Nearly overnight the iPad has garnered significant e-reader market share, reshaping the normal use case for the product category and putting the Kindle on the defensive.
In short, with iBooks Apple has scored a direct hit with consumers who perhaps did not own a Kindle, but have purchased an iPad. In the same study, the Kindle was found to control some 62% of the market, a very healthy margin. Amazon’s Kindle has long been the market leader.
While the iPad is still playing a a distant second (or perhaps third) fiddle to the Kindle, iPad readers are changing the way e-readers are used. Some 50% of iPad owners report reading newspapers on their devices, a shift from the 14% of other e-readers owners who do the same.
Result? A seven percent total rise in the reading of electronic newspapers among e-reader owners since the release of the iPad. The plethora of newspaper applications that have been prepared for iPad explain the disparity in readership, highlighting the a fact that people will still read newspapers if they are provided in a simple, easy to digest format.
Amazon will not allow the iPad to overtake its Kindle without a fight, and to perhaps begin a counter push will soon enter the publishing business. This will provide at least a modicum of content advantage to the company.
While that might help, Amazon needs to reacapture its status as niche innovator. The Kindle was a revolution for e-reading in general, and iPad looks to take the whole segment color. Amazon needs to build a dead simple, cheap (no more than $300), color enabled reader to combat the lovely iPad.