A new report from research and advisory firm mediaIDEAS says that e-readers are set to become “one of the major disruptive technologies of the 21st century.” In an interview with Publishing Executive, Nick Hampshire, author of the report, discussed some of the key findings and predictions for the market over the next decade. Hampshire expects that within the next year, the number of e-reader devices on the market will double from the 40+ that are available today. Next year, we will likely see flexible e-readers hit the market and flexible color magazine e-readers could be available in 2013. By 2015, Hampshire expects that, “e-paper e-readers will be employed to display virtually any form of printed content from monochrome text heavy office documents and newspapers to high quality full color magazines and brochures with audio and video components.” By 2020, Hampshire says that the e-reader market will be divided into four categories: e-readers for e-books, foldable e-reader communication devices, e-readers for newspapers, and e-readers for magazines. The first two categories will feature devices with 9-inch displays or smaller while the newspaper and magazine e-readers will have displays over 9-inches.
As for sales, it is predicted that e-reader sales will increase to 6 million units in 2010, to 115 million units in 2013, and then to 446 million units by 2020. Hampshire also commented on how e-readers will influence publishing within the next 10 years. Hampshire said, “With the arrival of high-quality color, low cost, large-screen e-readers within the next few years, we are looking at these devices becoming as ubiquitous as today's cell phone. Whilst people will still be buying and reading content printed on paper in 2020, the bulk of the market for magazine content will be for digital publications primarily viewed on reading devices.”