Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Great Holiday Expectations for E-Readers (NYT)

By JULIE BOSMAN

This could be the holiday season that American shoppers and e-readers are properly introduced.

E-readers will be widely available at stores like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, and offered at prices that make sense for Christmas gifts — less than $150.

Publishers and booksellers are expecting that instead of giving your mother a new Nicholas Sparks novel or your father a David Baldacci thriller in the hardcovers that traditionally fly off the shelves and into wrapping paper at this time of year, you might elect to convert them to e-reading.

“This is the tipping-point season for e-readers, there’s no question,” said Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, a book market research company. “A lot more books are going to be sold in e-book format. It also means that a lot fewer people are going to be shopping in bookstores.”

Only a small slice of the book-buying public has bought an e-reader. About nine million devices are in circulation in the United States, according to Forrester Research.

That could jump in the coming weeks as consumers begin their holiday shopping, analysts predict. According to Forrester, at least 10.3 million e-readers could be in circulation by the end of the year.

And many of them will be bought for other people. Research from Simba Information, which provides data and advice to publishers, has shown that 1 in 5 of those who own a Kindle, Amazon’s dedicated e-reader, received it as a gift.


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