NYT: Great Holiday Expectations for E-Readers


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Via The New York Times

Great Holiday Expectations for E-Readers


Only a small slice of the book-buying public has bought an e-reader. About nine million devices are in circulation in the United States, according to Forrester Research.

That could jump in the coming weeks as consumers begin their holiday shopping, analysts predict. According to Forrester, at least 10.3 million e-readers could be in circulation by the end of the year.

And many of them will be bought for other people. Research from Simba Information, which provides data and advice to publishers, has shown that 1 in 5 of those who own a Kindle, Amazon’s dedicated e-reader, received it as a gift.

In a recent Consumer Reports poll, 10 percent of the adults surveyed said they planned to give an e-reader as a gift this year, up from 4 percent in 2009.

That has corresponded with an increase in e-book sales. Two years ago, publishers said that sales of e-books constituted 1 percent of total book sales, but the figure is now closer to 9 or 10 percent.

A year ago, the Kindle was the dominant force in e-readers, and it remains so. But since then, the Nook from Barnes & Noble and the iPad from Apple have emerged as major competitors.

Last month, Barnes & Noble introduced a color version of the Nook for $249; there is also the Kobo, which is sold at Borders and Wal-Mart, and dozens of other e-readers, including a $100 tablet offered on Walgreens.com.

“Last year, when you think of the e-reader category, it was Nook and Kindle and Sony, but primarily Nook and Kindle if you look at the sales,” said William Lynch, chief executive of Barnes & Noble. “The difference this year is, there’s a whole lot more choice.”