Friday, February 22, 2008

When a genius is an idiot

As reported in the New York Times, Apple guru Steve Jobs, asked about the Amazon Kindle at Macworld Expo, replied:
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.
Now, this is just silly, but at least it explains why it's so difficult to put books into my iPod. But another article in the Times reports:

Last year, a survey for the Associated Press found that a much smaller number — 27 percent — had not read a book lately, which means nearly three-in-four have read a book. Steve Jobs may be many things – maestro, visionary, demi-god – but he apparently isn’t a careful reader of certain market reports.

The more compelling statistic was rarely mentioned in news accounts of the A.P. story: the survey found that another 27 percent of Americans had read 15 or more books a year. That report documents a national celebration.

Most companies would kill for a market like that – more than one-fourth of the world’s biggest consumer market buying 15 or more of its items a year. And half the population bought nearly 6 books a year. If only Apple were so lucky.
Our library staff certainly knows people are still reading. We checked out:
  • 647,000 books in 2005
  • 705,000 books in 2006
  • 750,000 books in 2007
"...people don’t read anymore"? Hardly! Thanks to Tasha Saecker for pointing out these stories!

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