Every year Amazon and Kobo release new flagship e-readers and they all enjoy heavy promotion online. Every major online news agency reviews and recommends their preferred pick and it’s easy to get lost in the hype. There is not very much raw data available when it comes to people upgrading their existing e-reader to a new model. A few weeks ago we conducted some research and 300 people disclosed how often they upgrade their e-reader.
30% of respondents said that they only upgrade their e-reader if a model comes out with a bigger e-paper display. Amazon tends to only release six inch readers and Kobo is the only other major company to buck the trend and offer a 6.8 inch screen. Sometime in August Kobo will be releasing the Aura One, which features a 7.8 inch display. In Europe, things are a little more competitive. Onyx and Icarus both offer 9.8 inch readers. Good e-Reader, Onyx and Sony have 13.3 inch e-readers on the market, which does appeal to this demographic that want a larger screen to read e-books on.
24% of the vote said that they only upgrade their e-readers every four years. This is about the average length of time that new e-paper tends to have wide spread use. Innovation in the e-reader arena is notoriously slow and most users don’t have a compelling enough reason to upgrade to a new model every year.
12% upgrade every three years, 11% every two and surprisingly only a paltry 4% buy a new model every year.
Whenever I see e-readers being used in the wild they tend to be older models. The most popular seem to be old Sony’s and Amazon users tend to read on the Kindle Keyboard and entry level Kindles without a touchscreen.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.