According to an article from The New York Times, Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research has a new report out entitled, “Who Will Buy An eReader?” This is Rotman Epps’ second report in recent months. In June, Rotman Epps published a report entitled, “How Big is the eReader Opportunity?” which predicted an explosion of the e-reader textbook market within five years time. The new report shows that e-reader awareness is on the rise with 37% of US consumers saying that they have heard of an e-book device, this number is up from 17% last year. Also of interest is that 1.5% of consumers currently own an e-book device, this number has more than doubled since last year when it was at .6% and the number of consumers that plan to buy an e-reader in the next six months has tripled from 2% to 6%. In regards to the number of devices sold, Forrester estimates that three million e-readers will be sold in U.S. in 2009 and by 2013 it could reach 13 million devices sold.
The report also discusses the change in demographics from the early adopters to the future adopters and a posting from ReadWriteWeb features a chart of the survey results. In addition, the new adopters may not be as loyal to Amazon as the early adopters were, so Amazon could have a tough time holding onto the lead. On the Forrester Blog, Rotman Epps commented, “The types of consumers likely to buy an eReader are changing. While early adopters of eReaders were a perfect storm of demographics for Amazon (they could afford the device, they have a need for the device in business travel and urban commuting, they like technology, and they buy lots of books online), future prospects for the devices look completely different. They’re more likely to be female, less tech optimistic, and they read a lot (on average, 5 books per month) but they buy and borrow books from multiple sources, as opposed to buying lots of books online. The big takeaway is that this could spell trouble for Amazon, if competitors can move in to better serve the later waves of adopters who don’t have as strong a relationship with the eCommerce giant.”
A posting on Gigaom points out that Amazon will need to sell the devices in bricks-and-mortar stores like Apple does with the iPod in order to remain on top. Currently, the Kindle can only be purchased via Amazon.com and the only way for a consumer to see it before purchasing is to try out a friends or participate in Amazon’s "See a Kindle in Your City" program but neither option is necessarily as easy as testing the device in a store. If consumers are able to purchase other comparable e-reader devices in-store, they may be more likely to do so.