The eBook Universe 2014
Earlier this year Mike Cane posted a redacted version of an old flow chart from 2009. The chart dates from 2009 and lays out the major players of the ebook market at that time.
As 2014 draws to a close, I thought it would be useful to repost the flowchart and reflect on just how many key players are gone.
To start, here’s the original:
And here’s my chart. It’s not quite the same as the one Mike posted in April; he crossed off Irex and PlasticLogic but I left those logos unredacted because the companies aren’t actually dead yet.
Update: A reader has told me that Irex kicked the bucket for the second time, so I’m calling it dead. Thanks, Zetmolm!
I also left Asus unredacted because this company still makes smartphones and tablets, and thus it deserves to be on there almost as much as the iPhone.
Of all the names to survive the purge, Scribd is the one which surprises me the most. They weren’t a major player then and they’re not now, but they have moved up the list from "nobody" to somebody.
Shortcovers (you now know them as Kobo) is the other huge surprise. Seriously, who would have predicted that a shoestring operation launched by a Canadian bookstore chain would grow into a global competitor? And more importantly, win in a market where Sony _lost_?
This flowchart reminds me why I don’t like to make long term projections. I mean, had you asked me in 2009 to pick either Cool-ER or Shortcovers, I would have picked the former – only to see it quietly go bankrupt in the middle of 2010 when it ran out of money.
Would anyone care to guess which names will still be on this chart 5 years from now?