Figures from International Data Corporation (IDC) suggest ereader sales are about to escalate.
IDC says more than 1.9 million of the devices were shipped in 2010 - mostly in Western Europe. By 2015, however, it predicts sales for EMEA will reach a staggering 9.6 million units.
Technology developments such as the improvements in e-ink and longer lasting batteries have made ereaders more appealing and efficient in recent years.
Amazon’s Kindle device seems to be playing a significant role in the market too. It has seen strong sales in the US over the past few years, helping drive the ereader sector there. And last year the retailer started selling Kindles in Europe directly from local websites, enabling the firm to take serious marketshare from Sony and further popularising ereaders.
IDC points out that education may drive growth even further.
“The EMEA market for ereaders is still at an early stage,” said Mario Lombardo, senior analyst at IDC EMEA. “Recent developments in the education sector, combined with the inevitable price decrease, are likely to convert these reading devices from trendy gadgets into very accessible commodity goods in the coming years.
“In this industry scenario the only real revenue will come from digital content rather than the actual reading device sales. Leading vendors are clearly anticipating this trend and are increasingly positioning themselves as ebook providers rather than mere hardware vendors.”