Since Amazon’s launch of Kindle (over two years ago), sale of digital book in the U.S has gone up exponentially, says Forrester Research. From January 2009 to September revenues sprang up to $109 million as compared to $52.4 million in 2008. Moreover Forrester predicts that the ebook market is likely to hit $500 million by end of 2010.
While retailers like Barnes & Noble (eReader: Nook), are trageting a bigger portal into a vast digital best-seller library other electronic giants like Sony (eReader: Reader) and companies like Entourage (eReader: eDGe) are targeting more of the niche markets like academia and depending primarily on content partnerships with libraries and publishers.
There is already a series of eBook readers in the market and a couple of weeks ago almost a dozen more introduced their ebook related venture at the Consumer Electronics Show. With so many already out there and so many to come (including Apple’s iSlate expected to be launched later this month) it seems by summer there will be multiple options that users could choose from to access digital cotent.
List of eReaders in 2010
Amazon’s Kindle: Very user friendly, Amazon’s Kindle was the first to offer wireless downloading of books and digital content. According to Forrester, Kindle holds about 60% of the eReader market and with a slightly higher share of eBook content sales.
Barnes&Noble’s Nook: Powered by Android Nook has slightly different UI than the Kindle – It has a colored touchscreen strip instead of a keyboard(unlike Kindle) for navigation. Biggest USP: ability to share e-books with friends and family(feature that is missing in Kindle).
Sony’s Reader: With 35% of the e-reader market, Sony is the no. 2 e-reader(although this might significantly change after Nook is released later next month). Sony’s latest version: “Daily Edition” unlike the previous one offers a wireless connection for downloading content. Although it has done a fairly good job in terms of UI and overall user experience content-wise the Sony’s Reader still has a long way to go: It offers only about 200,000 digital books (this is no where near the breadth available on Amazon’s Kindle or even Barnes&Noble’s Nook).
Spring Design’s Alex: Ready to be launched in February, Spring Design’s Alex was one of the many e-readers to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. Like Nook, Alex is also powered by Google Android but it offers one extra feature that Amazon’s Kindle does not:”full internet browsing”. In terms of content, Alex has partnered with Borders Group to feature the online book retailers on its device. This in itself guarnatees about 2 million digital book titles. Not Bad at all
Skiff eReader: Owned by media giant Hearst, Skiff offers reading newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. One of the coolest feature that most of the analysts are excited about is that it will allow publishers and content creators to market and distribute their products to other e-readers, smartphones, tablet devices, and computers.
Qualcomm’s Mirasol: Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology is yet another interesting eReader that made its debut at the CES. Mirasol e-reader display is said to have some features that will allow users to see color on their e-books. Mirasol is extected to release post summer this year.
Entourage’s eDGe: Scheduled to relase in February, eDGe is the first e-reader that will have two screens to read from: One of the screens would be for web browsing andthe other reading the digital books. Entourage is said to have signed a number of deals with textbook publishers like McGraw-Hill and Oxford University Press.