Here’s a good reason for Apple to concentrate on its iBookstore (and make it Mac compatible): by 2017 the world e-readers market is expected to achieve unit shipments of nearly 54 million a year, according to a new research report available from the Companies and Markets research group (

Despite difficult trading conditions during the recession, the e-reader market endured and is one of the most popular technological innovations in recent years. The first e-readers were available in the early part of the last decade, but consumer interest didn’t pique until Amazon’s 2007 Kindle launch, which allowed users to download books wirelessly, without having to connect to a computer. Market expansion has been rapid, with many companies vying for a slice of Amazon’s success — such as Apple.

The e-reader market is still in its infancy, holding a tiny share of the book publishing market. Over time e-readers are expected to become a mainstream segment within the industry, says Companies and Markets. The e-readers market isn’t restricted to books; newspaper and magazine publishers are also featuring publications to ensure they remain competitive in a world where consumers are increasingly seeking convenience and mobility.

E-reader connectivity features, e.g., WiFi and 3G, are becoming standard, while increasing competition within the industry is encouraging new reading content and functionality. The recession has also forced prices down, encouraging buyers.

— Dennis Sellers