Steve Jobs: "People Don’t Read"

by John McGrath on January 16, 2008

Apple’s Steve Jobs, talking to The New York Times about Amazon’s Kindle:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Which means sixty percent of people in the U.S.–180 million people–are, to some degree, readers. More if you count newspapers, magazines, and the web.

It strikes me as odd that Jobs, the head of a company that is doing very well with a less than 9 percent market share*, doesn’t appreciate that.

* UPDATE: Notice how I conflate the size of a market with market share? I think that’s called lying with statistics. Still, I think the larger point stands.

Paper Bird January 16, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I don’t think the problem is one of people not being “readers,” I just think that Amazon has got it all wrong. For one thing, just the name kind of turned me off- there’s nothing better than a tangible, paper thing in your hand, an entire volume devoted to itself. The Fahrenheit 451 idea of burning all of the books makes me sick, whether we have them stored in some electronic device or not. Even as someone who blogs, uses Seesmic and Twitter, even as a Mac owner, I still want to read my books on paper.

So, the point is, I read and the product doesn’t appeal to me. Steven Jobs got it wrong this time, but Amazon got it worse.

Robert Seddon January 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I would comment, but I didn’t read the linked article.

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