- A future Kindle might open and close like a book, according to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
- Samsung popularized the folding screen with the Galaxy Fold, but the tech is still in its early days.
- The global e-reader market is expected to shrink by $300 million over the next four years.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The pros and cons of Kindles are discussed at great lengths among bibliophiles. The conveniences of a light device and a vast digital library are great, but many readers prefer the physical feeling of reading an open book and turning its pages.
Amazon could meet readers somewhere in the middle with a future product.
The tech giant is exploring a Kindle with a folding screen that opens and closes like a real book, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in his new newsletter, Power On. Gurman described the exploration as at the internal discussion stage, meaning Amazon could choose not to proceed with it.
Samsung was the first major smartphone maker to introduce a folding screen with the Galaxy Fold, but not without design hiccups. The $2,000 phone broke for some reviewers just days after use, causing Samsung to push back the release date.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 launched last August, fixing the original’s biggest problems and introducing a larger screen and more durable structure.
Amazon released the first Kindle over a decade ago. The $399 device was thick and heavy with a physical keyboard – and sold out in under six hours. By 2010, e-readers were expected to kill off the sale of physical books, a shift quickly compared to the growing music streaming industry.
Today, print books are more popular than e-books, according to Statista, a recovery that many owe to the physicality of hardcovers that Kindles have yet to effectively replicate. By 2025, the global e-reader market is expected to shrink by $300 million.
A quick scroll through #booktok, a corner of TikTok where teen creators have pushed novels to the bestseller list, shows that print is far from dead – especially with younger readers.
“I’m a sucker for paperbacks,” Erika Semprem, a 23-year-old book influencer known as @theazereads told Insider. “But I do love that Kindles are more convenient. Instead of driving 25 minutes to the bookstore, I can purchase whatever book I’m in the mood for right away.”
Ten generations of Kindles later, Amazon says the latest Kindle Oasis “reads like real paper” with e-ink technology and fast page turns. As of 2019, over 90 million Americans own an e-reader, with the Kindle listed as the most widely-owned device.
If internal talks to make a foldable Kindle solidify, this could be the e-reader book lovers have been waiting for.