Death Of The eBook Reader!
In my opinion death of the eBook reader is inevitable. Its original incarnation made a lot of sense. A small digital device with a relatively large screen that can replace physical books. But that was before tablets, smartphones, and phablets. So really, what's the point now? Die hard eBook reader fans will talk about e-ink and how easy it is on the eyes, however, they must attach a light to it to read in the dark. People will tout how color screen are tiring on the eyes, and tablets and phablets are heavy and hard to hold.
Well, all that has changed dramatically between 2010 and 2013. These alternative devices are small and lighter, and have comparable battery life. They also provide all kinds of other functionality that is so useful, like email, Internet, access to social media, videos, pictures, etc....the list goes on. Even eBooks have evolved to allow for many of these features. So, really, the lines are blurring. Even the higher end eBook readers now have similar color screens, so even that benefit is disappearing.
Sure, I can understand that an avid book reader might still argue that e-ink screens are easier on the eyes. I think it's only a matter of time when display technology will allow such a viewing experience to be easily enabled on regular tablet devices.
That way the user can enjoy a bright vibrant screen for multi-media, and an e-ink-like experience for serious reading. Maybe that's the only real outstanding argument to have a dedicated eBook reader. But even then, do you want to manage a separate smartphone or tablet in addition to an eBook reader? I would argue that the average person will simply prefer to carry around one device that can do everything they need.
So it seems inevitable that the death of the eBook reader as it was originally born is imminently around the corner. It was a great idea that served its purpose, but can now be considered as defunct as are black and white TVs. I think this evolution will be one of those things that a relatively small group of people will miss, and see supposedly modern technology as fundamentally defunct for meeting that particular need (until an e-ink option is available on regular tablet screens that is).
Serious eBook readers should probably seek to take special care of their current device, or buy a backup device, because there will likely be a significant gap in time where they'll miss their old device. The reality is that the market for such a device isn't large enough, or future-proof enough for companies to continue to support its development. So eBook fans, start planning now...sorry!