Last updated: January 9, 2013 - 2:07am
The e-reader era just arrived, but now it may be ending. Dedicated devices for reading e-books have been a hot category for the past half-dozen years, but the shrinking sizes and falling prices of full-featured tablet computers are raising questions about the fate of reading-only gadgets like Amazon's original Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s first Nooks.
Market-researcher IDC recently estimated 2012 global e-reader shipments at 19.9 million units, down 28% from 27.7 million units in 2011. By contrast, IDC's 2012 tablet forecast is 122.3 million units. IHS iSuppli comes up with different totals, but it sees a similar trend. It estimates that shipments of dedicated e-readers peaked in 2011 and predicts that 2012 shipments slid to 14.9 million units, down 36% from a year earlier. By 2015, it expects unit sales of dedicated e-readers to be just 7.8 million. One problem is that some users who bought e-readers see no particular urgency to buy another.
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