Over the course of 2015 there has been a number of notable new e-readers that have hit the market. Barnes and Noble released their first new model in almost three years with the Nook Glowlight Plus, while Kobo released two different units. All eyes are on Amazon right now for their Kindle Voyage 2, Kindle Paperwhite 4 and entry level Kindle Basic, which should be announced in the next few weeks. With so many models to choose from, what features is the average customer looking for? We seek to address this question with new research report, from Good e-Reader.
Two weeks ago we asked the question What do you look for in an e-reader. 1724 people took part in the survey and they weighed in on everything from the size of the screen, to brand name recognition.
The number one feature that is most important to people looking to buy a new e-reader is resolution. In the last two years with the advent of e-Ink Carta e-readers have dramatically increased in clarity and 300 PPI is the norm. This results in crisper text and being able to accurately read a wider variety of digital content, such as manga, newspapers and PDF files. 314 people, which amounted to 18%, said this was most important.
252 people or 14.62% of the vote said that an e-reader that supported multiple e-book formats was most important to them. This is not surprising because there are a number of formats out there, each with their own virtues. Amazon has their own proprietary e-book format, which makes their entire line of e-readers not very viable if you want to borrow e-book from the library or shop around online for deals. Most other devices on the market support EPUB, which is compatible with most e-readers.
242 people, which represented 14% of the overall vote said that screen size was one of the most important feature they looked for in a new e-reader. Almost all of the e-readers currently available in the North American market are six inches in size, which is fairly pocket friendly and cheap to manufacture. Meanwhile, in Europe there are a number of companies making larger screen e-readers, such as the Icarus XL and Onyx Boox i86, but they suffer from viability issues and brand awareness.
Other notable features that people look for, is PDF compatibility and a good rendering engine (12.65%) and an SD Card, to enhance internal storage (11.48%). The average user also thinks running Android is important, so they can install their own e-reading apps and not be locked into any one specific ecosystem (7.37%)
What surprised me about this data is that some of the features that I thought were important to the current generation of e-readers did not resonate well with our audience. Only 5.74% said audio was important, while 2.67% said Bluetooth was critical for their buying decisions. Finally, 4.81% mentioned that brand name recognition was most important, a Kindle for Kindles sake.
This is great data, and should be seriously considered by any company looking to enter the e-reader space or are in the process of designing one.
Listen to the audio version of this report, with expanded commentary.
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.