People Don’t Read Anymore

KindleIt is only a very short time ago that Apple’s ‘wonder god’ CEO Steve Jobs stated that the Kindle would fail. He was quoted as saying in January 2008 that ‘people don’t read anymore‘. Well, it would seem that even ‘wonder gods’ can get it wrong.

Perhaps now after three years he is rethinking the Kindle success. Strangely though, with all the hype about Apple’s successful iPad, the iBooks e-reader component appears to be a flop. The iBookstore is still only offering ‘free’ books outside the US, and sales of ebooks via the Apple bookstore are far from impressive. Added to that is the screen glare of the iPad that in my opinion makes it tiring on the eyes when reading for extended periods.

But going back to his idea that people read less nowadays, it probably should have been interpreted as referring to traditional books. That may have been or could be true, but since the advent of the Internet, people have been reading more and more. Just in a different way. Online reading has become very popular whether it be blogs, dedicated reading websites, newspapers or online book stores, people are reading. As much as video, image and audio are parts of the Internet product, text and therefore reading still dominates.

The only change has been that reading has moved from paper to a screen. Just as we moved from stone tablets to papyrus. So are you part of the Kindle success, or still a devotee of paper?



12 thoughts on “People Don’t Read Anymore”

  1. With my bad eyesight Derek, even despite my glasses, I find it much easier to read using my Kindle app on my laptop over the increasingly minuscule printed words in the average ‘real’ book these days. At least technology allows me to crank up the size of font used in whatever online reading platform I may use. Real books don’t do that. Which reminds me, when did you last see a book shop offer you the choice of print size?


  2. I always thought myself to be a traditionalist, saying “I just can’t make the jump to an e-reader – I will always prefer REAL books.” How stupid! Now that I have a Nook, I realize it is like everything else, a happy balance makes for a happy reader! I love my Nook, but I love a REAL book too.

    We as a society need to come off of the “if your not reading a traditional novel, then you’re not reading.” I agree with you people are reading more, just in a different way. I tell my students all the time, as long as you’re reading SOMETHING, then that is reading – no matter if it is a magazine, internet site, Facebook post, etc. But there is a danger in that as well because the pendulum can swing too far in the opposite direction because it is important for readers to have a balance in WHAT they are reading too…we must still foster an appreciation for a classic novel.

  3. I read more than ever thanks to blogging which is very addictive although I do try and step away from the computer to enjoy real life as much as possible. Then I can be found reading either with my brilliant Ereader, as this is the way authors ask you to review mainly these days or a big fat paperback from my TBR shelves. I must do some gardening but it is too hot, what a lovely life.

  4. nancyelizabethlauzon


    I never thought I’d go to the dark side, but I love my new Nook. It’s just so easy to buy and download a book, almost instantaneous. Trudging to the bookstore doesn’t cut it anymore.

    Chick Dick Mysteries

  5. Growing up Amish i.e. no TV was not the reason I have read all the classics. I love reading but no TV helped. I am still an old fashioned page turner but understand the e-book in this digital day and age.
    I do not think the ebook will completely replace hardcovers, paperbacks but will be an alternative.

  6. I have a kindle and love reading on it and reading ‘real’ books – as long as the story is engrossing I don’t really care what form I read it on. I will say that I don’t read books as much as I used to though as a large part of my time is now spent reading blogs online. I guess you’re right to say that this proves we are reading more than ever, but we do have to question if the internet is as valuable reading as books. Of course I believe that both are valid but we have to remember that what we read online is completely different to what we read on our kindles and in books.

    1. All reading broadens the mind Tamara. But blogs are good for making informed decisions about the information placed in front of you. This I think is a good thing. Much better than when I was young as all we had was opinion from the oligarchy who owned the media.

      The Internet has been as much of a revolution, if not more, that the invention of the printing press. Back then it took the power away from the church and government. Today the Internet has taken the power away from multi-national media and governments again also.

      But unfortunately, the Internet is also a tracking device, so we win in one way, but so do the bad guys. :)

      1. I totally agree that all reading broadens the mind, as I said, all reading is valid. My point was that surely it is better to read online and offline, factual and fiction pieces rather than only one type. After all, if we never read fiction how can we improve our imagination? And likewise, if we only read fiction then our understanding of reality would be very warped!

  7. I love reading but can understand ‘blog addiction’, and how this can take over. I find it takes ages to ‘sink my teeth’ into a novel, (Faulkner’s Sound & Fury, several centuries, bless ‘im), but once my incisors have penetrated through the jelly like amniotic sac and located the growing foetus, thre’s no turning back! I’m hooked!

  8. Dianna Zaragoza

    People still read…there’s just more venues for reading. Print is very much alive. The Kindle may actually keep certain writing forms such as the novel alive longer, since reading them electronically is so much more convenient than carrying a heavy book around.

    It may also provide more of a forum for niche publishers and create more readers for short stories to fill the smaller moments we have available for reading. For now, the technology’s still too new to tell for sure, but I see this as a positive trend.

  9. Hi Saul,
    I live reading on my iPad.
    I also have have the kindle app for iPad that allows you access the far superior amazon/kindle bookstore ifnthe book is not available of iBookstore.
    I have purchased a dozen or so books.
    I read the newspaper on the pad.
    My wife hates technology, she holds the physical paper.
    I prefer the virtual approach.

    I gave my father an iPad for his birthday. Dropped a few books on it,
    Connected him to newspaper sites and subscriptions.. He hasn’t put it down. He’s 76.
    He spends 5hrs a day plus reading on it.
    The flexibility of font, brightness etc results in a superior reading experience.
    Traditional books are like vinyl lps. For purists collectors and the outback.
    For those with access to power and the Internet, ebooks or news services are the future.
    I think you need to be careful how you interpret jobs’ comment.
    He is no fool when it comes to trends.
    The iPad iPhone are testimony to that.

    Entered via the “best” reading client flipboard.
    If you have an iPad try it!

  10. I know that with my Kindle I can cut my reading obsession costs to a fraction of what it used to be. I live within a short walk of Borders (sad), Barnes & Noble and a couple of used book outlets. I was spending over a hundred bucks a month on books and getting about seven titles if I was lucky and shopped the bargain bins. With my Kindle I can get enough books to get me through the month (I usually consume 10-15 books a month) for under fifty bucks.

    I also have two books I authored in amazon’s eBook Kindle store and I personally think the eBook reader is the wave of the future, what the CD was to the vinyl record industry 25 years ago.

    People don’t read anymore? I guess I’m not one of those.

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