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By Tim Smith Jan 7 2013

The Rise and Fall of eReaders

A report that came out in mid-December from iSuppli, the electronics sector research firm, noted that year-end eReader shipments are going down to 14.9M units – a significant 36% drop from the 23.2M units achieved in 2011.

Presently, the projection for 2013 will have the number down to 10.9M units sold.  That being said, none of this is a surprise – the decline in sales of eReaders has been expected for some time now.

However, instead of pig-piling on a market that appears to be drying up, I’d rather leave a note of appreciation for the role eReaders have played in raising our technological savvies over the past few years.

These devices served as a bridge to an entire population of people who had never previously felt the urge to ‘tech-up’ their lives, only to find a device that enabled them understand the utility that comes with new technology.  Suddenly, here was a group of people who once were in the ‘technology-is-not-for-me’ camp, and now were evaluating whether or not this was actually true.

Count my Mom as one of those people.

Throughout this past year, I’ve spoken ad nauseam with clients and partners about my mom’s love affair with the Kindle she received for Christmas two years ago.  And while it’s a constant joy to poke fun at the books she is reading (yes, I probably embellished a little – not all of it was Danielle Steel), the fact of the matter is that her Kindle had genuinely improved one aspect of her life that was important to her. She recognized it immediately and from that point on, she was hooked.

Fast forward two years, and now my Mom’s first question after the obligatory “are you kids hungry?” is “can I play around with your tablet?”  Little did she know that the iPad Mini was waiting in her stocking.

So, thank you, eReader – and, well done.  You proved to an entire generation that technology isn’t a young person’s game, and in the process helped turn a 60-something pre-school teacher into a technophile.