A new survey predicts demand for the iPad as an e-book reader will outpace Amazon's category-leading Kindle over the next year. The study by comparison-shopping site PriceGrabber found that 20% of U.S. online consumers plan to buy the forthcoming Apple tablet in the next 12 months compared to 12% that plan to get the Kindle. Another 6% want to buy the Sony Reader, and 5%, Barnes & Noble's Nook.
An obvious advantage of the iPad borne out by the survey results is that it's more than a single-use device like the Kindle. Only 13% of 1,631 people interviewed by PriceGrabber in February said they would use the iPad primarily as an e-reader. Twenty percent would use it mainly as another "mobile productivity device," 19% as a replacement for a laptop or a netbook, and 10% as an entertainment device.
That such a small proportion see it as an entertainment device is surprising, given that much of the iPad's promise has been linked to its media-related capabilities. The finding of the PriceGrabber survey, however, also jibes with another recent consumer study by SyBase indicating that the biggest appeal of the iPad is work-related. It's also possible that people don't want to admit they would mainly use the device to play "Doodle Jump" or watch "The Hangover."
Focusing on the e-reader market, the PriceGrabber study found that four of five consumers want to pay less than $250 for such a device. Since that would rule out the iPad, which sells for $500 at the lowest price, either people aren't aware of what the Apple tablet costs or they are willing to pay more for its versatility. The average price of the top 10 eReaders on PriceGrabber.com is $241.
The iPad is expected to launch with most of the titles found on the Kindle and the Nook after striking deals with the major book publishers. Apple has agreed to sell most newly released fiction and non-fiction books for $12.99 to $14.99, a higher range than the $9.99 Amazon typically charges for Kindle e-books. But recent reports indicate that at least some digital bestsellers will be priced at $9.99 for the iPad.