4 believes that Apps are making non-reading devices (such as PDAs) more e-book-friendly. This has been changing many things. Last month I even suggested an e-Book reader APP for everyone to review.

Prediction #5 is that e-Book readers will change. We are seeing these changes already. Many of the readers will begin accepting APPs onto their platform and allowing multiple platforms for the types of books and files they can read. Not only are the e-Book readers beginning to change so are those who have the keys to the platforms. iRex Technologies is set to release an SDK (software development kit) for their e-Book reader. This will allow developers to create APPs specifically for their e-Book reader. Makes me wonder what kind of APPs an e-Book Reader would be created. I can think of 3 that I want my company to work on!

Prediction #6 is that touchscreen will become the norm as well as color slipping in. The Sonys e-Book reader is absolutely great for taking notes directly on the page with a pen! Once you use a touch screen e-Book reader you will find it very hard to go back to the older version.

Prediction #7 is that large bookstore chains will continue to fight back. With the Nook being released we have seen other bookstores launching their own reader and programs. This next year these programs will be tested and refined. This will make way for checking out and borrowing books via your e-Book reader as you do in a library today.

Prediction #8 is that sales will continue to grow. I read on one side that consumers do not read enough books to justify an e-Book reader. The other side of the story tells me that sales are expected to top $500 million in the US alone in 2011. That seems to be a lot of consumers who read and use e-Book readers. This figure is more than doubled from a year ago.

Prediction #9 is that E-textbooks will become more attractive and easily accessible. When the touch screen and color become a normal component this market share will take off. Just using the Sony touchscreen I have begun using it to take notes and can see how useful this could be for students. Using a pen vs a keyboard is key for this market. Also, more e-Textbooks will have to be published to make it worth the investment for the student.

Prediction #10 is that e-Book readers for children will make an appearance. I do not hear much talk about this today but just being around children and talking with other markets this area is being researched. I can see an educational e-Book reader with the ability to have interactive learning lessons for children. Lessons that can be taken on hikes to learn about nature, lessons taken on trips to learn about places, lessons that can be used in the kitchen to learn how to cook. There are so many possibilities for children that has not even been explored. With more and more of our children being home-schooled this is a natural progression.

These are some of my predictions for 2011. I wonder how many will come to pass.

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