Once considered niche products and dismissed as a passing fad, tablet devices lead by the omnipresent iPad and dedicated e-book readers such as Amazon’s widely popular Kindle are affecting traditional book publishing, says a survey by research firm ISH iSupply.

Book revenue for US publishers, including both e-books and paper books, will decrease at a compound annual growth rate of three percent from 2010 to 2014. This marks a shift from the previous period of 2005 to 2010, when revenue grew slightly. Total book revenues will fall to $22.7 billion in 2014, down from $25 billion in 2010.

The decline in paper book printing, distribution and sales will be “frightening” for print die-hards, says iSuppli analyst Steve Mather. He compared this disruption to a similar turmoil the music and movie businesses had gone through amid the rise of digital content stores such as iTunes and Amazon. At the epicenter of this change is, once again, Apple…

 

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Of course, Amazon’s Kindle, by far the best-selling dedicated e-reader, had kickstarted the trend and legitimized e-books. But it was until the iPad arrived that broader changes in the complete publishing ecosystem ensued. iSuppli’s analysis bodes well for Apple’s gizmo which snagged an estimated three quarters of the tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2010, or 75 percent, according to a Strategy Analytics survey published yesterday. Even though the figure differs from the north of 90 percent market share for the whole of 2011 that Steve Jobs used at the iPad 2 introduction in February, Apple is still global leader in tablet computing.

Global tablet shipments – meaning shipments into the sales channels that don’t necessarily reach end users – grew 120 percent sequentially to reach 9.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010. The research firm attributed the iPad’s market share drop from the 95 percent peak in the third quarter of 2010 to the “rising competition from Android”. Rival tablet makers are, however, facing struggles to ship tablets in volume and have lowered May shipments amid component shortages caused by the Japan crisis and as Apple gulped virtually all supplies.

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