Transistioning to E-Readers: Old Habits Die Hard

Sales of Amazon's Kindle e-reader are projected to reach 1 million units this year. Does this signal a trend toward widespread adoption of e-readers by book lovers? Not so fast, according to research from NPD Group. Approximately 40% of persons surveyed in the study indicated they were only somewhat interested or not interested at all in e-readers. Given Kindle's initial price of $359 (recently lowered to $299), the cost of e-readers would seem to be the primary obstacle to gaining wider adoption. In fact, 70% of those who were not interested in e-readers cited the desire to experience sing a book in its physical form as the main reason they were not interested in e-readers.

Do findings from this study imply doom for e-readers from Amazon, Sony, and Plastic Logic? Will they become business school case studies of new product failures? The answer to these questions is probably "no." What the marketers of e-readers do face is the challenges of creating user-friendly products that replicate the look, if not the feel, of reading a paper book. Advantages of e-readers should be touted, including their positive impact on the environment (saving paper on book production and reducing need for storage space).

The transition from books to e-readers is a much greater leap for consumers than moving from CDs to digital music players. It is because book reading is much more of a sensory experience: seeing, touching, and even smelling a physical book. A market for e-readers exists, but in the near future it appears to be focused on a segment of customers that are willing to adopt the technology for the convenience of downloading books quickly and storing hundreds of titles in a tiny space. Despite Kindle's success to this point, the market for e-reader supremacy is still wide open.

Online Media Daily - "Consumers not Convinced They Need E-Reader"

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