Color e-book reader market set to boom

The e-paper market is worth $431 million in revenues this year but by 2018 it will turn over $9.6 billion, according to a report from Displaysearch. And color e-readers will begin to proliferate in 2011.

“E-paper displays are taking off… due to their low power consumption and ease of reading, especially in sunlight,” said Jennifer Colegrove, director of display technologies at Displaysearch. “E-paper displays are ‘green’ because they reduce paper consumption and electronic shelf labels can save time and labor costs by enabling dynamic pricing in stores.”

Right now, she said, displays account for the majority of revenues with practically all devices in the market using E Ink’s electrophoretic display technology. Some use cholesteric LCD technology but other electrophoretic display supplies like Bridgestone and SiPix will also bring displays to the market.

This year there are around 20 e-book models, up from one model in 2003. Last year there were around one million units shipped in 2008, but Displaysearch forecasts that will soar to 77 million units in 2018. Color e-books are not expected to reach high volumes before 2011.

MEMS (micro electronic mechanical system) displays will migrate to color and medium size e-book displays in the next few years.

Displaysearch said that electrochemic displays are targeting the market for low cost, high volume smart label and card display apps. By 2013 this will be the leading technology in terms of unit volume.