by K.T. Bradford on December 21, 2009
Imagine curling up with a good paperback when an e-mail notification pops up on the page. Or a Facebook update appears in the margin. Many are writing off standalone eReaders as smart phone apps proliferate, along with such programs as Kindle for PC. But there’s something to be said for a dedicated device that lets you focus on that great story instead of the outside world. Plus, the E-Ink screens on these readers better emulate actual paper, and are easier on the eyes than displays found in laptops, smart phones, and tablets.
So how big will this market get? In-Stat estimates that standalone eReader shipments will rise from 2.4 million in 2009 to 28.6 million in the next four years. Though the eReader category has been dominated by Amazon and Sony, the middle of 2009 was a tipping point. No less than seven new or updated devices hit the scene, including an anticipated entry from the country’s biggest brick-and-mortar bookseller: Barnes & Noble.
Whenever you have this many products vying for attention, consumers are bound to feel a bit overwhelmed. Content sources, features, formats, and screen sizes vary from model to model. Here’s what you’ll need to know to find the right eReader for your needs.