Are standalone eBook readers doomed?

New research suggests that devices like the iPad, which let you read books and much more, are likely to dominate the market so fully that standalone eBook readers have little hope of hanging on to much market share, Yahoo! reports. eReaders are being assaulted on all sides by all manner of gadgetry: tablets, smart phones, and laptops large and small. As screens get bigger and crisper on all of the devices, the need for standalone reading devices inevitably will shrink, according to market research firm Informa Telecoms & Media—especially as online book purchasing markets develop and streamline into something easier to manage. After all, who wants to carry two devices when they can tote just one? Informa posits that 2014 will mark the high point of sales for standalone eReaders, peaking around 14 million devices. After that, “multipurpose devices” will pick up the slack, Informa predicts, though its analysts figure a niche will linger for low-cost readers that have no networking features and that consumers can treat less carefully than more expensive devices. Imagine, for example, gifts for children or devices to take on vacation: As with netbooks before them, they’d be no great loss if damaged or misplaced…

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