“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, really. Yes, I read that report, too. And from a business perspective, I can see why he'd decline to develop Sony Reader or Kindle-like applications for the iPhone or iPod.
But "people don't read anymore"? Bullshit. Yes, they do. Bookstores did okay this past holiday season. Holiday post-mortems from all over the retail world showed that buyers were watching their wallets this year. It's not a big surprise, really. However, a slump in the economy shouldn't have people - especially smart people like Mr. Jobs - ringing the deathknell for reading in America.
Mr. Jobs earned a healthy dose of my respect last year when he published an open letter to the record companies, asking them to get rid of DRM encoding.
Some of the cool points he'd earned for that have been taken away by this recent statement. Am I saying he should get out there and dedicate himself to getting people to read more? No, that's not where his business' interests lead him. (Although, if he's so inclined, and got involved in sponsoring some literacy programs, he could earn some cool points back. They can be exchanged for beer or coffee if I ever meet him. Who doesn't like one or the other of those?)
Considering that I'm not a big fan of the Kindle or the Sony Reader - give me good, old-fashioned paper and ink books any day - it doesn't really matter to me that he's not pursuing the development of an Apple reader (let me guess, iRead?). Still, such a pessimistic statement sets my teeth on edge.