Digitimes Research reports, that global shipments of ereaders are expected to reach no more than 2 million units in the first quarter of 2012. It’s down from as much as 9 million in Q4 2011.
Since the introduction of the Nook Color there is no clear distinction any more between an ereader (it used to have an e-ink screen) and a tablet (multi-purpose, color-screen). Nook Color is a single-purpose device with a color screen.
What’s even more important, Kindle Fire and both color Nooks are highly associated with ebooks, because they were launched by ebookstores. Apparently they became an alternative not for those who wanted to buy a tablet, but those who wanted to buy an ereader.
Those devices, with customized (=limited) systems and strong association with ebookstores, create a lot of confusion. Experts call them “iPad killers”, marketers want people to read ebooks on them, and in the end there are many customers who think that Kindle Fire is a “Kindle with a color e-ink screen”.
Obviously, there is a question about cannibalization. It’s not an easy case, because, opposite to Apple, what really Amazon and B&N want to sell is content, not devices. The question is how many more users they now have (and how many of them are active). Customers who bought their color devices instead of iPad, didn’t move to the Apple ecosystem, and it’s a win.
Yearly shipments of ebook readers are expected to top 60 million units by 2015, according to Digitimes. Tablets are going to do much better. A December report from iSuppli shows, that their shipments are expected to rise to about 300 million units in 2015. The estimates will surely change as definitions of the “ereader” and “tablet” will evolve.
(Via Ebook Friendly » Tips & More.)