E-Reader vs. Tablet Computer: The All-In-One Gadget Delivers the Death Blow to the Stand-Alone Reading Device

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By Erik Pineda | October 29, 2012 5:16 PM EST

E-readers revolutionised the way consumers purchase books or more appropriately, the device altered the whole business of delivering book titles to avid readers worldwide.

Amazon, for instance, has dominated for many years the global business of selling books thanks to its vaunted network of physical delivery system, which the online retail 'upgraded' in recent years by releasing Kindle, its hugely popular e-reader.

Kindle and other e-readers that sprouted in the aftermath of its release, propelled global readership habit and became the preferred reading device of adults aged 55 and up, according to a study conducted by UK-based Silver Poll in 2011.

For a while, it was widely believed that e-readers would become a flourishing industry and able to withstand the possible onslaught of tablet computers, which Apple had reinvented in the previous year by rolling out the first iPad.

And true enough by the first quarter of 2011, research firm IDC had forecasted that e-reader global shipments would reach more than 12 million units, which IHS iSuppli had subsequently revised upward by the end of 2011.

Over the next two years, supplies of e-readers around the world would likely clock up to 43 million units, iSuppli had forecasted on its December 2011 report yet from that month onward, things have changed radically.

Tablet computers, which functions as a communication tool, gaming platform and a sleek e-reader that accommodates all sorts of electronic book and magazine files, now appear to have totally gained the upperhand from the stand-alone e-reading devices from Amazon and B&N Nook.

By Q3 2012, iSuppli has downgraded its projected e-reader 2014 shipments by around 70 per cent, underscoring what many analysts have been harping about since early 2012, according to Reuters, that the reading device has been gradually degenerating into a transitional technology.

It would not come as a surprise if e-reading functions would be totally absorbed by iPad and Android tablets, experts said, which in some ways have become a reality as Amazon unveiled earlier the Kindle Fire HD - a full-pledged tablet that boasts e-reading as only one of its amazing and numerous features.

The tack, market watchers, was wholly meant to convince younger consumers to plunge into electronic reading using their do-all tablets, with e-book retailers hoping to further monetise on the habit.

In the United States, the move was justified by a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre, which showed that about 50 per cent of young adults - aged 30 and up - do their reading outside of the e-reader platform.

Whether they prefer buying 'real books' or reading via iPad or Android tablet, the Pew survey strongly indicated that interest and even actual usage of e-readers have already peaked.

E-readers have become transition gadgets, e-book publisher Robin Birtle told Reuters, which he added would be hardly desired and needed by anyone, youngsters especially.

And why would they when freely downloadable e-reader apps have already proliferated both in the App Store and Google Play ecosystem?

These apps largely eliminated the need to lug along a separate gadget that solely functions to deliver reading pleasure as opposed to an all-in-one brick, which provides access to the net, allows for music and movie playback, carries gaming pleasures and some amount of quiet moments through reading.

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