Report Shows iPad Gaining On Kindle In E-Reader Category

I’m not really sure this research is as revealing as it seems to be. Take a look at the above diagram. The take-away is that since the introduction of the iPad, the Kindle’s share of the e-reader market has dropped from 68% to 40%. This suggests that sales of the Kindle are dropping, or that Amazon is losing ground to Apple. But the simple nature of the study by ChangeWave suggests a different conclusion.

Think about it. The iPad comes out, and millions have sold. Percentage is zero-sum; a new competitor on the market will almost always decrease the points owned by the market leader, but that doesn’t mean that people are buying it instead of the market leader. The Kindle is selling like crazy, and so is the iPad; it’s become, as Ars Technica puts it, a two-horse race for now.

As we so often have to point out, the differences between the Kindle and the iPad are enormous. Comparing the two is a foolish game, as they exist in and appeal to different markets. Very few people said to themselves “the Kindle is a nice device, but I think I’ll spend the extra $400 and get an iPad.” They don’t compete the way the Kindle and the Nook or Kobo compete. And within the Kindle’s real realm of competition, they reign supreme.

The iPad has simply added to the total number of people who identify as owning an e-reader, and because of its immense success (which I am in no way trying to deny), it has skewed the numbers.