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Books Displays Handhelds

Will Tablets Kill Off e-Readers? 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-me-e-ink-or-give-me-death dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Are e-readers doomed? A research note earlier this week from IHS iSuppli suggested that, after years of solid growth, the e-book reader market was 'on an alarmingly precipitous decline' thanks to the rise of tablets. The firm suggested that e-reader sales had declined from 23.2 million units in 2011 to 14.9 million this year — around 36 percent, in other words. The note blames tablets: 'Single-task devices like the ebook are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets.' Even Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the reigning champs of the e-reader marketplace, have increasingly embraced full-color tablets as the best medium for selling their digital products. Backed by enormous cloud-based libraries that offer far more than just e-books, these devices are altogether more versatile than grayscale e-readers, provided their users want to do more than just read plain text."
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Will Tablets Kill Off e-Readers?

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  • However, I don't think that e-readers will die completely. Those hardcore people who prefer reflected light for reading books will likely cling to their devices (I'm one of them).
  • by rts008 (812749) on Friday December 14, 2012 @05:53PM (#42294263) Journal

    Speak for yourself.

    I deliberately chose an ebook reader with an LCD, gleefully.
    I've had it for a year now, and would not give it up willingly. Before I got the reader, I would download my ebooks in HTML format to read on my nice PC monitor.

    And I'm not some young whippersnapper with good eyes....I'm 54, wearing tri-focals. I have never experienced the problems you allude to, and I am a voracious reader.

  • I have both (Kindle and Nexus 7) too. If I had bought the tablet first, I wouldn't haven't bought the Kindle. While reading text on the Kindle IS nicer than on the tablet, reading PDFs on the Kindle is a nightmare -- the page renders are slow and hard to make out, and moving around on a page isn't exactly a breeze. A PDF on the tablet is totally straightforward and renders perfectly.

    What would be interesting however, would be a tablet with an Epaper touch display. Most of my beef with the Kindle is that for PDF applications, it is slow and clunky. Take that away by giving the device some processing power and a good resolution, plus the ability to run other apps, and the only downside to Epaper would be a lack of color. In other words, an Android tablet with an Epaper display might be interesting -- not for games -- but for reading the web, books, documents, emails, and stuff like that.

  • by Paracelcus (151056) on Friday December 14, 2012 @08:24PM (#42296985) Journal

    And my E-book reader can go two weeks (of heavy usage) on a charge (you don't even need to turn it off!

  • by Cinder6 (894572) on Friday December 14, 2012 @10:13PM (#42297927)

    I have a Kindle Paperwhite. Before that, I had a Nook and a Kindle Touch. Before that, I had a first-gen iPad. Way before that, I had a Compaq iPAQ on which I once read Dracula, so I'm counting it here.

    Reading ebooks on the dedicated eReaders is superior to a first-gen iPad (and the iPAQ, natch). However, I recently got a new (retina) iPad, and, well...in some ways it's better than the Kindle. Despite the lighting and battery issues, the iPad has clearer text. This is a combination of vastly superior contrast, perfect screen refreshes, higher DPI, and a more even backlight. It also switches pages faster than a Kindle, and thanks to the perfect refresh, it never has text artifacts (you can enable this in the Kindle, too, but the screen flickers black every page turn and it eats up battery faster).

    The Kindle, though, still has some advantages. You don't need to look at it straight-on; it's clear from any angle. Its battery lasts longer, though I find I still need to recharge every 7-10 days. There's less eyestrain--but I think a better way to describe that is it's slightly easier for me to focus on the text than it is on an LCD. The device weighs less, and I can easily hold it in my hand (I could probably do this with an iPad mini or a 7" tablet). You can read it in direct sunlight--in fact, it looks better this way!

    The point to all this is that tablets have made strides in the eReader field. They used to suck, but they've gotten quite a bit better. I wouldn't be surprised if they supplant the dedicated readers altogether at some point. They're good enough for most people. I think the ideal situation would be an LCD/eInk hybrid screen, an idea that has seen something of a resurgence of late.

  • Re:Probably (Score:4, Informative)

    by muridae (966931) on Friday December 14, 2012 @10:26PM (#42297999)
    I charged my kindle a few weeks ago; and read for about 4 hours last night and most nights previous. That's not abnormal for it, I've gone a month or more without charging it when I was only able to find a few series in paper form. Just got about 30 free books from amazon yesterday, so I might have to charge it next week some time.

    Frankly, I've tried reading on my phone, and the backlit display just doesn't help my already bad eyes. I can get by with it when I have to, but the paper-like display of a non-lit e-ink reflecting light from a nice warm LED bulb is just more comfortable.
  • by Andtalath (1074376) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:21AM (#42299945)

    I've managed to deplete mine in 5 days.
    But, otoh, I read 30 books those five days.

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