Who Killed the Ebook Reader?

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 14 2012 8:44 AM

Who Killed the Ebook Reader?

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Neat chart from Jay Yarow and iSupply. The official interpretation of this is that cheap full-color tablets are killing off the market for e-book readers. But I wonder if it isn't just a case of market saturation. Do people with a 2009 or 2010 ebook reader need to upgrade to a newer model? After all, it's not as if paper book technology was on a rapid upgrade cycle. 

Obviously, the tablet competition factor isn't nothing here. But a lot of electronics makers are getting spoiled, I think, by the extremely rapid upgrade cycle of smartphone users.

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I love my toaster oven, but I've had it for five years and it still works great and I have no intention of getting a new one at any point in the foreseeable future. That doesn't mean the toaster industry is in trouble or people hate toasters it just means that people don't feel the need to be constantly upgrading their toasters and do a good job of not dropping them.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.