Is the iPhone dead? (No, and neither is reading)

February 21, 2008 at 7:42 am 3 comments

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is. The fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.” -Steve Jobs on the Amazon Kindle

In his NYTimes ‘Outposts’ blog, Timothy Egan takes aim at Jobs’ assessment, suggesting that any reports on the death of reading are greatly exaggerated.

Egan writes,

Reading is … an engagement of the imagination with life experience. It’s fad-resistant, precisely because human beings are hard-wired for story, and intrinsically curious. Reading is not about product…

This year, about 400 million books will be sold in the United States…[H]alf the population bought nearly 6 books a year. If only Apple were so lucky. The latest Harry Potter book sold 9 million copies in its first 24 hours – in English… Apple reported selling a piddling 3.7 million of the much-hyped iPhones through 2007. Is the iPhone dead? Of course not. But what should be dead are foolish statements about how human nature itself has changed because of some new diversion for our thumbs.

Egan’s post is spot on and a fun read. Go check it out at:


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  • 1. booklady  |  February 21, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. The article made my day. I’m going to share it with many others.

  • 2. Tyler Rousseau  |  February 23, 2008 at 11:12 am

    In some ways, we might be able to argue that reading is as-alive or moreso that it ever was… it has just changed format and content.

    Newspapers sales have gone down but that doesn’t mean less people are reading the news. As studies show, more people are going online for it; it’s lighter, less cumbersome and doesn’t get the hands dirty with that veggie-ink.

    I am willing to bet that newspapers are the only format to lose to the online world.

  • 3. Amy Kearns  |  February 24, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Wow interesting timing – I happened to post on “reading not being dead” last week over on the cjrlc blog

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