In this prior post I described how Substitution is a competitive force that applies to reading.
The discussion continues below.
Five Forces: Rivalry
One of the five competitive forces, and arguably the simplest, is direct rivalry. Some customers are not buying Samsung android smartphones simply because they purchased HTC android phones. Or LG android phones. Or Motorola android phones. Competitive rivalry refers to companies that sell almost identical products which take away business by out-competing on another dimension: slightly better camera, slightly more attentive service, slightly cheaper price. Alternatively, they may also compete on the dimension of volume and distribution by purchasing shelf space in large stores or by going online.
In reading, one reason why you do not finish that great novel sitting on the coffee table is simply this: your have been reading another great novel. The other novel may have offered more action and shorter chapters, or maybe you started reading it first because it was more readily available at the local bookstore or online.
Five Forces: New Entrant
The threat of new entrants discusses a separate dimension in which profitable industries attract newcomers. To defend its growth, the incumbent must either establish a first-mover advantage or risk losing profitability due to competition. After Apple took the smartphone market from niche to mainstream with the introduction of its iPhone, it has taken dramatic steps to protect the profitability of the nascent industry. In the context of smartphones, critics often refer to Samsung as the new entrant in the patent war, and Apple Inc. the incombent who is desperately defending but definitively losing the market it developed.
The threat of new entrants discusses a separate dimension in reading as well. Many people read books because they have stretch of time during the day that are less active than others. “Free time” is fertile ground for spur-of-the-moment propositions such as mowing the lawn, going out with friends, as well as thoughts such as checking email and follow blogs. These activities do not necessarily fill the same purpose as reading a book; they take away from your reading simply because that block of time is considered “free” and is thereby vulnerable to interruptions.
The new entrant force of competition is particularly important if you read on a tablet device. One New York Times article cites distractibility as the most important reason why reading on a tablet inferior to reading on paper and eInk – ironically the same reason why the tablet device has become so popular.