The Lasting Power of the E-Reader
When tablets rose to massive popularity a few years ago, it seemed like the e-reader would soon be obsolete and forgotten. They cannot browse the web with the freedom of a tablet or computer and they are only truly good for their intended purpose: to read books on. However, companies like Amazon and Barnes and Nobles regularly come out with new models of their respective e-readers and remain popular with a small increase of users every year.
So what is the remaining allure of the E-Reader and why have they remained a tech favorite?
Unlike laptops or tablets that seem to come from an endless amount of companies and manufacturers, there are three standout e-reader makers.
Amazon Kindle: The Kindle was the OG popular e-reader (released in 2007) and has produced over 10 models with their most recent release in October of this year. The anticipation for the original Kindle was so big that it sold out in five hours. The newest model of Kindle, the Kindle 8, is the first model of e-reader to support VoiceView, a software for the visually impaired.
Barnes and Noble Nook: Barnes and Noble threw their hats into the e-reader ring in 2009 with the release of the Nook. It was based on the Android platform and had a small touch screen panel on the lower screen, unlike the original Kindle which relied on external buttons. Nook’s current model is the Nook Glowlight Plus which has a full touchscreen, frontlight and is impressively waterproof.
Kobo eReader: The Kobo series is a late bloomer in the e-reader market (debuting in 2010) but was advertised as the simpler and cheaper version of its competitors. It now has a night reading mode with blue lights and has a waterproof screen.
Why They Endure
In 2016, e-reader audiences grew by 3.5% to 86.3 million people and while the tablet market is still much larger, e-reader audiences doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. There are several reasons that researchers have found to be the reason.
In 2015, people aged 65+ had a 11.1% increase in e-reader users. That tells us that older generations are preferring e-readers to tablets. Tablet user percentages for the older generations has always been low but this steady increase sheds some light on what tech that generation prefers. E-readers are lower tech and are easier to navigate than tablets and computers allowing older generations to use them with ease.
The most recent version of the Nook boasts six weeks of battery life, ideal for cordless and worriless travel. There is nothing more frustrating than racing to find a plug or not being able to read in an effort to conserve battery life. Books don’t have cords and if you’re mindful with an e-reader, you can have hours of uninterrupted and unplugged reading time.
Convenience was the basis behind e-readers, allowing avid readers to carry entire libraries with them wherever they go. While reading is still possible with tablets and computers, the E Ink paper-like display and the simple interface allows people to still feel like they are reading a real book with the convenience of never having to carry one.
While new book smell is admittedly nice, there is nothing like the convenience and prevailing appeal of an e-reader.
Statistics courtesy of eMarketer.com