Recently there have been several noteworthy predictions and comments about e-books and e-readers that all indicate the tipping point from print to digital is approaching.
In an article from this month’s Fast Company, Steve Haber, developer of the Sony Reader said, “E-book readers will largely dominate the industry, and it could happen in less than 10 years. Every time I give a Reader to someone to test, I never get it back. It's just like when TiVo or digital cameras came out. At first, people didn't know they needed it. But once they have it, they can't live without it.”
Richard Doherty, an analyst from the Envisioneering Group expressed a similar thought in a New York Times article a few months ago when he said, “I have not interviewed any owner of an ebook device who says that I should not have bought the thing.”
Steve Pendergrast, co-founder of Fictionwise, recently predicted that by 2010 there will be a “huge surge in e-book sales” and the “tipping point” of e-book popularity will occur as consumers see more users reading e-books on planes and subways. He added that Fictionwise’s typical customer has transitioned from men to women providing “evidence that e-book sales have shifted away from the early-adopter stage” and that e-books will become more widely accepted on the mass consumer level as technology improves.
Pendergrast’s prediction is in line with the comments by Russ Wilcox, president and CEO of E Ink, at the Tools of Change Conference in February. Wilcox said, “In 12-18 months, 2-3% of American households will own e-readers.” This prediction is significant because it is at that point that everyone will know someone who owns an e-reader which will lead to the tipping point. As we begin to see more sources with corroborative data, it provides better evidence that we are in fact nearing the tipping point for e-books and e-readers.