After a long development and commercialization period, low-power “electronic ink” displays are finally out of the labs and hitting the market in a big way, thanks mainly to Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader.

The Kindle caught on with early adopters the way Apple’s iPod did. What remains to be seen is whether other contenders—some with possibly better technology—will displace the Kindle and/or expand the market beyond tech-savvy road warriors.

According to the new NextGen Research study “e-Book Readers and Electronic Paper: Digital Content and Display Technologies Kindle New Markets,” the global market for e-paper displays will grow at the extremely healthy CAGR of 124 percent from 2008 through 2013, and will exceed $2.5 billion by the end of that period.

The U.S. will constitute fully 80 percent of this market at the outset, but increasing use of e-paper in other parts of the world will reduce the US share of the market to about 55 percent by the end of the forecast period.

“e-Reader makers will have to appeal to more than just early adopters and business travelers,” said study author James Belcher in a statement. “Consumers have read books printed on paper for hundreds of years, without having to endure the multiple format changes seen in recorded music. Getting the bulk of consumers to change that behavior will require an experience superior to that of the printed page.”

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