E-reader sales plunge as tablets take over

NEW YORK — Sales of dedicated e-reading devices like the black-and-white Kindles are in an “alarmingly precipitous decline” this year after five years of rapid growth, research firm IHS iSuppli says.

Full-blown tablets with color screens are behind the decline, the firm says. Amazon.com Inc. now sells tablets under the Kindle brand, and Barnes &Noble Inc. has added tablets to its Nook e-reader line.

IHS expects shipments of e-readers to fall from 23.2 million last year to 14.1 million this year.

The rapid rise and now rapid decline of e-readers is unusual even for the volatile consumer electronics industry, says IHS analyst Jordan Selburn, but it’s indicative of the broader trend of single-purpose devices like e-readers and cameras losing out to general-purpose ones like tablets and smartphones.

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