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MacRumors
Jan 16, 2008, 11:35 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

In a New York Times interview (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/15/the-passion-of-steve-jobs/index.html ) with John Markoff, Steve Jobs reveals some details about the MacBook Air, and his thoughts on Google's Android and Amazon's Kindle.

First, Jobs revealed that Apple had gone through about 100 design prototypes to find the "right" form for the MacBook Air. He and Jonathan Ive "were not certain that they would be able to fit the computer into the package that they came up with."

On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs sees the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more, suggesting a dedicated Apple book-reader is unlikely in the near future:
"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."

Finally, on upcoming competition from Google's Android mobile phone platform, Jobs seems doubtful, stating that creating a phone is a lot harder than it looks. Ironically, this mirrors comments (http://www.macrumors.com/2006/11/22/palm-ceo-on-apple-iphone-threat/) made by Palm's CEO about the potential threat of an Apple iPhone before it was announced.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2008/01/16/steve-jobs-on-macbook-air-android-and-kindle/)



JayLenochiniMac
Jan 16, 2008, 11:37 AM
Funny, my wife reads plenty.

RealMcCoy
Jan 16, 2008, 11:38 AM
I wonder what it is that people turned away from reading books !? Audiobooks, no time, ... ??? Wonders ...

Eidorian
Jan 16, 2008, 11:38 AM
I'll stick with libraries for my reading. I just read two books over the weekend. :eek: I love my science fiction.

I think that newspapers need a replacement more then anything else. The students around here leave the classrooms filled with them. I like paper news as well.

i.maverick
Jan 16, 2008, 11:38 AM
i are readin ths..arnt i...
ha!

Project
Jan 16, 2008, 11:39 AM
Jobs seems doubtful, stating that creating a phone is a lot harder than it looks.

That's kind of the point. Google doesn't make the phone...

fiftydollarshoe
Jan 16, 2008, 11:39 AM
Funny, my wife reads plenty.

To ignore you ?

MacGeek7
Jan 16, 2008, 11:39 AM
it's not a bad computer but it looks better on paper, the hard drive speed (4200 rpm) is just sad for this day and age and an extra grand for the SSD drive makes it way to pricy for me.

JayLenochiniMac
Jan 16, 2008, 11:41 AM
To ignore you ?

Sure, just like I surf the net to ignore her.

Dreyfus
Jan 16, 2008, 11:42 AM
"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."

Directly leading to prominent CEO's using words such as "doggone" during keynotes :D

JayLenochiniMac
Jan 16, 2008, 11:43 AM
I'm sure if Jobs tries, he could make a paperback that automatically fills with words based on the title. Oh, make hardcovers too, my father detests paperbacks and there isn't a night where he doesn't read :D

redrabbit
Jan 16, 2008, 11:47 AM
Steve seems like quite the Debbie Downer on all these issues. From what I gathered, the Kindle is doing extremely well, and there seems to be a ton of hype for the Android platform.

slu
Jan 16, 2008, 11:48 AM
I found this to be the most interesting thing in the article:

The message now is that when it comes to television, the solution is “all about movies.” That can be seen in the movie icons that now fill the screen of the Apple TV display, allowing viewers to choose and rent titles to download.

The model will not extend to cable television, he insisted. “We’re not going to go there with the cable cards,” he said, referring to the relatively open cable industry connectors that are gradually allowing companies like TiVo to replace the standard set-top box. “That whole industry, their go-to-market strategy is pretty loopy, and it’s fractured,” he said. “Our model is like DVD.”


Can all the silliness about the AppleTV being a DVR please stop now?

Fabio_gsilva
Jan 16, 2008, 11:48 AM
I'm feeling a growing likeness towards the MBAir... For my use at work, for example, where I need only Wi-Fi Internet, and Office, it'll cover all of my needs... Bluetoth printer... Hum...

Provided that at the office I have a real complete computer, powerfull, etc... to install software etc using remote disc, back up via time capsule (wich I think it's a blast), etc...

thegreatunknown
Jan 16, 2008, 11:53 AM
it would seem he is just prepping the world for a new insurgence of (electronic) reading...

TMay
Jan 16, 2008, 11:56 AM
Steve seems like quite the Debbie Downer on all these issues. From what I gathered, the Kindle is doing extremely well, and there seems to be a ton of hype for the Android platform.

Do you have a link to support your argument on the Kindle? I haven't been able to find much regarding Kindle sales.

AdeFowler
Jan 16, 2008, 11:57 AM
People don't read anymore?! RDF.

Antares
Jan 16, 2008, 12:02 PM
Funny, my wife reads plenty.

People don't read anymore?! RDF.

There are exceptions, obviously. But the general trend, of the population as a whole, has been movement toward away from reading books....and more toward visual media. Also, the majority of people who do read books still prefer the tangibleness of physical paper to a device. There's nothing but an extremely niche market for electronic book readers. I'm personally open to the idea but I feel there's quite a way to go before such a device could be worthwhile.

Spades
Jan 16, 2008, 12:02 PM
On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs seems the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more, suggesting a dedicated Apple book-reader is unlikely in the near future:

"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."

So 40% of people read one book or less per year. That leaves:

60% of people who read more than one book a year.
A minority of whom spend absurd amounts of money on books annually.
People that read magazines.
People that read newspapers.
People that read comics.
People that read blogs.
People that use reference materials.

I agree that e-book readers (in their current incarnation) are junk, but to claim this is because nobody reads is pure RDF cranked up to 11. By the same logic there's no reason to make the iPod because 75% of people go to one or fewer symphonic performances a year.

CBJammin103
Jan 16, 2008, 12:03 PM
Whether or not people read books is nearly irrelevant, I think, to the success of Amazon's device. I, for one, do read, but would most definitely never waste even $15 on Amazon's silly little reading hardware. I can't imagine how it's doing well if it actually is.

With the Android system, I see potential, but I don't see how it's going to change anything drastic or produce any sort of revolution at all in the mobile phone industry. All the same problems will still exist; the only benefit I can conceive of is the ability of developers to develop apps that they know will be supported on a number of devices instead of just certain models.

MrCrowbar
Jan 16, 2008, 12:04 PM
Imagine the iPod touch. Now make it bigger to match the standard paperback book size. Replace the screen by an e-ink screen and have a switch to enable the backlight. The cool thing about e-ink is that is only needs power when changing the display's content. You need a few minutes to read a book page so the battery could last for days when reading. You don't need much memory since text barely takes up anything. 1GB is plenty considering you can fit tons of PDFs and a complete book library on it. Add a "previous" and "next" button next to the home button so the user does not have to smudge the screen ever time he turns a page. Sell books on iTunes. If that thing also played audio books (come on, everything plays mp3s these days), I think it would make lots of people enjoy books again.

MacTO
Jan 16, 2008, 12:05 PM
Some people definitely still prefer reading books and newspapers in their hands to on their computer screens. And I am one of them. I read all the time but especially, newspapers. I really enjoy the morning strolls on my way to pick up a weekend copy. That's why I do not subscribe. But that's just me. Although I sit in front of computer most of the day and surf the Internet for almost everything, including catching up with what's going on in the world like on CNN, New York Times, BBC, and etc., as far as books and newspapers go, I still would like to read them in my hands. :)

Cheers. :apple:

nagromme
Jan 16, 2008, 12:06 PM
What are all the lines of squiggly things on my computer screen? :confused:

(Not a very well thought-out Kindle comment. It has serious flaws, but the fact that many don't want one isn't a flaw. A product can meet the needs of a SMALL group can still be a great product. Thus the existence of, say, the 160 GB iPod!)

And does that 40% include babies? :)

Jaymes
Jan 16, 2008, 12:06 PM
I spend enough time looking at digital screens all day. I'll never convince myself that curling up on the couch with some electronic book displaying gadget is better than having a tangible book in my hands. There's something satisfying about physically turning a page.

Maybe I'm just old . . . :/

morespce54
Jan 16, 2008, 12:07 PM
...Finally, on upcoming competition from Google's Android mobile phone platform, Jobs seems doubtful, stating that creating a phone is a lot harder than it looks. Ironically, this mirrors comments (http://www.macrumors.com/2006/11/22/palm-ceo-on-apple-iphone-threat/) made by Palm's CEO about the potential threat of an Apple iPhone before it was announced...

LOL... Too funny :D

DudeDah
Jan 16, 2008, 12:08 PM
So THAT means that 60% of America read MORE than one book last year. Apple's market share is what, 7% or 8% (know my figure is off) and yet he invests boat loads into that small percentage of those computing. (I know that the percentage of computing AMERICANS is not specifically stated, so this is just for illustrative purposes) Seems like to book readers are an UNTAPPED MARKET!!

For the record, I read half of TWO books last year and LISTENED to ZERO. A case in which 1/2+1/2 does not equal...much.

Audio MAGAZINES I would be interested in!!

Seems like no idea is a good one unless it's Apple's. I'm not an Apple basher, I have three machines and three iPods, but sometimes they get a little egotistical.

eastcoastsurfer
Jan 16, 2008, 12:09 PM
People don't read anymore? I've been thinking for awhile Steve has lost it, but that seals it up for me. People may not read books as much as they used to, but I read more now than I ever have when you count school textbooks, various news papers (both print and online), and then general websites. I guess the next big computer tech to come from Apple will be to remove the screen since people don't look at the computer anymore (since you're mostly reading when you do).

Unspeaked
Jan 16, 2008, 12:10 PM
So 40% of people read one book or less per year. That leaves:

60% of people who read more than one book a year.
A minority of whom spend absurd amounts of money on books annually.
People that read magazines.
People that read newspapers.
People that read comics.
People that read blogs.
People that use reference materials.

I agree that e-book readers (in their current incarnation) are junk, but to claim this is because nobody reads is pure RDF cranked up to 11. By the same logic there's no reason to make the iPod because 75% of people go to one or fewer symphonic performances a year.

Exactly.

Why even make the Mac OS when only 5% of computer users run it?

You can be very successful catering to less than 10% of the population. In fact, up until very recently, this has been Apple's bread and butter.

Please, Steve, I love ya but don't tell me there's not enough folks to sell an eBook reader to but the market for the MacBook Air is enormous...

chrisgeleven
Jan 16, 2008, 12:14 PM
If it weren't live sports (NESN and ESPN), I would instantly buy an AppleTV and cancel Cable TV.

Unfortunately, I do not have any way to get my Red Sox and Celtics fixes without Cable (or Satellite) TV. And the minimum packages for these channels are at least $50 a month.

Philsy
Jan 16, 2008, 12:16 PM
Has anyone mentioned this to Amazon? Maybe they aren't aware that their model of selling books over the internet is fundamentally flawed. ;)

timswim78
Jan 16, 2008, 12:17 PM
Dear Steve,

Your RDF was turned off today. People ready plenty of books, magazines, etc.

Goodbye,
The Planet Earth

mrgreen4242
Jan 16, 2008, 12:17 PM
I've said this before, but I'd buy eBooks from iTMS if they were available and priced decently. All the other ebook sales I've seen are pretty much the same price, if not sometimes more expensive, than the actual book.

I'd also subscribe to 'emagazines' via iTMS given the option. There's already success in that market with Zinio and others doing it, so this seems like a pretty big no brainer.

Newspapers are, for me, pretty much dead. The fact is that I can get NEWS in a better format and package online via RSS so the concept of an editor deciding what should be on my front page seems a bit outmoded. Magazines are, I feel, a different animal as they typically aren't reporting the news but usually doing a more in-depth analysis and investigative work, if that makes sense.

I'd LOVE to see Apple revolutionize comic books with a big digital distribution platform. Coming up with a way to sell comics at a lower price and/or a higher volume would be fantastic. A special formatted iPod touch/iPhone comic file that has meta data describing each page so you can quickly tap/double tap on it to zoom to the right levels and back again and jump to the next predefined area... it would be a great way for smaller artists to get their work seen by lots of people with a very low distribution cost, which is a huge hurdle for the smaller players.

I'll agree that it's a pretty small market, and that it shouldn't be a priority for Apple like getting movies, TV shows, rentals, DRM-less music, etc should be, but they could probably put a low level exec in charge of a small team and get somewhere with it. It wasn't really a worthwhile/possible endeavor until the iPhone/touch but now it really seems like an avenue worth exploring.

chrisgeleven
Jan 16, 2008, 12:17 PM
Also I see no reason why the iPhone couldn't have ebook software on it. It would seem like a pretty natural way to read ebooks (flick of the finger turns the page).

DesignerOnMac
Jan 16, 2008, 12:18 PM
Steve is right. I do book jacket cover designs for largest book publisher in the United States. Last year they cut the number of books they produce by 300 books a month due to lack of readership!

People do read books, but the numbers are down quite a bit.

Lewiji
Jan 16, 2008, 12:18 PM
Extremely short sighted of him to say that about reading.

Perhaps 40% of America don't read any more because 40% of America is comprised of idiots? Of course, this forum contains only the other 60% ;)

It is a sad, sad world if corporations truly believe that no one is interested in literature any more. Then again, I'm biased as I'm an English Lit student :p

Kar98
Jan 16, 2008, 12:22 PM
Well, that was one of the dumber things St. Jobs said. Makes ya really wonder what he's smoking. So his new target clientèle are illiterate morons or what?

Mord
Jan 16, 2008, 12:24 PM
I read.

jaw04005
Jan 16, 2008, 12:24 PM
Steve must have read this article, as he was dead on. Although I'm sure Apple does polling on this type of stuff also:

"When the Gallup Poll asked in 2005 how many books people had at least started _ a similar but not directly comparable question _ the typical answer was five. That was down from 10 in 1999, but close to the 1990 response of six.

In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled "Reading at Risk" found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002, a four percentage point drop in a decade. The study faulted television, movies and the Internet."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101045.html

I personally think books are just different. I mean you can start a book in the morning while you're in the bathroom, throw it in your briefcase to read on your way to the airport and read it on the plane all in one day. If you lose it, it's not a big deal.

Now, you leave your $400 e-book reader some place—it becomes a big deal. They're just not as flexible.

If e-books take off, it will because they are on devices we already own and carry around (iPhone, cell phone, etc). There's just not much of a market for a standalone device, IMO.

gwangung
Jan 16, 2008, 12:25 PM
Well, that was one of the dumber things St. Jobs said.

Not really.

Folks may not like it, but there's a great deal of truth to what he said (please remember that Amazon is a retailer of books--they're sucking up market from large chains and smaller books). People in the publishing industry has voiced concerns like his for quite some time.

zedsdead
Jan 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
That's a shame...I am 22, and I read a decent amount...I would have loved for Apple to get into the business.

arkitect
Jan 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
Dear Steve,

Your RDF was turned off today. People ready plenty of books, magazines, etc.

Goodbye,
The Planet Earth

Agree…

I am very disappointed that Steve Jobs could come up with such an idiotic statement. People do not read books anymore? :confused:


Really thought Jobs was more savvy than that. :mad:

Mind you his choice of music should have been a give away a looong time ago. :D :p

angelwatt
Jan 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
"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."

Well I read every day basically, both digitally and physically (paper-based). I also read a number of journal and conference papers that are in PDF form every month for work and personal purposes.

Steve has an attitude problem here it seems, which likely means he already has a working design in his head and doesn't want anyone to catch on. I'd love a "good" device for reading material electronically, but the Kindle wasn't quite there for me; in both form and cost. I wish my iPod would sync up with Google Reader and give me a nice screen to read my feeds on, though it would take a bit bigger screen for me to enjoy book length reading.

Also, I bet if they did a survey they'd find a good portion of Mac faithfuls to be the ones who are still reading because generally Macs are owned by people with a little more money to spend because they have good jobs because they are well educated and well educated people read more ... statistically speaking of course.

guzhogi
Jan 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
For Kindle, sounds like an interesting idea. Does anybody know if it can also read aloud the books? Good for people who have a hard time reading (blind, young kids or adults just learning how to read). This would be cool on iPods & the iPhone. I know iPods have a note feature, but it would be cool if you can add books to it, too. A program I've found for cataloging books is at books.aetherial.net. The author of the program wants to add a feature where it can also download the actual texts of books and also to sync it to iPods. Looks interesting.

For Android, sounds cool, too. This would really help apps being interoperable on different kinds of phones.

For the MacBook Air, looks interesting. The whole SSD & no moving parts thing is great (especially in elementary schools where kids may drop them or whatever). However, it costs WAY too much for what it features IMO. Maybe make it an 11-12" screen priced at $799-$999. Even better is if it were like a Nintendo DS where it has 2 screens. One vertical for just looking and the horizontal one for typing (w/ some sort of tactile feedback). Also do full multitouch w/ scrolling, pinching, rotating on both. It would also help if it can swivel into a tablet computer for times when having it open like a regular laptop is too hard to handle.

ViveLeLivre
Jan 16, 2008, 12:28 PM
If people don't read: why is Jobs doing interviews with the NY TIMES?

Kindle is flawed because it's ugly as sin and has a poor button layout, yet they're constantly sold out on Amazon (think Nintendo Wii-like availability). And Amazon is the perfect vehicle to drive eBook sales. Perhaps Jobs comments are motivated by Amazon's increasing MP3 sales. Are we a little bitter, Steve? Hmm?

Or perhaps it's just Jobs who doesn't read. He does seem to be a bit out of touch lately (see MacWorld, MBA, $4.99 movie downloads).... and he's always been overly obsessed with the movie business. Who can trust his judgement on this one?

Fast Shadow
Jan 16, 2008, 12:28 PM
I never thought much of using a computer to read books until someone gave me a book in PDF. I absolutely loved it. I was able to adjust the size of the text, the brightness of the display, etc. It made reading on the couch, in bed, on a plane, etc so easy on my eyes, compared to reading a book in even the best lighting situation. I've tried Microsoft's e-reader and it's not bad, though I think a straight PDF file is the best way of all.

Regarding Jobs' comment that people don't read anymore. I'm surprised he's missed something this obvious - while your typical American may not read anymore, I would wager if you surveyed your typical Mac owner and Apple loyalist you would discover many of them are avid readers.

redfirebird08
Jan 16, 2008, 12:29 PM
What are all the lines of squiggly things on my computer screen? :confused:

(Not a very well thought-out Kindle comment. It has serious flaws, but the fact that many don't want one isn't a flaw. A product can meet the needs of a SMALL group can still be a great product. Thus the existence of, say, the 160 GB iPod!)

And does that 40% include babies? :)

Good analogy. And we could take this further with Apple products. The Mac in and of itself is a "niche" product compared to the rest of the computer market. And to take it even further, the pimped out Mac Pro is a REALLY niche product where you can get like 20 gigs of RAM. If that is offered, then what the hell is wrong with offering E-Book readers and E-Books?

tsd
Jan 16, 2008, 12:29 PM
He's right and wrong about the book reading stuff. He's right to not make a product for electronic reading, and he's right that the Amazon reader will be a dud. He's also right that there's no big market for reading, in general.

However, he's wrong to assume that people will stop reading. Books in paper will always hold a steady market. Everyone knows the unique quality of holding a book and reading it. Literacy will never fade, and reading of books will never go away. It will never again be as big of a market as electronic documents, but it won't go away.

FoxyKaye
Jan 16, 2008, 12:29 PM
I love reading, and preferably actual books. I also spend way too much time in front of an LCD every day to feel OK about cozying up to another LCD to read. Though the Kindle has definitely intrigued me, but I haven't yet found a steady supply of eBooks in my genres (steampunk, new weird, future dystopia, and more standard sci-fi and fantasy) to justify the expenditure. Maybe Kindle II for me, although the library would always be my first choice, followed by the local bookstores.

Steve's just trying to do what any CEO would do - promote his stuff at the expense of other companies' stuff. Though that his comments mirror his competitors' from a year ago, well, that's the patina washing off. Someday he'll realize that the emperor has no clothes.

arkitect
Jan 16, 2008, 12:31 PM
Or perhaps it's just Jobs who doesn't read.

:D I think he stoppped reading books after that unauthorised biography came out. Remembered how he had it banned from Apple Stores?
iCon, I think it was called.

Ah, yes here it is:
Steve Jobs, who was not included in the creation of the book, banned all books from the publisher of iCon John Wiley & Sons in Apple Retail Stores for publishing the unauthorized biography

BigHat
Jan 16, 2008, 12:33 PM
I enjoy reading. Wish I had time to do more of it. Grad school was the "book a day club" for me and I didn't mnd it.

Bought a Kindle on Dec 20th. Looks like it will arrive near the end of this month. Amazon sold out their first production batch in 6 hours. So much for being a "dud." They are being scretive about quanities ordered and sold though. Just like the iPhone initially.

Bought it for four reasons listed in no particular order of priority:

1. I can travel with the equivalent of 200 books in the size on one small paperback. As a practical matter, it's worth it just so I don't have to tote one or two hardcovers.

2. It will program it to get the daily paper. Will likely keep the paper copy of the Washington Post, but will cancel NYT and WSJ subs as the Kindel version is cheaper and less of a hassle. Get to have 3 newspapers in your hand without any hassle. Much easier to read on the plane.

3. While I have about 5,000 hardcover books, I'm realizing that the space they occupy is often a pain in the butt. For those best sellers, that you read once and never pick-up again, I'll opt for the cheaper electronic copy and save the space.

4. Built in Wikopedia and dictionary. How nice is that !!

evilyankeefan
Jan 16, 2008, 12:34 PM
Aw Steve, why did you have to make that reading statement? Shame on you. :(

mrgreen4242
Jan 16, 2008, 12:35 PM
Imagine the iPod touch. Now make it bigger to match the standard paperback book size. Replace the screen by an e-ink screen and have a switch to enable the backlight. The cool thing about e-ink is that is only needs power when changing the display's content. You need a few minutes to read a book page so the battery could last for days when reading. You don't need much memory since text barely takes up anything. 1GB is plenty considering you can fit tons of PDFs and a complete book library on it. Add a "previous" and "next" button next to the home button so the user does not have to smudge the screen ever time he turns a page. Sell books on iTunes. If that thing also played audio books (come on, everything plays mp3s these days), I think it would make lots of people enjoy books again.

Then you'd have the kindle, more or less. Seems like a better tack would be to simply offer eBooks formated for the iPhone/touch to use.

freebooter
Jan 16, 2008, 12:36 PM
First, Jobs revealed that Apple had gone through about 100 design prototypes to find the "right" form for the MacBook Air. He and Jonathan Ive "were not certain that they would be able to fit the computer into the package that they came up with."


Form over function. Package over content. Style over usefulness. A$$ over teakettle.

jragosta
Jan 16, 2008, 12:36 PM
[url=http://www.macrumors.com]On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs sees the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more, suggesting a dedicated Apple book-reader is unlikely in the near future:


His logic is flawed. Who cares if 40% of people don't read books? or even 60-70%? What matters is how big the target market is (let's say, people who read more than 1 book per month, perhaps). I'd be willing to bet that this market is big enough to target. In fact, the existence of book clubs confirms that.

Apple never played the market share game before, why start now?

Having said that, I'm not advocating that Apple should be in that market. I read 75-100 books per year, but I don't think I'd buy an ebook unless they improve quite a bit from the current status. I like real books. I suspect that a lot of heavy readers agree.

So I agree with his conclusion, just not the logic that got him there.

jragosta
Jan 16, 2008, 12:37 PM
Form over function. Package over content. Style over usefulness. A$$ over teakettle.

That might be reasonable - if the final design weren't useful. As it is, the final design looks like a winner for a lot of people.

queshy
Jan 16, 2008, 12:37 PM
Sorry Steve, not everyone has 1K to drop on an SSD for an already expensive laptop...I'll just pick up a book and read I guess :cool:

TechHistorian
Jan 16, 2008, 12:37 PM
People don't read anymore?! RDF.

It's true. I see the proof of this every semester in my classes. About 6 years ago, I asked my students how many had read any book over the past three months (this was the first week of classes in the fall). One-third raised their hands (out of a class of 150). They were a representative cross-section of the undergraduates at a major American university known for its engineering and technical fields and regularly listed as one of the top fifty schools in the US.

Yes, you'll find anecdotal evidence indicating otherwise (spouses, parents, significant others, etc.). But the harsh reality is reading as an activity is declining in the US. Most major bookstores now offer DVDs, CDs, games, coffee, baked goods, and knickknacks in addition to books -- and their selection of printed matter is getting slimmer and slimmer.

kagharaht
Jan 16, 2008, 12:38 PM
Aw Steve, why did you have to make that reading statement? Shame on you. :(

Stir those tea leaves. He's doing a misdirection here. Next year iPhone and iPod Touch will have eBooks capabilities. :)

skellener
Jan 16, 2008, 12:38 PM
On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs sees the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more...
Then who's buying all those damn books?

Macula
Jan 16, 2008, 12:40 PM
"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."

Are we supposed to congratulate Steve Jobs for abiding to this trend?

kainjow
Jan 16, 2008, 12:41 PM
Jobs in the past has also made negative comments about watching video on a tiny screen, flash-based storage mp3 players... I wouldn't take his words to seriously. If anything, if he says something negative about a product or technology, it usually means they're working on it.

redrabbit
Jan 16, 2008, 12:42 PM
Do you have a link to support your argument on the Kindle? I haven't been able to find much regarding Kindle sales.

I think I know why. I don't know how much you know about company policies, but Amazon is a publicly-traded company and therefore can't release how well it's sales have been doing until certain quarters or designated points in the year. They're simply not allowed to.

The Kindle IS completely sold out and quite back-ordered, though, so, yes, you can argue "wahhhh, but you don't know how many they made." I think that's irrelevant, so they've clearly sold more than they expected and must be making a profit, regardless. Also, thousands of books seem to be added to their store a week. So I would say evidence points to the kindle doing pretty well.

Chupa Chupa
Jan 16, 2008, 12:42 PM
I guess this confirms we'll see the Apple Reader at next year's MacWorld. Remember when Steve said flash RAM was no good for music players...right before he came out with the 1st Shuffle. Of course Steve could be sincere, but then he'd be as wrong as when he though DVD-RAM would win out over DVD-R. That of course was until he came out with iDVD.

Seriously, I have a Sony eReader. Love it to bits. Great for traveling and reading books you'll read once. ePaper is really cool stuff. Steve knows this. I don't doubt people don't read much anymore. A lot of that is time contraints, but a lot is people don't want to schelp another book around along with their work related stuff. The eBook could actually bring back reading if done right. And by done right I mean an eBook store as easy to use as iTMS.

thegreatunknown
Jan 16, 2008, 12:43 PM
Really thought Jobs was more savvy than that. :mad:



of course he is. Why are all the comments on here taking him so literally? Doesn't everybody realize he has said things like this before and come back to revitalize the market shortly after the comment??

Spades
Jan 16, 2008, 12:44 PM
Folks may not like it, but there's a great deal of truth to what he said (please remember that Amazon is a retailer of books--they're sucking up market from large chains and smaller books). People in the publishing industry has voiced concerns like his for quite some time.

OK, people are reading fewer things published by the publishing industry. I'm sure that's a clear sign that fewer people are reading.

After all it's not like there's a new way of distributing the written word. Other than THE INTERNET.

It's fine to claim people are reading less but it doesn't seem likely to me, and you certainly need better evidence than a weakening publishing industry.

evilyankeefan
Jan 16, 2008, 12:44 PM
Stir those tea leaves. He's doing a misdirection here. Next year iPhone and iPod Touch will have eBooks capabilities. :)

I really do hope so. Love to read and the space saved by not buying hard copies of books would be great (though it would require some reconditioning not having them).

Someone tell JK Rowling that she should make her next book (or chapters) digitally exclusive. That would kick start things.

mrgreen4242
Jan 16, 2008, 12:45 PM
It's true. I see the proof of this every semester in my classes. About 6 years ago, I asked my students how many had read any book over the past three months (this was the first week of classes in the fall). One-third raised their hands (out of a class of 150). They were a representative cross-section of the undergraduates at a major American university known for its engineering and technical fields and regularly listed as one of the top fifty schools in the US.

Yes, you'll find anecdotal evidence indicating otherwise (spouses, parents, significant others, etc.). But the harsh reality is reading as an activity is declining in the US. Most major bookstores now offer DVDs, CDs, games, coffee, baked goods, and knickknacks in addition to books -- and their selection of printed matter is getting slimmer and slimmer.

Asking college students who read a book over the summer is a bad sample set. Students have to read so much during the year that many of them are thankful for a break where they can NOT read as much. :)

Spades
Jan 16, 2008, 12:46 PM
Stir those tea leaves. He's doing a misdirection here. Next year iPhone and iPod Touch will have eBooks capabilities. :)

You mean last year, right? I'm pretty sure I've had eBooks on my Touch since last year. :cool:

freebooter
Jan 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
That might be reasonable - if the final design weren't useful. As it is, the final design looks like a winner for a lot of people.

Function first, style second.

Apocalypse
Jan 16, 2008, 12:48 PM
That's kind of the point. Google doesn't make the phone...

Yes, they're following the Microsoft model of making the software and letting other companies design and manufacture the hardware. Apart from working well for Windows on the PC platform, this has been a complete failure for Microsoft.

asrmatt
Jan 16, 2008, 12:50 PM
I spend enough time looking at digital screens all day. I'll never convince myself that curling up on the couch with some electronic book displaying gadget is better than having a tangible book in my hands. There's something satisfying about physically turning a page.

Maybe I'm just old . . . :/

Same thought i had in mind.
Obviously I do it with an iPod in my ears and my Macbook open for e-mail... :rolleyes:

grumpy
Jan 16, 2008, 12:50 PM
Can all the silliness about the AppleTV being a DVR please stop now?

Yep, because now I know not to buy one.

Virgil-TB2
Jan 16, 2008, 12:51 PM
Funny, my wife reads plenty.I think lots of people still read. Steve is maybe wrong on this one.

The important factor would be, what is the demographic of those that still read. I think if he checked into it he might discover that those that buy Macs or are in the tech field in general still read quite a bit.

If 40% of the US read one book or less, then obviously 60% read more than one book. With apologies to the Americans on the forum, it's a fairly well known fact that literacy in the US is in the toilet vs. anywhere else also, so even if the number was higher, it does not necessarily reflect the world average. This is just more US centric thinking from Apple again.

I would bet that the 40% figure is made up of recent immigrants (illegal or otherwise), and the "trailer-trash, TV watchin" community. The University educated upper-middle class types that buy Apples computers would appreciate being able to read books on their iPhones and have said so many times.

Now we know why it isn't happening. Because Steve Jobs doesn't think it's important. :(

macFanDave
Jan 16, 2008, 12:51 PM
Agree…

I am very disappointed that Steve Jobs could come up with such an idiotic statement. People do not read books anymore? :confused:


Really thought Jobs was more savvy than that. :mad:


Just because you (and I) wish it weren't so doesn't mean that Steve isn't telling us an unpleasant truth. As much as I love buying and reading actual, physical books, I realize that I might be in the minority.

However, with the advent of the Web, I find I am reading and writing a lot more than I was before. But it's all online -- no trees are dying and no ink is being spilled. So as much as I have nostalgia for real books, I am happy that people are reading and writing online instead of watching TV which is totally passive.

I wouldn't take Steve's comments to mean that he doesn't like reading or people who read, he just recognizes what the trends in our society are. Of course, you could use his sentiment as a challenge. No one was interested in computers until Apple created the Mac (you may argue that they really started the popularity of computers with the Apple ][). No one was really interested in digital downloads of music until Apple made the iPod. Apple may have just started a wave of interest in movie downloads yesterday. So, the challenge would be: if Apple made a reader, would it cause interest in reading (instead of responding to existing in reading)?

BigHat
Jan 16, 2008, 12:51 PM
Asking college students who read a book over the summer is a bad sample set. Students have to read so much during the year that many of them are thankful for a break where they can NOT read as much. :)

Probably 100 of them read a book in the month prior, but didn't want to be a "springbutt, brown noser" in front of their classmates. Have we learned nothing from the error laden public polling of late?

nicoboss
Jan 16, 2008, 12:54 PM
he was saying the same thing about video on iPod or the possibility of an Apple branded phone - and look now!

So now I'll just say, instead of following what he says as universal truth, that I find his comment about Books/reading highly suspicious (and also I have to say I don't agree with him at all) – I am sure actually that they are actively working on a Mac Tablet that will be waaay cooler than anithing else on the market, thiner, less than 2oz and that will be also able to be used as eBook.

Funny that Zoolander is at the top of selling/rental lists in iTunes - when are we going to see a Steve Jobs "Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too"

And on a final note, I saw a guy the other day in the subway who had one of those Sony book electronic gadget thing - I have to say it is pretty cool... and would give it a try - but paper is way better anyway...

wake6830
Jan 16, 2008, 12:56 PM
Hi,

My name is Steve, and I'm a pompous ass. Everything I'm involved with is great and revolutionary, and no other person or company has the capacity to be successful at anything.

My stock has dropped 10% in two days because everyone else is too stupid to recognize my greatness.

Unspeaked
Jan 16, 2008, 12:56 PM
Now we know why it isn't happening. Because Steve Jobs doesn't think it's important.


And that differs from anything that's happened at Apple in the past ten years how...?

;)

Virgil-TB2
Jan 16, 2008, 12:57 PM
I actually think Google has achieved their goal without Android, and I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them. It’s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.Am I alone in thinking this is a kind of veiled threat?

I mean if the entire rest of the cellphone vendor market is jumping on Android (they seem to be), Android would be facilitating the cooperation between Google and everyone else.

The only "partner" this could create a divide with is Apple. :)

CJICantLie
Jan 16, 2008, 12:58 PM
Just like Jobs thought no one would like to watch videos and movies on a 3 inch screen. I guess he can be wrong sometimes. The only reason I haven't purchased an iPhone or iPod Touch yet is it doesn't do Ebooks. That is the only reason I still use my Palm. Get a clue Apple. Get a clue Jobs. Not because everyone wants something, doesn't mean you can't still give the features to the people that do. It wouldn't take much to be an Ebook reader on the Touch and iPhone.

scrambledwonder
Jan 16, 2008, 01:02 PM
People read all the time. We're all reading this.

And plenty of people still read novels. Just ask J.K. Rowling.

Oh, and I'd say that half of the most successful movies that were released during the past few years were based on novels.

And I would still like a good, slick e-reader app for my iPhone.

Henri Gaudier
Jan 16, 2008, 01:03 PM
People don't read anymore!? What a top class chump. So in future Apple is going to be led in its decision making by the proclivities of America's burger munching bloated residuum eh? I look forward to Ives turning his hand to the Lazy-Boy Commode Pro then!

digitalbiker
Jan 16, 2008, 01:05 PM
Steve Jobs has always been a real *** and he has always been a very negative person when it comes to discussing others products (unless they are his partners).

But after watching the last keynote he really appears to be declining. I have never seen such a lackluster, unenthusiastic, mistake prone presentation from Jobs. Twice he referred to the great features in Tiger when he meant leopard, he stemmed and stuttered, he fumbled through flickr photos, and just did not seem very excited. Usually I come away from a SJ presentation feeling pumped and ready to buy. I actually had trouble staying awake during this one.

I think his illness, his age, and his involvement in multiple companies is starting to take it's toll.

gwangung
Jan 16, 2008, 01:07 PM
OK, people are reading fewer things published by the publishing industry. I'm sure that's a clear sign that fewer people are reading.

After all it's not like there's a new way of distributing the written word. Other than THE INTERNET.

It's fine to claim people are reading less but it doesn't seem likely to me, and you certainly need better evidence than a weakening publishing industry.


Um. Who's providing the content for Amazon for the Internet?

The publishing industry that's shrinking.

A weakening publishing industry is good evidence, not bad evidence.

Of course, there are other things that are providing content on the internet, but those are things that are not providing content for Amazon.

juanster
Jan 16, 2008, 01:07 PM
iRead

odedia
Jan 16, 2008, 01:08 PM
This is great news!!!!!


If Jobs says they're not gonna do it, it means they WILL do it in exactly one year from now!

That's how it was with the iPod video, the iPhone, the AppleTV, the move to intel... Basically anything Steve says he WON'T do, he WILL do.

gwangung
Jan 16, 2008, 01:09 PM
Steve may be misreading what the market is for ebooks, but he has a lot better handle on what's actually ocurring than a lot of folks here, who seem to be shooting from the hip and not thinking a whole lot about it.

This is great news!!!!!


If Jobs says they're not gonna do it, it means they WILL do it in exactly one year from now!

That's how it was with the iPod video, the iPhone, the AppleTV, the move to intel... Basically anything Steve says he WON'T do, he WILL do.

Quite possible. He'll probably do something in a distinctly different way, though, with more of an emphasis on style and usability.

ATG
Jan 16, 2008, 01:11 PM
"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."
How many books were sold last year?

swingerofbirch
Jan 16, 2008, 01:13 PM
Granted I may not be book-read, but I've got subscriptions to Men's Health, Esquire, and GQ, and I sometimes read the articles! Although I do have to admit I mainly subscribe to sample the newest colognes. If Apple can't come out with an e-reader that lets me smell the latest cologne, it's worthless.

saltyzoo
Jan 16, 2008, 01:13 PM
Has there ever been a time when more than 40% of Americans read more than one book a year? Stating the current stat without comparing it to history is meaningless.

Spades
Jan 16, 2008, 01:22 PM
Um. Who's providing the content for Amazon for the Internet?

The publishing industry that's shrinking.

A weakening publishing industry is good evidence, not bad evidence.

Of course, there are other things that are providing content on the internet, but those are things that are not providing content for Amazon.

Who cares about Amazon. I agree the Kindle is junk. That still doesn't change that there's more to reading than what the traditional publishing industry puts out.

diamond.g
Jan 16, 2008, 01:30 PM
Kindle is flawed because it's ugly as sin and has a poor button layout, yet they're constantly sold out on Amazon (think Nintendo Wii-like availability).
Amazon can't possibly be selling 1.8 million of them a month... (Notes that is how many Wii's Nintendo makes for the whole world a month...)

jonweinraub
Jan 16, 2008, 01:31 PM
WTF is RDF???

gregdig
Jan 16, 2008, 01:34 PM
I guess whenever I walk into a Borders or Barnes & Noble and it's crowded, all of those people are there purely out of curiousity as to what all those strange objects on the shelves are.

Switched2aMac
Jan 16, 2008, 01:35 PM
WTF is RDF???

Reality Distortion Field

mac24/7
Jan 16, 2008, 01:39 PM
I agree that people read far less BOOKS than they used to, but isn't that largely because of our busy lifestyles, our growing love for modern 'new media' alternatives etc?

Isn't that the point of these mac computers, to gel everything that you need, and put them all at your fingertips? I think it is less about people not reading, and more because people aren't used to the whole concept of purchasing digital books online...yet. iTunes store will never make the kind of sales on books that they do with music.

The problem is you can't sell books to any generation of people in the same glittery way as you can blockbuster movies.

I do think you could gradually get consumer interest going by providing a digital link & code system on every paperback book in Borders for example, meaning that you have purchased the book and the link to download it for viewing on your tablet if desired.

I can see that the the many creative pros and pro-sumers would gain from having the kind of touchscreen tablet that would allow them to tweak their digital creations without the need of a wacom tablet. To be able to have all the features of every other mac in your lap, as light as a macbook air, a tablet would have all the convenience of reading a magazine, easy to pick up, easy to put down, easy to pass around and doesn't make you look as if you've brought work along with you wherever you go. Be a hardcore user, do seriously amazing stuff, but the chance to appear casual about it, instead of a computer geek.

I think a multi-touch, touch screen tablet form mac would be huge. The Macbook Air minus the keyboard would be a great start.

ibjoshua
Jan 16, 2008, 01:44 PM
I read. Not as often as I'd like but I love reading.
I read Great Expectations from the Gutenberg project on my iBook which was pretty painless. I'd love a lightweight, cheap (super) low-power e-reader but without any commercial tie-ins to a large corporation. I'm particularly keen on the idea of a few hundred digital pages, so that turning pages and flicking through a book to get a look at the contents is still possible. I know they don't exist yet but Kindle, like the Sony reader, is a start, (mostly) in the right direction.
ibjoshua

mac24/7
Jan 16, 2008, 01:44 PM
I agree that people read far less BOOKS than they used to, but isn't that largely because of our busy lifestyles, our growing love for modern 'new media' alternatives etc?

Isn't that the point of these mac computers, to gel everything that you need, and put them all on one device at your fingertips? I think it is also less about people not wanting to read, and more because people aren't used to the whole concept of purchasing digital books online...yet. Think of how many people read every day, except they're reading online, because they have to go onto their computers every day to check email, so thy're conveniently one click away from reading the news/weather or whatever...so I think the mindset now is that the peoples library of choice is on their computer.

Currently, the iTunes store will never make the kind of sales on books that they do with music therefore it's not a viable option for them to try and do so.

The problem is you can't sell books to any generation of people in the same glittery way as you can blockbuster movies or music albums.

A long shot, but I do think you could gradually get consumer interest going by providing a digital link & code system on every paperback book in Borders for example, meaning that you have purchased the book and the link to download it for viewing on your tablet if desired.

I can see that the the many creative pros and pro-sumers would gain from having the kind of touchscreen tablet that would allow them to tweak their digital creations without the need of a wacom tablet. To be able to have all the features of every other mac in your lap, as light as a macbook air, a tablet would have all the convenience of reading a magazine, easy to pick up, easy to put down, easy to pass around and doesn't make you look as if you've brought work along with you wherever you go. Be a hardcore user, do seriously amazing stuff, but the chance to appear casual about it, instead of a computer geek.

I think a multi-touch, touch screen tablet form mac would be huge. The Macbook Air minus the keyboard would be a great start.

cmendill
Jan 16, 2008, 01:52 PM
A huge portable personal library is the correct model for music, it is not for books. Who needs to carry around more than one book at a time. A song lasts 5 min, so the portability of hundreds of songs needs a solution. A book can last from days to weeks, so just carry the book, its not a problem that needs solving (certainly not in a dedicated device). The displays use wonderful technology, they can be used for all sorts of great stuff, but having 1000 books in my pocket is not useful.

chicagdan
Jan 16, 2008, 01:53 PM
A minority of whom spend absurd amounts of money on books annually.

Exactly. How many users are on Librarything.com? My 8000 book library is a testament to the absurd amount of money I've spent on books ... probably 10X what I've spent on technology in my lifetime.

I don't usually say this, but Jobs came across like a dick in that interview. I think I'll buy a Kindle today just to thumb my nose at him. He certainly didn't introduce anything yesterday more worthy of my $400.

ChrisA
Jan 16, 2008, 02:00 PM
Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.

So that means MOST people (60%) read more then one book.

Even if only 20% of the population reads that group is bigger than the group of people who use Macs and Jobs is happy to sell computers to that small minority. I'm sure that if Jobs thought he could sell a book reader to 5% of the US population he'd jump at the chance. his goal with the iPhone was to sell one to only a small percentage of the population.

Also most people buy low-end, cheap PCs. If Apple follows the bulk of the consumer market why don't they offer $399 Macs?

Apple has always "cherry picked" the top of the market leaving the mid and low end to others.

digitalbiker
Jan 16, 2008, 02:04 PM
So that means MOST people (60%) read more then one book.

Even if only 20% of the population reads that group is bigger than the group of people who use Macs and Jobs is happy to sell computers to that small minority. I'm sure that of Jobs thought he could sell a book reader to 5% of the US population he'd jump at the chance. his goal with the iPhone was to sell one to only a small percentage of the population.

Also most people buy low-end, cheap PCs. If Apple follows the bulk of the consummer market why don't they offer $399 Macs?

Apple has always "cherry picked" the top of the market leaving the mid and low end to others.

I'll bet 40% of the people in the US don't own ipods or macs either but I don't see that stopping apple from marketing itunes songs.

deathshrub
Jan 16, 2008, 02:07 PM
"seems the concept as flawed"?

Kwill
Jan 16, 2008, 02:08 PM
I would be insulted but I have not yet received an audiobook version of the interview. :p

Bogie
Jan 16, 2008, 02:10 PM
Those who do read read quite a bit generally. I've read 50 books for pleasure this year not counting the required reading for my classes which is an additional 20-30. I would LOVE being able to download textbooks to a kindle like device and being able to make annotations with a stylus. Then to be able to export the annotated pages to a computer and print them would be even better!

yellow
Jan 16, 2008, 02:12 PM
The more I think about SJ's response about the Kindle, the more ridiculous it becomes.

I have a strange feeling that Amazon might know a thing or 2 about how many books people buy and thought that an eBook might actually work. Heck, I'm thinking about it myself. I love to read and kinda miss having a Palm to read eBooks on.

His response almost seems like he's started believing his own hype and if Apple doesn't promote it, then it sucks.

(if it ain't scottish, it's crap!)

SiliconAddict
Jan 16, 2008, 02:14 PM
Jobs is a tard. So I guess no one reads in school. I guess Barnes an Noble and every other book seller on the planet should fold. I hate Jobs. The man thinks everything isn't worth going after until HE decides to jump into the market. Same with video. Same with TV. Same with photos. Someone needs to give him a boot to the head. :mad: He is an excellent marketer, but that is it.

zimtheinvader
Jan 16, 2008, 02:15 PM
If no one reads, then how do you explain all the fact that the NY Times still sells, barnes&noble is still packed around me and blogs are abundant, I think more people just read online, but hell I still read lots of books.

Also, we know Jobs is egomaniacal, this isn't something new. His being this wrong is though...

I agree though, that reading will not be as popular as listening to music, it never was because it requires effort to learn.

LethalWolfe
Jan 16, 2008, 02:15 PM
The displays use wonderful technology, they can be used for all sorts of great stuff, but having 1000 books in my pocket is not useful.
But it could be useful to others. Most hardware and software manuals can be found in PDF versions on-line and it would be very convenient for me to have the manuals (as well as other trouble shooting related guides/white papers) w/me for quick reference.


Lethal

QuarterSwede
Jan 16, 2008, 02:19 PM
Jobs is clearly wrong on this one but I do agree that eBooks will NEVER catch on. As an old future tech professor said, "There is nothing like holding a book and flipping through its pages. Electronic Books are not the future." He said this when Sony first came out with the Reader and his assertion has been spot on.

*I don't get why the Amazon Kindle is such a big deal. Sony came out with the Reader (which looks better) how long ago?

twoodcc
Jan 16, 2008, 02:21 PM
nice. i know tons of people are gonna yak about his comment that people "don't read anymore"

redrabbit
Jan 16, 2008, 02:22 PM
Jobs is clearly wrong on this one but I do agree that eBooks will NEVER catch on. As an old future tech professor said, "There is nothing like holding a book and flipping through its pages. Electronic Books are not the future." He said this when Sony first came out with the Reader and his assertion has been spot on.

*I don't get why the Amazon Kindle is such a big deal. Sony came out with the Reader (which looks better) how long ago?

the reader looks better, sure, but it doesn't have free wireless delivery over Sprint's network. that's whats so awesome about the kindle. (yes, i am one of the few people judging it that actually owns one). amazon also has a far better collection in its store. almost 100,000 books now (and that's not counting wireless auto delivery of newspapers and magazines)

zimtheinvader
Jan 16, 2008, 02:29 PM
Maybe he's just bitter about how Apple stock fell after releasing that abortion of a Macbook the Air...

chicagdan
Jan 16, 2008, 02:30 PM
Jobs is clearly wrong on this one but I do agree that eBooks will NEVER catch on. As an old future tech professor said, "There is nothing like holding a book and flipping through its pages. Electronic Books are not the future." He said this when Sony first came out with the Reader and his assertion has been spot on.

*I don't get why the Amazon Kindle is such a big deal. Sony came out with the Reader (which looks better) how long ago?

It may not be a mass market phenomenon, but I like eBooks ... I've been using one since the Rocket eBook came to market in the late 90s. One big feature of eBooks is that if the text is in the public domain, you can download it from the web and read it for free. So, for example, any book 75 years old or more is free ... the caveat is that translations get copyright protection, so you'll need to download an older translation of Don Quixote, for example, to read for free.

The backlight is also a huge advantage over book lights if you want to read in bed and since I like to read really big tomes, it's much easier to carry around an eBook than War and Peace or Gravity's Rainbow.

The Kindle has some big advantages over Sony ... for one, you can buy a book basically anywhere. I can't tell you how many times someone has told me about a book or I've read something in a newspaper and I had to write down the name and hope I didn't lose it before I could go online or make it to a store. With the Kindle, I could just buy it on the spot. Also, the selection for the Kindle is much, much better.

Final thing ... reading on a eBook is much FASTER than with paper. It's hard to explain it until you've done it, but you can just get lost in the text and not pay attention to how many pages have gone by, which is a psychological barrier that breaks the pane of immersion.

gctwnl
Jan 16, 2008, 02:31 PM
Jobs often has an uncanny feel for what people want/like but it is not 100% perfect. Reading is not in decline at all, here at last, we see record breaking book sales, year after year. Many people do not read books, but many, many do and they read a lot.

As soon as the digital technique has a few things paper have (e.g. equivalent of flipping through pages, I've seen prototypes of software doing this 10 years ago and also do not forget innovations like the iPod's scroll movement), the book will go the way of the CD. It will take time, but like your iPod works without a CD, a iBook works without having to carry the books around.

madmaxmedia
Jan 16, 2008, 02:31 PM
Imagine the iPod touch. Now make it bigger to match the standard paperback book size. Replace the screen by an e-ink screen and have a switch to enable the backlight. The cool thing about e-ink is that is only needs power when changing the display's content. You need a few minutes to read a book page so the battery could last for days when reading. You don't need much memory since text barely takes up anything. 1GB is plenty considering you can fit tons of PDFs and a complete book library on it. Add a "previous" and "next" button next to the home button so the user does not have to smudge the screen ever time he turns a page. Sell books on iTunes. If that thing also played audio books (come on, everything plays mp3s these days), I think it would make lots of people enjoy books again.

You don't need to imagine it, that's a pretty good description of the Sony reader. (sans iTunes, but they have their own store.)

It's not a bad device, but the question si what people will pay for it. I have the same concern about the Apple TV- I love the new features and the convenience of downloading rentals, but I don't like having the pay the entry fee. I understand it can't be free of course. But that's the issue with reader devices- is the price worth the benefits over regular paper?

iAFC
Jan 16, 2008, 02:32 PM
Steve, I prefer a Kindle over that huge amount of crap that is your lovely new MacBook Air, a PC that's stupid like you.

madmaxmedia
Jan 16, 2008, 02:33 PM
Your post illustrates Jobs' concern quite well. It's great that you did read 2 books. So would you pay $300 or whatever for an ebook reader to read those 2 half books per year?

His general point is that there aren't that many people in which a $300 e-reader really makes sense, due to the price of the reader itself.

So THAT means that 60% of America read MORE than one book last year. Apple's market share is what, 7% or 8% (know my figure is off) and yet he invests boat loads into that small percentage of those computing. (I know that the percentage of computing AMERICANS is not specifically stated, so this is just for illustrative purposes) Seems like to book readers are an UNTAPPED MARKET!!

For the record, I read half of TWO books last year and LISTENED to ZERO. A case in which 1/2+1/2 does not equal...much.

Audio MAGAZINES I would be interested in!!

Seems like no idea is a good one unless it's Apple's. I'm not an Apple basher, I have three machines and three iPods, but sometimes they get a little egotistical.

slu
Jan 16, 2008, 02:36 PM
I think I know why. I don't know how much you know about company policies, but Amazon is a publicly-traded company and therefore can't release how well it's sales have been doing until certain quarters or designated points in the year. They're simply not allowed to.


Wrong. I don't know Amazon's policy, but there is no regulation or law in the US that says a public company can't release sales figures daily if they want to.

madmaxmedia
Jan 16, 2008, 02:37 PM
Jobs is a tard. So I guess no one reads in school. I guess Barnes an Noble and every other book seller on the planet should fold. I hate Jobs. The man thinks everything isn't worth going after until HE decides to jump into the market. Same with video. Same with TV. Same with photos. Someone needs to give him a boot to the head. :mad: He is an excellent marketer, but that is it.

Yes, he ended up becoming the single largest shareholder of Walt Disney Corp. and Apple by pure luck and snake oil...

He has chosen not to develop an e-book reader, and simply gave a general explanation as to why. I don't understand why you have a problem with that.

He doesn't think a market is going after, hence he decides not to jump into the market. No need to draw any other conclusions than that. He's not perfect, but his track record is far better than most business leaders.

madmaxmedia
Jan 16, 2008, 02:41 PM
I've said this before, but I'd buy eBooks from iTMS if they were available and priced decently. All the other ebook sales I've seen are pretty much the same price, if not sometimes more expensive, than the actual book.

I'd also subscribe to 'emagazines' via iTMS given the option. There's already success in that market with Zinio and others doing it, so this seems like a pretty big no brainer.

It would be interesting to see what Apple or other companies could come up with regarding magazines. But I think magazine are particularly ill-suited for ebook readers.

I owned a Sony Reader for a short while. For reading a novel, flipping page after page, it is not bad. But typically you browse through magazines, go back and forth, etc. Doing that is not well suited to the current crop of ebook readers. They're also purely black and white (grayscale), which alone probably kills magazines as ebook subscription.

rockosmodurnlif
Jan 16, 2008, 02:41 PM
The thing I like about books and magazines is that they don't require batteries or wifi or any type of memory. Books and magazine are always on and can take a pretty good fall. The only problem is they don't have ambient light sensors and aren't backlit but then again, that's what your brain is for.

Although with no Harry Potter books coming out in the future, Steve may just get proved right.

acslater017
Jan 16, 2008, 02:46 PM
Has there ever been a time when more than 40% of Americans read more than one book a year? Stating the current stat without comparing it to history is meaningless.

Well, since the Kindle is being marketed toward the current market, and not the past, it's not meaningless. :)

Look, everyone - I know Jobs' statement was a bit blanketing (and everyone loves to talk about how much they read). But he was simply looking at it from a financial/business point of view. I think what he meant to say was, "Not ENOUGH people read to justify INVESTING TENS OF MILLIONS OR MORE on a niche device." And not many people, for the time being, will be willing to drop $400 on a book reading machine. And I agree with him.

The iPod was successful because it allowed you to carry a thousand songs in your pocket. The Kindle allows to carry a couple hundred books in your backpack. How many people would even care to do that (for $400)? It's not like people enjoy reading one paragraph from one book, another page from another book, etc. The need is just not there.

But, if anyone's in the position to market/produce such a device, it's Amazon.

Spades
Jan 16, 2008, 02:48 PM
He has chosen not to develop an e-book reader, and simply gave a general explanation as to why.

There's plenty of good reasons that e-books aren't likely to ever take off. People not reading is not one of them and giving that as his explanation is why people are criticizing him.

nxent
Jan 16, 2008, 02:49 PM
jobs should be careful about these types of remarks. it's the same type of arrogance that microsoft and companies alike used when they dismissed the ipod. as an innovative company that prides itself on philosophy and innvation, i expect the leadership at apple to show a little bit more respect when referring to another company's product, even if it is a crappy idea. in the end, it comes down to what the consumers want. otherwise you come off sounding a lot like the boys over in redmond. i think the kindle is decent idea, along with open platform mobile phone being supported by google. even as an avid mac fan, i wouldn't rule out buying a potentially more capable open sourced phone or kindle-like device. so long as it interfaced well with my powerbook.

fastbite
Jan 16, 2008, 02:52 PM
Hey Steve! Do picture books count?

xy14
Jan 16, 2008, 02:53 PM
What are all the lines of squiggly things on my computer screen? :confused:

(Not a very well thought-out Kindle comment. It has serious flaws, but the fact that many don't want one isn't a flaw. A product can meet the needs of a SMALL group can still be a great product. Thus the existence of, say, the 160 GB iPod!)

And does that 40% include babies? :)

I think what he meant by that comment was that Apple would not be able to do it because they wont make enough money on it. Even if 60% of people read more than one book a year, what percent of those people would shell out $150+ for the device and even $2 for an ebook, especially when you can go to the library and rent 5 books for free with no extra costs?

irun5k
Jan 16, 2008, 02:58 PM
Well heck, let us just tell Books a Millions, B&N, Borders, and everyone else opening mega-bookstores that they should just close down because nobody is reading books any more.

Steve also said nobody uses Java any more. Funny- someone is paying several million Java developers worldwide.

I think he is off his rocker. Sometimes I get the impression he thinks he is God and we should just bow down to his superior intellect. I guess it doesn't help things when so many people are down at his feet just waiting on him to throw us the next piece of Apple hardware or software. This is probably helping to reinforce his "God" complex.

radio893fm
Jan 16, 2008, 02:58 PM
That's a shame...I am 22, and I read a decent amount...I would have loved for Apple to get into the business.

No need to worry. He said once: "people don't want to watch video on small screens. People don't want to watch movies on their iPods..."

And a couple months after that... you know what happened.

If you don't believe me, take a look around this forums. I was the first one to criticize him by saying something soo stupid. And the fanboys were with him...

saltyzoo
Jan 16, 2008, 03:00 PM
Well, since the Kindle is being marketed toward the current market, and not the past, it's not meaningless. :)

It is meaningless without context. 60% of the country isn't a good enough market? He was insinuating that was a low number. It's not. He was insinuating that number is declining. Without historical data, that's just a guess.

sishaw
Jan 16, 2008, 03:01 PM
Littera scripta manet, baby!

chicagdan
Jan 16, 2008, 03:02 PM
I think what he meant by that comment was that Apple would not be able to do it because they wont make enough money on it. Even if 60% of people read more than one book a year, what percent of those people would shell out $150+ for the device and even $2 for an ebook, especially when you can go to the library and rent 5 books for free with no extra costs?

Yes, he could have said all of that, but instead he made an idiotic statement that insulted a lot of hard core Apple users. Apple used to be a brand that appreciated thinking creative people ... what Jobs said today is that Apple is a company that appeals to the least common denominator ... the idiots who do nothing but consume electronic media. Thanks for clarifying Steve, maybe my loyalty is displaced. I don't really care if Apple builds an eBook reader, but I don't want to be branded an anachronistic fool because I like to read.

radio893fm
Jan 16, 2008, 03:06 PM
Yes, he ended up becoming the single largest shareholder of Walt Disney Corp. and Apple by pure luck and snake oil...

He has chosen not to develop an e-book reader, and simply gave a general explanation as to why. I don't understand why you have a problem with that.

He doesn't think a market is going after, hence he decides not to jump into the market. No need to draw any other conclusions than that. He's not perfect, but his track record is far better than most business leaders.

Remember... please... you are talking about a guy that thinks that a one button mouse is RIGHT. Wrong!!!

And as far as his track record... oh yes, good things have come out from Apple... but don't forget about his flip-flop (see comment above), the cube, the mac mini, the newton, etc.

SkyTurnsRed
Jan 16, 2008, 03:10 PM
Hey guys, first post ever =)

The Kindle is a good idea for that small market - it's possibly the best e-book device ever released. However, Steve's way off here. 60% is a pretty decent majority. I'd say less than 60% buy music anymore, yet he advertises iTunes like crazy, less than 60% buy movies digitally and he preaches AppleTV... and like someone else said, Apple users are well under 60%.

danny_w
Jan 16, 2008, 03:12 PM
While I realize that I am very much in the minority, an ebook reader (just about any out there) is infinitely more readable to me than a paperback (or hardback) book. I have problems with contrast, and a computer or ebook screen for me is much easier to read because of the brightness and contrast. I love to read, and I love the "feel" of a real book in my hands, but it is just too tiring on my eyes to read a real book for very long. For me e-ink is actually a step backwards because it usually lowers the contrast too much. However, I used to read all the time on my pda, and I wish I still had it for that reason alone.

sishaw
Jan 16, 2008, 03:15 PM
Are we sure this isn't a classic Jobsian misdirection, in the style of "no one wants to watch video on a handheld device" and other similar comments he has made over the years, before releasing a device in the very market he so recently maligned? The man loves secrecy like cats loves milk.

pagansoul
Jan 16, 2008, 03:18 PM
I have not purchased a book in months. I'm not tallking about my photo books or illustrated books or magazines but text books, novels. I either borrow from friends and family or buy ebooks on line from a the few places that sell Adobe verisions and I read them on my computer. I get all my news on line and on radio. I have a collection of Public Domain ebooks for the classics, about 2,000 of them. I'm one of those people who do read by computer. I get my Macworld delivered via Zinio. This year I'm going to get a notebook for the first time. I am also looking at E-Readers and tablets. The problem with Kindle is no color and I need to see a magazine in all its glory.

I also think Steve is pulling your leg, that he is indeed interested in a reader but likes to keep his plans secret. And, yes, readership has dropped because there are so many other ways to be entertained these days. Used to be that reading a book was the only way you could travel, then came radio, moving pictures, internet. There will always be books because they are self contained but they are in no way as popular as they used to be. I'm not talking about the student but the average American done with school. You go to work during the week, get home to eat and watch some of the news and maybe a program. On the weekend you watch the game, go shopping, glance at the Gossip rags while waiting to pay for your food. Sunday you look at the funnies and the headlines, sports, food, about town section and thats it. My mother, retired, spends about 2 hours going over the Sunday paper every week but I don't think she even looks at the weekday news. She belongs to a book club who read about 2 books monthly. She also sneaks in a romantic novel every now and them. I think older woman are the big book readers of today and they don't care for electronic readers. I gave her a mini two years ago and all she uses it for is email. The grand-kids use it more.

If Apple is going into the e-reader business it can not be stand alone..it has to be more and they are just not ready at this time to come up with the product. A product is only as good as it's content. Publishers are as bad as Hollywood. There's a lot of contacts to be made and deals to seal and like the Kindle, some sort of copy protection. How many things at a time do you think they can juggle?

elcid
Jan 16, 2008, 03:20 PM
I am not surprised by that statistic. I am assuming he was using Americans and when you come out of your corporate forum reading bubble, a lot of people dont read books.

http://www.humorwriters.org/startlingstats.html

70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.

The stats don't surprise me and I would never have recommended an ebook reader. People like the pages, they like turning the pages. They like the feeling of a book. It is inert, it is the last frontier that will never be technologized (i know its not a word)

My mom will read a book in a day. She loves books and spends a lot of time at the library. She would never buy something like that, why bother.

Doctor Q
Jan 16, 2008, 03:21 PM
My Kindle arrives next week. I guess I should throw it out. And I apologize for reading books. Shame on me.

Spades
Jan 16, 2008, 03:23 PM
Publishers are as bad as Hollywood. There's a lot of contacts to be made and deals to seal and like the Kindle, some sort of copy protection.

Ugh. If Apple does this they better not give in on copy protection this time. It's better to not have the product than it is to have copy protection. The copy protection is 75% of the reason I have no interest in e-books. Price is the other 25%.

TechHistorian
Jan 16, 2008, 03:25 PM
Asking college students who read a book over the summer is a bad sample set. Students have to read so much during the year that many of them are thankful for a break where they can NOT read as much. :)

No, it's not. These are students in the top 5% of their high school classes. I don't think it's too much to expect them to have read at least one book in three months over summer break. All of my friends in college read for pleasure. But today's students find other outlets.

People simply don't read as much anymore.

A quarter-century ago when I was an undergraduate, the reading load I had in a given semester was easily twice what students at that same institution read presently.

Those who do read tend to read a lot of books. But you don't find as many people reading for entertainment these days.

agore
Jan 16, 2008, 03:32 PM
Please, Steve, I love ya but don't tell me there's not enough folks to sell an eBook reader to but the market for the MacBook Air is enormous...

The year is young, but I think Jobs' statement on Kindle qualifies as the stupidest tech pronouncement of 2008.

The Kindle is selling so well that it has already proven a market for an easy-to-use print reader. People don't have the space to store large paper libraries today. Students want to be able to carry their moungtain of textbooks in compact, searchable form. Those who subscribe to magazines would like instant delivery to a reader.

Apple might argue against the need for another separate device. Could the iPhone or the new MBA be given the ability to buy Kindle-format e-books through ITMS and act as a reader? As SSD prices come down, the MBA might become the preferred e-book device.

CBJammin103
Jan 16, 2008, 03:32 PM
He's right and wrong about the book reading stuff. He's right to not make a product for electronic reading, and he's right that the Amazon reader will be a dud. He's also right that there's no big market for reading, in general.

However, he's wrong to assume that people will stop reading. Books in paper will always hold a steady market. Everyone knows the unique quality of holding a book and reading it. Literacy will never fade, and reading of books will never go away. It will never again be as big of a market as electronic documents, but it won't go away.

I think this is about right. Jobs says that people aren't reading anymore, but I think he's thinking of this more in terms of the sale of some hypothetical Apple product.

Whether or not people are actually reading paperback or hardcover books is somewhat irrelevant to Apple in the innovation department. However, the fact that people don't want to read electronic books is what I think Steve had in mind.

Regardless of what he meant, our society will always keep reading consistently on some level, even if that isn't a level that contains cutting-edge technology.

kingtj
Jan 16, 2008, 03:34 PM
You can't do better than 4200RPM with a hard drive thin enough to fit in this notebook though. Sad though it might be, that's as far as hard drive technology has come along. Truthfully, I'd argue that the Macbook Air shouldn't even be purchased without the SSD flash drive. They just offer the 80GB hard drive to keep the price down for people who can't swallow the extra $999.

About 1 1/2 years ago, I had a client who requested I find him a "really light-weight, small notebook" to use in his travels. All we could come up with that really pleased him was a Sony Vaio costing upwards of $3100. He gladly paid it though. So I know a market exists for this sort of thing, even in this high price range.

I'm with you though; as cool as this is, it doesn't make financial sense for me. I get more out of a Macbook Pro with better video capabilities and a larger screen to work with.


it's not a bad computer but it looks better on paper, the hard drive speed (4200 rpm) is just sad for this day and age and an extra grand for the SSD drive makes it way to pricy for me.

ktbubster
Jan 16, 2008, 03:34 PM
I think that like someone here already mentioned, a separate ebook reader is expensive and worrisome and someone buying just a 400 dollar device for that is a bit much. Not much of a market. E-books will become more mainstream on devices people already own. A lot of my friends use their pdas, I could see using an iphone or ipodtouch for things like that and I would definitely purchase ebooks off of itunes or something if they had good prices compared to the actual hard copy of a book. Like someone stated they are mostly the same price now.

I think that if apple releases a small tablet somewhere in the future (like everyone was hoping for yesterday) ... i phone but in a 7 by 10 inch sorta format, or even a small portable laptop converted into a tablet that's about that size, that's the size of a bigger hard cover mostly. Heck. If something just weight 2 or 3 lbs and was the size of a sheet of paper or a text book, I'd be perfectly fine with it and would LOVE to read ebooks on it. Easier then a laptop for sure, and while still bigger then a lot of books, I think with the iphone guestures for flipping pages it would be really great!

I would LOVE a tablet mac with the ability to buy ebook and ebook versions of my textbooks to go alone with itunes University. Imagine how nice it would be to be able to select or highlight text with your figure or even an image or something an paste it right into your notes or make notes from your text?

THAT could score big with students.

I think Jobs is making a mistake, and if apple ever releases a small tablet computer (which I am still sure they are on the way to doing) and started selling ebooks and e-textbooks online at decent prices, they could make a killing. ESPECIALLY at universities.

Just my 2 cents.

Edit: not to mention with this format... just a simple small tablet computer (much like the power of the MBA ... the things we saw in the sketches that would dock into an imac like thing for instance) add in the daily paper and magazine subscriptions... people could still write on it and do their daily crosswords and random brain teasers. Those logic puzzle books for the road being read in a program that allows you to write and erase? THAT would be awesome. I could see using that a lot on trips and... anywhere when i'm waiting.

sishaw
Jan 16, 2008, 03:38 PM
My mom will read a book in a day. She loves books and spends a lot of time at the library. She would never buy something like that, why bother.

One reason is--the pure joy of being able to browse the Kindle Store from anywhere, for free, without a tether, and, upon finding a book that one likes, being able to immediately download a generous sample (not the usual page or two that Amazon allows, but 3 chapters or so) and then buy the book and have it in your hands in less than a minute!

Oh, and being able to hold hundreds of books on one device; and the fact than you can Kindle-ize your own documents and make them instantaneously accessible in a searchable format.

There are issues with the Kindle--the ergonomics leave much to be desired and the filing system is rudimentary for a device that can hold so much content, to name two. But its basic functionality as a reader is rather good.

Oh, and I would take Jobs' comments with a few grains of salt. He has been known to use misdirection, or simply to change his mind. He's a very innovative thinker and I wouldn't put anything past him on the basis of one interview.

http://gadgetwriter.blogspot.com/2007/12/experiencing-amazon-kindle.html

hugodrax
Jan 16, 2008, 03:43 PM
I wonder what it is that people turned away from reading books !? Audiobooks, no time, ... ??? Wonders ...

Limited attention span, lack of reading skills. Current generation of Americans have very short attention spans.

agore
Jan 16, 2008, 03:44 PM
People don't read anymore!?
And even if this were true, Asian sales for an Apple-quality e-book reader
would alone justify a massively profitable design effort.

kingtj
Jan 16, 2008, 03:45 PM
I think the truth is in the middle here, really. Jobs is right, in that the "Apple" of today caters to making higher-end product for people who value spending a little more in order to get more.

I suspect a good portion of avid book readers out there would say one big advantage of books is their relatively low-cost. If you're not borrowing a book from a library for FREE, you're often buying a used paperback for FAR less than the price of a piece of computer software, or often, even getting one free from somebody who already read it and is done with it.

This isn't a demographic that would easily be swayed by some promise of an elegant but pricy Apple-branded e-book reader. (You can throw a book almost anywhere too, with little concern of breaking it or of it getting stolen.)

On the flip-side, yeah, the Kindle has a really big "niche" it could fill in the way of student textbooks. Almost nobody cares about hanging onto school textbooks to read after the course is finished, and they hate lugging them all around between classes. The ability to download the current ones to an e-reader before the semester starts (even if they're DRM protected so they auto-expire the next year or whatever) would make sense in that environment. Some would say Apple really missed the boat here. I'd say the "old Apple" sure would have looked more closely at this -- but today, they're much more a media company than they are concerned about being at the forefront of education.



The year is young, but I think Jobs' statement on Kindle qualifies as the stupidest tech pronouncement of 2008.

The Kindle is selling so well that it has already proven a market for an easy-to-use print reader. People don't have the space to store large paper libraries today. Students want to be able to carry their moungtain of textbooks in compact, searchable form. Those who subscribe to magazines would like instant delivery to a reader.

Apple might argue against the need for another separate device. Could the iPhone or the new MBA be given the ability to buy Kindle-format e-books through ITMS and act as a reader? As SSD prices come down, the MBA might become the preferred e-book device.

sticther
Jan 16, 2008, 03:46 PM
"New York, NY, March 6, 2006: Net sales for the United States publishing industry are estimated to have increased by 9.9 percent from 2004 to 2005 to a grand total of $25.1 billion, according to figures released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The sales figures in this report are based on year-to-date data in the AAP 2005 December Monthly Sales Report, the recently released U.S. Department of Commerce’s 2002 Census Bureau Report and other statistical data."

Krevnik
Jan 16, 2008, 03:48 PM
Imagine the iPod touch. Now make it bigger to match the standard paperback book size. Replace the screen by an e-ink screen and have a switch to enable the backlight. The cool thing about e-ink is that is only needs power when changing the display's content.

Excellent idea, with two minor drawbacks:

1... eInk is opaque, and cannot be backlit.
2... backlights are what stress eyes in LCD displays in the first place, and thus defeats the main benefit of eInk: reflected light that looks more like paper.

agore
Jan 16, 2008, 03:53 PM
The stats don't surprise me and I would never have recommended an ebook reader. People like the pages, they like turning the pages. They like the feeling of a book.
But then again, paperbacks don't lie flat, books aren't searchable and they take up a lot of space that people don't have today.

To all those Luddites who claim that print is "special", I'm sure Apple could give us an iReader that smells like leather and has a built-in compartment to hold silverfish.

LethalWolfe
Jan 16, 2008, 04:04 PM
Hey guys, first post ever =)

The Kindle is a good idea for that small market - it's possibly the best e-book device ever released. However, Steve's way off here. 60% is a pretty decent majority. I'd say less than 60% buy music anymore, yet he advertises iTunes like crazy, less than 60% buy movies digitally and he preaches AppleTV... and like someone else said, Apple users are well under 60%.
Your assumptions are completely off base. Do you honestly think that less than 60% of Americans listened to a song on the radio, a CD they bought, a download from iTMS, or a track they pulled off P2P in the past year? Do you honestly think that less than 60% of Americans rented DVDs, used PPV services, purchased TV shows from iTMS, or downloaded a movie from P2P in the past year?

The numbers for on line acquisition of media is going up while the numbers of book sales are going down. I don't agree w/Jobs' hyperbole that "no one reads anymore" but the trends are very obvious. There are so many more entertainment options out there now that the market has become very fragmented.

Would I be surprised if Apple added eBook functionality to the iPhone/iPod Touch or a tablet style device? No, because Apple doesn't foreshadow its future products. I would be surprised though if Apple came out w/a dedicated eBook reader. That, IMO, would be a dead-end product.


Lethal

slackpacker
Jan 16, 2008, 04:06 PM
People don't read anymore?! RDF.

Yes I'm sure Steve paid some employee or marketing firm to find out this information.

Now that I have my MacBook Pro I don't read anymore... facts is facts

redrabbit
Jan 16, 2008, 04:07 PM
But then again, paperbacks don't lie flat, books aren't searchable and they take up a lot of space that people don't have today.

To all those Luddites who claim that print is "special", I'm sure Apple could give us an iReader that smells like leather and has a built-in compartment to hold silverfish.


I wonder if all these people who feel print is special also love getting smeared ink on their fingers when they read newspapers. I bet they love dealing with flipping pages on the paper and finding the story in tiny ink. Screw that, I love reading the times on my kindle. I find the story I like in the index and it instantly brings me to it. It's compact and fast and I love not having to throw out the paper. It's all digital.

When iTunes music store came out, people said they prefer holding their music on CDs and still some people say Vinyl is the way to hold your music. Well, that hasn't stopped the digital music store from taking off.

Graphis
Jan 16, 2008, 04:24 PM
Perhaps 40% of America don't read any more because 40% of America is comprised of idiots?

Ne'er a truer word was spoken, or at least, that's what the rest of the world thinks:D

Now, now, don't get all defensive and patriotic on me: obviously, if you're too dumb to read you won't be here on this forum, so I'm clearly not insulting YOU personally! But Americans are viewed as dumber by the rest of the world, and that massive figure of 40% just goes to show why.

Personally, from a business point of view, I'm fed up of dealing with Americans who think I've priced my stuff in dollars, and are amazed to discover we don't use dollars in my country:eek: Don't they teach anything in schools over there?

And, heh... the irony is that the "stuff" I'm selling is ... ummm... books:)

Fastshutter
Jan 16, 2008, 04:32 PM
I can't justify a Kindle and $10.00 e-books. I have an old fashioned library card for myself and my family. This year my goal is to read the top 100 Scifi novels of all time. A Kindle will set me back $400, and 100 novels at $10 will set me back another $1,000. That is just what I read, not including my wife and daughters reading habits.

My Library card costs $50 a year Vs. $1,400 I would invest in a Kindle just to reach my current goal. If the library doesn't have a book I want, I pay a whopping dollar for interlibrary exchange.

The only benefit a Kindle would offer me is saving me the trip to the Library, but I find it a fun thing to do with the family. Kindle might be a great alternative to people who sink $100+ a month at Barnes & Noble and Borders, but your average library card holder (who I would guess make up a majority of avid readers) laughs at the cost.

I'm not tied to the feel of a real book in my hands either. If the cost of a Kindle became more in line with what I pay for the volumes of content I read, then I could consider purchasing one. If Apple offered a slightly bigger iPod Touch that had an e-book reader, I could see myself going in that direction too--as long as the cost of the books was cheaper than $10 a pop.

The chances that Apple would offer books at a reasonable rate? Zilch.

weg
Jan 16, 2008, 04:37 PM
On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs sees the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more,

I think, nowadays there are a lot more people who read books than 50 years ago.. if I'd be able to read PDFs on the Kindle (I mean all PDFs, not just the ones that are benignly formatted) I'd buy a Kindle immediately. I've about a hundred scientific papers scattered all over my desk in my office, I'd be absotely willing to pay $300-$400 to get rid of that mess. $1700 for a thin laptop that's actually larger than my 12" powerbook, well, I'm not so sure about that...

othersongs
Jan 16, 2008, 04:43 PM
"people don't read anymore"

that is a pretty asinine comment. It is about as asinine as the idea of making an electronic reader. But nonetheless, it's not the most effective anti-electronic reader argument available.

I think the real problem at hand is that "people don't read anymore". If 40% of Americans don't read books... than 40% of (North) Americans need to stop watching 2hr episodes of The Biggest Loser and pick up a book.

MacBoySeattle
Jan 16, 2008, 04:54 PM
LOL Has nobody else seen the irony in Steve "Moron" Jobs talking about marketshare? Based on his specious logic, "nobody" buys his over priced fancy toy Mac garbage either. You would think a flim flam artist who sells over priced fancy looking junk to 10% of the population would think twice about characterizing other products or industries as niche. If you didn't have legions of kool aid drinking idiots buying your small marketshare products, you'd be a poor hippy. I hate to break it to you steve-o, "nobody" buys macs either, with 10% of marketshare if that, that's less people than read 1 book LOL.

I think Steves a little upset that his Macbook Air is a miserable failure as an "ultra portable" with a footprint the size of an elephant. Oh wait, but its so thin! LOL

drake
Jan 16, 2008, 04:56 PM
Steve Jobs is quite the intellectual. That there are so many Al Gore fan boys pretty much proves his point though. :p

slackpacker
Jan 16, 2008, 05:02 PM
"people don't read anymore"

that is a pretty asinine comment. It is about as asinine as the idea of making an electronic reader. But nonetheless, it's not the most effective anti-electronic reader argument available.

I think the real problem at hand is that "people don't read anymore". If 40% of Americans don't read books... than 40% of (North) Americans need to stop watching 2hr episodes of The Biggest Loser and pick up a book.

The biggest probelm here and we are all victim to it.... is INFORMATION OVERLOAD. Back in the day Newpaper,Books, TV (13 Channels), Newspapers, Mail (postoffice) and Phone.... Rotory...Radio. I'm sure there are many more like telegraph... and Phonograph....

Now we have PDA's, Cellphones, Phone, Kindels, TV (700 Channels), INTERNET, Mail, Email, SMS, Elevator video, Laptops, ipods, Blu-Ray, DVD, HD-DVD. Wireless, Bluetooth...PS3,Xbox FAX, DVR, VHS, DV, MPEG, QUicktime, DIVX, MP3.... the list will go on and on.... there are just so many things taking up our time ..... who has time any more...

All the things that are saving us time are using up our time.

dmr727
Jan 16, 2008, 05:21 PM
One reason why I wouldn't want an iPod/iPhone based reader is that I enjoy reading outside. The digital ink technology doesn't wash out in sunlight.

DaBrain
Jan 16, 2008, 05:29 PM
Steve may be misreading what the market is for ebooks, but he has a lot better handle on what's actually ocurring than a lot of folks here, who seem to be shooting from the hip and not thinking a whole lot about it.



Quite possible. He'll probably do something in a distinctly different way, though, with more of an emphasis on style and usability.

Yep! It will be THIN! Thinner than a piece of paper and can't be weighed! In fact it will be so thin one will not be able to read or see it! :D:rolleyes:

DaBrain
Jan 16, 2008, 05:30 PM
WTF is RDF???

Can't you READ? :p

RMD-
Jan 16, 2008, 05:31 PM
If people don't read: why is Jobs doing interviews with the NY TIMES?

So… do you read the interview in the NY Times or do you read about it on a webpage? Print is not dead, but it will get unimportant. And to go online you will use a computer (video, audio, programs, colors!), and not use something like the b&w kindle.

DaBrain
Jan 16, 2008, 05:34 PM
I agree that people read far less BOOKS than they used to, but isn't that largely because of our busy lifestyles, our growing love for modern 'new media' alternatives etc?

Isn't that the point of these mac computers, to gel everything that you need, and put them all at your fingertips? I think it is less about people not reading, and more because people aren't used to the whole concept of purchasing digital books online...yet. iTunes store will never make the kind of sales on books that they do with music.

The problem is you can't sell books to any generation of people in the same glittery way as you can blockbuster movies.

I do think you could gradually get consumer interest going by providing a digital link & code system on every paperback book in Borders for example, meaning that you have purchased the book and the link to download it for viewing on your tablet if desired.

I can see that the the many creative pros and pro-sumers would gain from having the kind of touchscreen tablet that would allow them to tweak their digital creations without the need of a wacom tablet. To be able to have all the features of every other mac in your lap, as light as a macbook air, a tablet would have all the convenience of reading a magazine, easy to pick up, easy to put down, easy to pass around and doesn't make you look as if you've brought work along with you wherever you go. Be a hardcore user, do seriously amazing stuff, but the chance to appear casual about it, instead of a computer geek.

I think a multi-touch, touch screen tablet form mac would be huge. The Macbook Air minus the keyboard would be a great start.

Except the start up cost to the consumer! That would be one hell of a price even before buying your first ebook!:eek:

DaBrain
Jan 16, 2008, 05:42 PM
If no one reads, then how do you explain all the fact that the NY Times still sells, barnes&noble is still packed around me and blogs are abundant, I think more people just read online, but hell I still read lots of books.

Also, we know Jobs is egomaniacal, this isn't something new. His being this wrong is though...

I agree though, that reading will not be as popular as listening to music, it never was because it requires effort to learn.

The funny thing about this is that the pre-requisite to buying music, using a Mac, buying on line movies etc.... etc.... is that One FIRST must be able to read! Just another arrogant pompous ass statement by the man himself, SJ! :rolleyes:

MrCrowbar
Jan 16, 2008, 05:55 PM
Excellent idea, with two minor drawbacks:

1... eInk is opaque, and cannot be backlit.
2... backlights are what stress eyes in LCD displays in the first place, and thus defeats the main benefit of eInk: reflected light that looks more like paper.

I remember seeing that budget Motorola phone with e-ink and some sort of Backlight. Or maybe the screen was sunken in a little and lighted from the sides. Anyway, there should be a way to have some kind of reading light without having to resort to a lamp when on a plane, car or whatever. Reading in the dark is bad too. Oh well, guess it will never come to life since no one wants a dedicated device just for reading I guess.

A pocket book sized tablet would still be neat tho. The Macbook Air shows us how small a motherboard can be. I say, put 2 GB of soldered on RAM and a 1.8" iPod HDD on it. Maybe add 2GB Flash for swapping and/or sleep image. Make the battery big enough to last minimum 6 hours when actually using the device and just have a normal version of OSX running on it. think EEEPC, but as a pretty, mobile tablet.

blashphemy
Jan 16, 2008, 06:05 PM
Didn't Steve once denounce portable media players?

Didn't Steve once deny that they were making a phone?

Didn't Steve state that he dislikes ultra-portables because he dislikes any kind of tradeoff in performance?

Uhhhmmmm..... yeah. Next big thing coming from Apple - the Apple Kindle (got a nice ring doesn't it?)

mac-er
Jan 16, 2008, 06:31 PM
Funny, my wife reads plenty.

Your wife is not 300 million people.

All those comments on here and that blog about how they know someone who reads or see 100 people at bookstore proves that everyone still reads makes me laugh.

It is like the people who get 4 feet of snow in their neighborhood and say "Hey, there isn't any climate change!"

There is a difference between micro and macro. Learn it.

BigHat
Jan 16, 2008, 06:35 PM
My Kindle arrives next week. I guess I should throw it out. And I apologize for reading books. Shame on me.


Thousands moan and groan daily about Amazon's inability to deliver these in under a month after one orders. Such a dismal failure. ;)

P-Worm
Jan 16, 2008, 06:35 PM
I hate reading.

P-Worm

rjfiske
Jan 16, 2008, 06:46 PM
Some of you are taking his comments way too personally. I don't think Steve was saying that people shouldn't read. He was simply saying they don't... not enough to warrant creating a new product or duplicating a current one. His comments were from a business perspective, not a human one.

Those who read, in his opinion, are few and far between (which is in fact a true statement). Of those who do, there are not enough that would shell out a few hundred simply to do what they are already doing, only on the road. Reading a book (a novel anyway) is often a several-day procedure per book. This is in contrast to the iPod, where each song lasts for a few minutes. Therefore it's more convenient to have several songs in your pocket every day... not as convenient or necessary to carry several books at once.

I don't think he was being arrogant, or difficult, or condescending, or rude. He was being realistic. And I'd like to think that the Kindle caters to the novel reader, not the textbook/reference book reader. I know that there's no way I'd have my Kindle out while referring to the substance of a book. I'd want my handwritten dog-eared highlighted textbook instead. Jobs knows this.

Just my opinion. I could be wrong.

MattInOz
Jan 16, 2008, 07:15 PM
"people don't read anymore"

that is a pretty asinine comment. It is about as asinine as the idea of making an electronic reader. But nonetheless, it's not the most effective anti-electronic reader argument available.

I think the real problem at hand is that "people don't read anymore". If 40% of Americans don't read books... than 40% of (North) Americans need to stop watching 2hr episodes of The Biggest Loser and pick up a book.

40% don't read, the other 60% don't just read.
So really not much market as the ones interested would see the technology and wonder what it offers.
Reduces paper - just like a library
Easy to distribute - good but not a king hit.

It's electronic - so i can underline and make comments then have them search able and cut and paste into the paper i'm writing.
There's your selling advantage. Can Kindle do this?
I guess no as it not a highlighted feature.

Is this what Steve is really referring to. the market isn't served by the product.

tangledweb16
Jan 16, 2008, 07:17 PM
I spend enough time looking at digital screens all day. I'll never convince myself that curling up on the couch with some electronic book displaying gadget is better than having a tangible book in my hands. There's something satisfying about physically turning a page.

Maybe I'm just old . . . :/

No...I'm barely 17 and I have used a Kindle, and I greatly prefer a real book, not to mention real books are cheaper.

As far as the MBA goes...I don't really understand what they are trying to do with it. Seems like they should have either made it super small or made it better and replaced the Macbook with it.

xrayzed
Jan 16, 2008, 07:25 PM
US book sales in 2006 = $24.2 billion dollars.

Nobody reads books any more = utter bollocks.

Kar98
Jan 16, 2008, 07:27 PM
Not really.

Folks may not like it, but there's a great deal of truth to what he said (please remember that Amazon is a retailer of books--they're sucking up market from large chains and smaller books). People in the publishing industry has voiced concerns like his for quite some time.

So what's Amazon gotta do with the nonsensical claim that "people don't read anymore"?

Kar98
Jan 16, 2008, 07:44 PM
How many books were sold last year?


"New York, NY, May 22, 2007: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has today released its annual estimate of total book sales in the United States. The report, which uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-one publishers inclusive of all major book publishing media market holders, estimates that U.S. publishers had net sales of $24.2 billion in 2006.

"Trade sales of adult and juvenile books grew 2.9 percent to $8.3 billion, a compound growth rate of 3.7 percent per year since 2002. The strongest growth in this category came from adult paperback books whose sales rose 8.5 percent on last year to a total of $2.3 billion. Adult hardbound books also had a strong year growing by 4.1 percent to $2.6 billion."

"Mass market paperbacks saw growth of 4.6 percent in 2006 reaching $1.1 billion."

Kar98
Jan 16, 2008, 07:52 PM
A huge portable personal library is the correct model for music, it is not for books. Who needs to carry around more than one book at a time.

Rubbish :)
Who knows what mood strikes me. Seriously, I read everywhere, on the front porch, on the crapper, at the coffee shop, in bed, waiting in line, riding public transportation...

A book can last from days to weeks, so just carry the book,

My book reader fits into the pockets of my jeans and weighs less than a bar of soap. The book re-opens where I last left it, I can copy text, read in the dark, I can grab a bunch of books and won't be left without anything to read should the first one turn out to suck.

The book reader also does phone calls and has a GPS navigation built in, and you can even browse the internet with it or send text messages. Would to music and video too, if I cared for that. Can you say a truly personal computer?

SheriffParker
Jan 16, 2008, 07:52 PM
I've seen people read before. What is this guy talking about?

SheriffParker
Jan 16, 2008, 07:54 PM
Rubbish :)
Who knows what mood strikes me. Seriously, I read everywhere, on the front porch, on the crapper, at the coffee shop, in bed, waiting in line, riding public transportation...

So you seriously switch books every 5 minutes or so the way people switch songs on their iPod?

Kar98
Jan 16, 2008, 07:58 PM
I think what he meant to say was, "Not ENOUGH people read to justify INVESTING TENS OF MILLIONS OR MORE on a niche device."

Audio books are niche market. Yet they are sold through iTunes. You know, since you brought up the "investing tens of millions" argument, why not sell e-books that can be read through the iTunes store? I would love that and now that the iPod touch has actually become a bit more useful, I might even buy one. All the infrastructure and the devices are in freaking place!

Kar98
Jan 16, 2008, 08:02 PM
So you seriously switch books every 5 minutes or so the way people switch songs on their iPod?

What gave you that idea? :confused:

MattInOz
Jan 16, 2008, 08:10 PM
Audio books are niche market. Yet they are sold through iTunes. You know, since you brought up the "investing tens of millions" argument, why not sell e-books that can be read through the iTunes store? I would love that and now that the iPod touch has actually become a bit more useful, I might even buy one. All the infrastructure and the devices are in freaking place!

Um... Audio Books are sold to Apple by a single company, similar to a record company, they have already sorted out all the copyright issues and sell the product by what ever retail channel they choose.

If there are companies selling eBooks with the same assurance then why not sell them via iTunes. Not sure there is, that would be the sticking point.

MrCrowbar
Jan 16, 2008, 08:24 PM
Here's how I would like a tablet Mac. Compact enough for the coat pocket, just powerful enough for Leopard:

(Mockup)
http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/7007/mactabletuprightbx0.jpg
http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/3074/mactablethk5.jpg
http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/7091/trackpadqh0.jpg
http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/5304/cursorys0.jpg


Synced to a big Mac (no pun intended), you could use it as a large multitouch trackpad, display widgets or to do remote desktop.

sishaw
Jan 16, 2008, 08:34 PM
Here's how I would like a tablet Mac. Compact enough for the coat pocket, just powerful enough for Leopard:

(Mockup)
http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/7007/mactabletuprightbx0.jpg



Ooh, snazzy. I like it!

ktbubster
Jan 16, 2008, 08:45 PM
that is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post a few pages back. THAT would be great. I think if it were something like that AND itunes added textbooks from big universities at itunes U and ebooks as well... that would be huge. Not to mention newspapers and magazines ... let you do the puzzle stuff on there to pass time.

Add some 3G and wifi... who knows what else and you have a HUGE winner. Make it affordable enough for a student... that would be HUGE HUGE HUGE. I'd must rather have my textbooks and reading books in something like that that i could also do homework and take notes on. (and highlight directly from the text!)

joeshell383
Jan 16, 2008, 08:45 PM
As far as the MBA goes...I don't really understand what they are trying to do with it. Seems like they should have either made it super small or made it better and replaced the Macbook with it.

I believe that AT SOME POINT the Air will be merged with the MB and will be offered in two or more screen sizes, with the Pro becoming more upgradeable and powerful than ever.

2 More Things about the direction of the Air:

1) It makes you more dependent on them for everything:

iTunes for movies, songs,
Time Capsule for additional storage and backup
iPod/iPhone for content on the go
.Mac for quick storage/sharing

2) It will advance technology:

- The iMac dropped ADB and the Floppy
- Apple has dropped the modem, which is still included on most PC laptops
- By dropping Firewire and limiting USB to 1 port, they are setting up the world (again), to move forward...

All devices will go wireless (printers, scanners, mice, keyboards, HDD, digital cameras, iPod/iPhone, etc.) and software will be downloaded from the internet and archived on your Time Capsule.

I like the tech advances this will bring (if they stick with it, since sales will be poor after the initial rush without price cuts, but they had REALLY BE CAREFUL ABOUT PRICE CUTS), but I don't like the lock in to Apple, especially with there being NO legal video alternative to the iTunes on the Mac/iPod/iPhone for downloads because ALL other services use WM.

I will say this, and I'm not one to make predictions, especially after Thread 500, but the Apple TV "Take 2" will MOST LIKELY (not any guarantee) flop. Steve will have to go to "Take 3". Here's why: there is no need for anyone to purchase ATV as is. If someone has digital cable they can ALREADY rent movies for 24 hours for 3.99, with no download fuss necessary. Sure you can't transfer it to your iPod/iPhone, but most people want to watch movies in their living room. The TV shows will never take off without a subscription service. Reasons go on and on. We'll see.

uv23
Jan 16, 2008, 09:08 PM
What an idiotic statement. Very unfortunate coming from Steve Jobs. Everyone in my circle of friends read plenty, and we're hardly bookish intellectuals.

winterspan
Jan 16, 2008, 09:09 PM
I am going to ignore that portion Of society that doesnt read much of anything. For everyone else, I would posit that they tend to read MORE,
And the only reason that paper book sales are down is the enormous influence of the internet/"new media". I know ive certainly reduced the amount of books ive read in the past few years as a result of blogs, news websites, magazine ebsites, wikipedia, ebooks, etc, and i doubt im alone either. Because of this trend i can definitely see the demand for an eink reader in that it will be able to carry not just traditional books, but all these new forms of media as well... Thoughts?

cfw123
Jan 16, 2008, 09:10 PM
Good thing that Jeff Bezos didn't hear Jobs say

On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs sees the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more, suggesting a dedicated Apple book-reader is unlikely in the near future:

"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."

before he founded Amazon.com -- the biggest book store in the world.

I have way too many books on over-full shelves, and bought my Kindle the moment it was announced, finally getting it on Dec. 4th. I absolutely love it, and it goes whereever I go -- to the john, to bed where it's the only "book" I have ever found I could read in bed, to restaurants, to stores where my wife leaves me in the car to go in for "just a short time". I have gotten more reading done in a single day since my Kindle came than I could have gotten done in a month before. I currently have 72 books on it, and anticipate having many many more eventually -- I like to read in multiple books at a time.

And comments like Jobs made are exactly what is causing our terrible loss of reading skills in our schools. Why should our students learn to read when Jobs obviously cannot -- at least he can't read book sales statistics.

Charles Wilkes, San Jose, Calif.

redrabbit
Jan 16, 2008, 09:13 PM
If people want a magical mac tablet that is iphone-like touchscreen and is powerful enough to run OS X, and seeing as the MBA was $1800, how much do you people honestly expect it to cost? Not $400, that's for sure.

matticus008
Jan 16, 2008, 09:21 PM
By the same logic there's no reason to make the iPod because 75% of people go to one or fewer symphonic performances a year.
If you're talking about a product that only replicates the sense of being at the symphony, then yeah, it would be a strange market to go after.

Obviously it's not that people don't engage in written communication--it's just that a dedicated 'eBook device' isn't the next Big Thing. Entertainment reading was an $8 billion industry according that other post. Of those, many are like our English lit friend earlier in the thread--into literature. Those people aren't going to replace their hardcover, leatherbound books with a Kindle or anything like it.

Literature will remain an experience with text and paper and the crinkling of book spines. That's why nice "shelf" sets exist and are so expensive and profitable for publishers. A good book is like a fine formal place setting. An eBook is plastic cutlery and a paper plate. They both get the job done, but the meal is enhanced by its sensual experience.

An eBook reader really only potentially replaces the disposable entertainment read--the newest Stephen King or Danielle Steel or Janet Evanovich. Most people read short stories and Internet content, not books. Most people also wouldn't buy a dedicated device to replace those books. There certainly is a market for people who do read the stuff that is constantly churned out, but it's not a large one.

eBook software is really more or less obviated by a device that can display PDFs in an attractive and easy manner. Something like a Kindle won't revolutionize books the way proponents of eBooks 10 years ago thought. Even if it's a great product (and it is), it's kind of like microfiche and laserdisc--an evolutionary dead end. It doesn't have the institutional support that has kept microfiche alive, either.
People don't read anymore? I've been thinking for awhile Steve has lost it, but that seals it up for me. People may not read books as much as they used to, but I read more now than I ever have when you count school textbooks, various news papers (both print and online), and then general websites.
That's not the kind of reading implied...none of that describes what a Kindle does. People don't read books (as an activity) that much. People read (as a mechanism for inputting information) all day, but that's not the sense of the word in the interview.

It increasingly looks like the popular fiction writers would do better releasing books in chapters on a subscription-service blog to mesh better with modern lifestyles, rather than publishing a couple books each year.

PVguy
Jan 16, 2008, 09:36 PM
Snort!

What I will say is that when I read a book, it is because I don't want to read a computer screen. Books are different. I read them for different purposes. Out under the tree, lounging on the beach, where ever. When I do that, I do not want to fool with batteries, screens you can't read in bright light, or getting sand out of a USB port or keyboard.

As Isaac Asimov pointed out years ago, it's going to be really hard to displace the paperback.

Now using a Kindle or Laptop to hold tech manuals for repair work, or research makes sense. But recreational reading? No.

redrabbit
Jan 16, 2008, 09:42 PM
Don't knock it until you try it.

tny
Jan 16, 2008, 10:09 PM
Entertainment reading was an $8 billion industry according that other post. Of those, many are like our English lit friend earlier in the thread--into literature. Those people aren't going to replace their hardcover, leatherbound books with a Kindle or anything like it.

An eBook reader really only potentially replaces the disposable entertainment read--the newest Stephen King or Danielle Steel or Janet Evanovich. Most people read short stories and Internet content, not books. Most people also wouldn't buy a dedicated device to replace those books. People don't read books (as an activity) that much.

It increasingly looks like the popular fiction writers would do better releasing books in chapters on a subscription-service blog to mesh better with modern lifestyles, rather than publishing a couple books each year.


Actually, no.

I buy an average of one iTunes album a week, and an average of two books a week. Most of the books I buy are "substantial" - literature, history, scholarship, etc. I also own a Sony Reader. I'd use the Sony Reader a great deal more if the book prices were more in line with reality (and I've worked in publishing, so I know how much of the cost of a book is editorial production, which is not saved by the use of an e-reader, and how much of the cost is due to paper, printing, and distribution) and there were a decent selection (the average Borders has at least an order of magnitude more books, and the overall quality of the selection is better - let alone a good, large independent bookstore). Ideally I'd like to have electronic copies and paper copies of the same books, so I could carry the Reader around and continue where I left off in the paper copy while in a waiting room, etc.

I use a lot of my library for reference. In the average day, I'll refer to at least 5 books, and actually read a third of a book or so. Add in purely electronic books (e.g., Gutenberg), and there are of course some reference works that I never *read* in any continuous sense, that comes out about right.

So while I'll never stop buying dead-tree books (like I have all but stopped buying CDs), there's definitely a place for an e-reader in my practices, at least. I'm probably far down the long tail of the iTunes consumer, but I see enough people browsing around at bookstores to know that Jobs' claim that nobody reads is ignorant Silicon Valley prejudice. I'm sure that nobody he knows reads - but then, Jobs was never known as a great intellectual, was he? Hell of a salesmen, and knows design talent better than nearly anyone else, but Bertram Russell he's not. If I needed a CEO for my entertainment or hardware company, I'd call Jobs. If I needed a Chancellor for a University, he most certainly would not be on my short list.

DukeofAnkh
Jan 16, 2008, 10:29 PM
For Kindle, sounds like an interesting idea. Does anybody know if it can also read aloud the books? Good for people who have a hard time reading (blind, young kids or adults just learning how to read). This would be cool on iPods & the iPhone. I know iPods have a note feature, but it would be cool if you can add books to it, too. A program I've found for cataloging books is at books.aetherial.net. The author of the program wants to add a feature where it can also download the actual texts of books and also to sync it to iPods. Looks interesting. <snip>

This site (http://www.ambience.sk/ipod-ebook-creator/ipod-book-notes-text-conversion.php) will convert large text files to ipod notes readable chunks. It's limited by the fact that ipods can only store up to 4 MB (I think... it was something like that, anyway) of notes. If you google "Text to mp3" there are a bunch of hits that will make audiobooks out of your ebooks, though I suspect they all use those silly computer voices. (I haven't actually done this second one, since I'm happy just downloading audiobooks from Gutenberg

Would it really be so hard for Apple to make the notes feature on ipods more versatile? I would love to be able to properly read ebooks on my ipod, the small screen doesn't bother me and it would be so much more convenient than carrying a book around (or resorting to audiobooks because a book won't fit in my bag that day). Actually, I don't like carrying books around at all. I love my books and hate to see them damaged. I'm one of those anal people that doesn't bend the spines on my paper backs. Which is beside the point.

It would also be nice if notes didn't jump back to Now Playing within 5 seconds of me taking my finger of the scroll wheel. I mean, c'mon, it takes more than 5 seconds to read a full screen of the smallest ipod text. AND after it's jumped to now playing, Menuing back to the note loses your place. WTF is up with that? I don't want to have to be re-finding my place every time I forget to scroll continuously. And if using linked files the site above makes, it jumps back to the start of the FIRST file you opened, which is even worse since who pays attention to how many "pages" they turn?

It's not like it would be hard to fix any of that, either, Steve.

A huge portable personal library is the correct model for music, it is not for books. Who needs to carry around more than one book at a time. A song lasts 5 min, so the portability of hundreds of songs needs a solution. A book can last from days to weeks, so just carry the book, its not a problem that needs solving (certainly not in a dedicated device). The displays use wonderful technology, they can be used for all sorts of great stuff, but having 1000 books in my pocket is not useful.

How about something smaller and more durable than a book? And there are plenty of situations (long flights, about to finish current book) when it'd be great to carry extra books around without the extra space/weight.

Here's how I would like a tablet Mac. Compact enough for the coat pocket, just powerful enough for Leopard:

(Mockup)

<images snipped>

Synced to a big Mac (no pun intended), you could use it as a large multitouch trackpad, display widgets or to do remote desktop.

I like that. Especially if you could use it for most things you use in leopard (I'm not expecting high end apps to work, but maybe with the capabilities of the Air).

maokh
Jan 17, 2008, 01:08 AM
I hate books. I don't read them. Yes, im a published author, go figure. I'm glad Steve Jobs had the nerve to say it.

zen
Jan 17, 2008, 01:24 AM
Sorry Steve, but your comments about reading are just cretinous. I suspect the answer is that HE doesn't read, therefore why should anyone else?

matticus008
Jan 17, 2008, 02:03 AM
I buy an average of one iTunes album a week, and an average of two books a week. Most of the books I buy are "substantial" - literature, history, scholarship, etc.
So in other words, you're nowhere near the typical consumer in this regard.
Ideally I'd like to have electronic copies and paper copies of the same books, so I could carry the Reader around and continue where I left off in the paper copy while in a waiting room, etc.
And you're now even in a smaller minority of people willing to pay twice for the same thing, but clearly would return to the paper copy wherever possible.

You, like most heavy readers, have a clear preference for an actual book and use an eBook device only where it is more convenient than having an actual book--which boils down to when you're traveling. The eBook doesn't replace books and doesn't really justify its existence--and is one more thing to carry. You don't really picture anyone curling up with a Kindle loaded up with Chaucer by the fire.

An eBook device is an evolutionary dead end and a unitasker to boot. It could easily be replaced by a full-featured multifunction device like a tablet, notebook, iPhone, or PDA.
I see enough people browsing around at bookstores to know that Jobs' claim that nobody reads is ignorant Silicon Valley prejudice.
And such an interpretation is effete superiority. Silicon Valley is an affluent area that probably has more Kindle customers per capita than just about anywhere else in the country.

That doesn't change the simple fact that eBook devices are a solution looking for a problem. They don't track with modern life--novel-format prose has ebbed.

In the bookstore, how much of that audience is there to pick up a book of prose (not DVDs or magazines or computer/home guides)? How much of that small fraction is composed of people under 35?

An eBook reader doesn't do anything useful that a subscription blog or an Internet content delivery system couldn't replace on any net-connected device bigger than a cell phone. Coupled with the fact that people truly don't chug through entertainment prose in printed form nearly as much, it's got a narrow market that doesn't invite a lot of competition.

Coffee table books, comics, periodicals, how-to guides (gardening, home projects, etc.), reference books, and capital-L literature don't mesh with an eBook format. It only really works for the novel-format (be it fiction or nonfiction), and apart from the small set of voracious readers, it doesn't really serve much of a purpose.

willdenow
Jan 17, 2008, 03:47 AM
Attention all primary, secondary and college students! Schools out for ever. According to his holiness Steve Jobs, the Grand Poohbah and Chief Inquisitor of Apple, Inc. prognosticator of right thinking everywhere, people don't read anymore. Therefore, why bother going to school to learn to learn your letters, how to spell, hell how even to read. Like the book says, everything I need to know in life I can find on my iPod Touch.

Brilliant, Steve. You may not be embarrassed by your own lack of literacy, but please let the rest of us decide for ourselves. Kindle, as a product, will rise or fall based on its design, not based on whether people read. If there were truly as little reading as you suggest, there would be no publishing industry whatsoever. Last time I looked, the pages of the London Review of Books, the New Times Book Review Section, the New York Review of Books, etc. where full of new titles, not to mention Borders, Barnes and Noble, and countless local bookstores. I'm sure the news that people don't read anymore will come as quite a surprise to them.

Bonte
Jan 17, 2008, 04:09 AM
Steve has it on the spot, 99% of the population listens to music but only about 10-20% reads a book regularly. A book being a non illustrated novel where the Kindle is aimed at.

We have so much more than that, a next gen ebook reader has to offer us comics, color illustrations and full multimedia next to the bare text (PDF can already do this easily). The anticipated small Mac tablet will be a much better ebook device than the Kindle, we just need PDF content in the iTunes Store and Google is already building up that library.

Still to come in 2008?

AdrianWerner
Jan 17, 2008, 06:19 AM
Apple never liked any competition and Amazon is the first real competitor iTunes ever had. Of course it's not like Amazon will overthrow Apple at most Amazon migh make a small dent in iTunes marketshare, but loosing even 10% of market in 3-4 years would be a big deal for Apple). SO I guess there is some bad blood there :D

Anyway Kindle is a huge success for Amazon. It is clunky and has problems, but it succeeds in something neither iphone/ithouch nor any other lcd device could: it replicates the experience of reading paper books. LCDs are nice, heck... I started my "ebook adventure" with PALM PDAs, but once you tried e-ink device there's no coming back. Everything else is just pathetic in comparision.
People might cite readership numbers, but the fact is that books market is growing nicely. US publishers saw AFAIR $25billion sales in 2006. And sales grew in every segment. Adult, paperbacks, children etc. So even if less people are reading than before, those that do read more than ever.
The market is there to tap into.
In next 10-15 years we'll see book market transformation similiar to the one music market did in last decade and most likely Amazon will be as big in e-publishing as iTunes is now in e-music

Scarpad
Jan 17, 2008, 06:50 AM
I wonder what it is that people turned away from reading books !? Audiobooks, no time, ... ??? Wonders ...

Because they've been zombiefied by the likes of Jerry Springer, Dancing With the Stars, and Wife Swap... Kinda explains the situation we are in , in the world.

Scarpad
Jan 17, 2008, 06:52 AM
Steve, I've been reading plenty on my New Sony Reader, so there.

Scarpad
Jan 17, 2008, 06:54 AM
I love reading, and preferably actual books. I also spend way too much time in front of an LCD every day to feel OK about cozying up to another LCD to read. Though the Kindle has definitely intrigued me, but I haven't yet found a steady supply of eBooks in my genres (steampunk, new weird, future dystopia, and more standard sci-fi and fantasy) to justify the expenditure. Maybe Kindle II for me, although the library would always be my first choice, followed by the local bookstores.

Steve's just trying to do what any CEO would do - promote his stuff at the expense of other companies' stuff. Though that his comments mirror his competitors' from a year ago, well, that's the patina washing off. Someday he'll realize that the emperor has no clothes.

Kindle isn't an LCD it's E-ink.

Smaugg
Jan 17, 2008, 07:14 AM
"People don't read any more" Has Steve gone bonkers?

I do resent the fact that Apple is only interested in providing the most populist forms of entertainment: trendy, ephimerous music, blockbuster films, the latest TV shows, etc. I wish they put a bit of effort in, for example, building a library of classics and hard-to-find films, TV shows, music and--why not?--books, and making them available through the iTunes Store. A proper Apple e-book reader would be fantastic. Everything else in the market is kind of flawed. The Kindle is interesting but the fact that it is a fest of DRM and proprietary formats, not to mention unglier than a monkey's ass, makes it unappealing to me.

The bottom line is not that people are not reading, it's that you can make more money selling mindless ringtones than literary works.

ikir
Jan 17, 2008, 07:18 AM
I think he is right, people red much more less nowdays.

Smaugg
Jan 17, 2008, 07:18 AM
Attention all primary, secondary and college students! Schools out for ever. According to his holiness Steve Jobs, the Grand Poohbah and Chief Inquisitor of Apple, Inc. prognosticator of right thinking everywhere, people don't read anymore. Therefore, why bother going to school to learn to learn your letters, how to spell, hell how even to read. Like the book says, everything I need to know in life I can find on my iPod Touch.

Brilliant, Steve. You may not be embarrassed by your own lack of literacy, but please let the rest of us decide for ourselves. Kindle, as a product, will rise or fall based on its design, not based on whether people read. If there were truly as little reading as you suggest, there would be no publishing industry whatsoever. Last time I looked, the pages of the London Review of Books, the New Times Book Review Section, the New York Review of Books, etc. where full of new titles, not to mention Borders, Barnes and Noble, and countless local bookstores. I'm sure the news that people don't read anymore will come as quite a surprise to them.

You are spot on. The world hasn't turned into a menagerie of moronic serial ring-tone downloaders, as Steve might be under the impression it has.

AdrianWerner
Jan 17, 2008, 07:18 AM
Kindle isn't an LCD it's E-ink.
Yeah... people really have no idea how good e-ink looks untill they try it. Pictures and videos just can't show it. It really does look like paper, so much that after a while you can actualy forget you're reading from a screen.

ikir
Jan 17, 2008, 07:23 AM
Attention all primary, secondary and college students! Schools out for ever. According to his holiness Steve Jobs, the Grand Poohbah and Chief Inquisitor of Apple, Inc. prognosticator of right thinking everywhere, people don't read anymore. Therefore, why bother going to school to learn to learn your letters, how to spell, hell how even to read. Like the book says, everything I need to know in life I can find on my iPod Touch.

Brilliant, Steve. You may not be embarrassed by your own lack of literacy, but please let the rest of us decide for ourselves. Kindle, as a product, will rise or fall based on its design, not based on whether people read. If there were truly as little reading as you suggest, there would be no publishing industry whatsoever. Last time I looked, the pages of the London Review of Books, the New Times Book Review Section, the New York Review of Books, etc. where full of new titles, not to mention Borders, Barnes and Noble, and countless local bookstores. I'm sure the news that people don't read anymore will come as quite a surprise to them.

OMG... comments like this is nosense. Attacking Steve it is soo easy behind a monitor lol. About the topic: you misses what his comments are about. Most of people i know read 1 book a year... He is just saying that people don't read too much. why you must read another things?

Philter
Jan 17, 2008, 07:23 AM
40% read less than a book a year... what about the other 60%?

Steve Jobs doesn't seem like a genius, he seems like a prick, and an anti-intellectual one at that.

Philter
Jan 17, 2008, 07:25 AM
Steve has it on the spot, 99% of the population listens to music

Being stuck in an elevator doesn't count. What percentage of the population BUYS music?

tsvb
Jan 17, 2008, 07:34 AM
Did anyone mention that the last part of the article isn't ironic it is coincidental.

evilyankeefan
Jan 17, 2008, 07:35 AM
What's humorous is Steve's comment on the Kindle made me revisit looking at it. Blew it off when it was announced as it was pretty ugly looking (well still is), but upon reading reviews and looking at the videos, it's a slick device. Yeah it's got faults, but what 1st gen product doesn't.

Ordered one and I'm going to have to wait for weeks to get it as it is so backordered. That's fine, I have a few books I need to finish reading.

I think it's made at the same plant as Wii's. :)

AdrianWerner
Jan 17, 2008, 07:41 AM
OMG... comments like this is nosense. Attacking Steve it is soo easy behind a monitor lol. About the topic: you misses what his comments are about. Most of people i know read 1 book a year... He is just saying that people don't read too much. why you must read another things?oh..come on..everything apple makes is a niche product. even ipods. I mean..merely 10% of all albums are bought through digital distribution.
Plus.. it's not like MBA is aimed as mainstream market.

TMay
Jan 17, 2008, 08:18 AM
I have yet to find ANY figures on sales of ebook readers. I realize that people are buying them, and that they have been on the market for awhile.

Sony had an exclusive at Borders. How did that work out? (closest that I came to was about 10,000 units a year sales expectation in 2006)

Kindle. Sold Out at Launch! Selling great! Backordered!

Yet, no sales figures.

My opinion. Steve is correct.
ebooks not ready for primetime.

We will see a reader application when an Apple tablet arrives, but we will never see dedicated reader hardware from Apple.

zedsdead
Jan 17, 2008, 08:21 AM
What's humorous is Steve's comment on the Kindle made me revisit looking at it. Blew it off when it was announced as it was pretty ugly looking (well still is), but upon reading reviews and looking at the videos, it's a slick device. Yeah it's got faults, but what 1st gen product doesn't.

Ordered one and I'm going to have to wait for weeks to get it as it is so backordered. That's fine, I have a few books I need to finish reading.

I think it's made at the same plant as Wii's. :)

I also decided to re-look at it...I didn't buy it, but I am considering it since I usually carry around books with me at school...It would be nice to have...maybe the next generation version.

bigfib
Jan 17, 2008, 09:11 AM
40 Percent of people in the US don't have a computer either...
Maybe Apple needs to find a new business model???
The dumbest most illiterate comment Mr Jobs ever made...
But then, I'm a writer :-/

sanford
Jan 17, 2008, 09:18 AM
"Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year."

That is the scariest thing I've read in a long, long time and we've had some plenty scary stuff in this country in the last decade or so.

As for eBook readers. Lovely. For textbooks for students, or anyone who as part of their daily work requires carrying around a huge stack of reference materials; or must run and fetch what they must leave behind because they can't carry it.

For, like, *reading* books, reading them on an eBook reader, a computer screen, an iPhone, a PDA, if people are compelled to do that, this should up that mortifying 40 percent to around 80.

As for the couple people who mentioned thinking that 40 percent figure is wrong, perhaps sort of an excuse for not competing in the eBook market, unfortunately it's accurate. If anything, it's inaccurate in the other direction. Some people lied. Reasonably, probably 35 percent read at least *one* book or a portion thereof last year, 15 percent read a couple books -- that 15 percent, probably that book or two was pop/humorous political rhetoric either to the far left or right, or a self-help bestseller, or a faith-based inspirational bestseller, or a novel Oprah gushed about -- and then perhaps 20 percent read one book after another all year long, about half of that 20 percent it was mostly genre: SF, mystery/suspense, or romance. Maybe ten percent just flat constantly read books of all sorts. The market of diehard readers is still there, it's just small and perhaps is still shrinking bit by bit; that market prefers books of the cardboard, glue, paper and ink variety and is just not suited to eBook readers; they won't buy them or eBooks.

Most people watch TV. Lots and lots of TV. The writers' strike, they still watched TV, and were more likely to rent or buy entire old TV series on DVD they'd never before watched, and watch those in preference over movies.

I'm in the 10 percent, although I've slowed down the pace a bit since we had our third child. But I'm a writer, so reading goes with the territory. I turn on the TV to watch a movie, play a video game sometimes for entertainment, mostly for work, or right before I go to bed, typically between midnight and two in the morning, I watch FOX News for about 15 minutes. (There will be two camps on that last statement about FOX News: Hooray, this guy knows his stuff; and the opposite, oh Lord this guy gets all his news from FOX, what an idiot, I can happily disregard everything else he wrote above. For the former bunch, sorry for the following, but you can watch what you wish, so don't take it personally... For the latter camp, I watch FOX News because although at least some portion of what they report may be straight, not skewed or manipulated, if it's just too depressing or idiotic, since it's FOX News, I can always pretend it's biased and inaccurate.)

macdaddy57
Jan 17, 2008, 09:18 AM
Yea Steve, but your target audience isn't the 40% of the US population that doesn't read. I would bet that the people who can afford and use Apple products read quite a bit more than the typical American. I'm one of your target consumers and I read, on average, one fiction and one technical book per month, the daily WSJ, plus at least six business magazines per week. I would love to read electronic editions of all of this reading material on a Mac tablet. Even better, I'd like to be able to store, tag, and search articles for future reference on my Mac.

sanford
Jan 17, 2008, 09:21 AM
40 Percent of people in the US don't have a computer either...
Maybe Apple needs to find a new business model???
The dumbest most illiterate comment Mr Jobs ever made...
But then, I'm a writer :-/

It's an accurate number, as I wrote below your post. Maybe even it's too high, since people don't like to admit they don't read. It's pitiful, but Jobs didn't say *he* didn't read, he said American don't read. You expect him to have Apple design a product they can't sell?

As for 40 percent of people in the States not having a computer, I don't know how accurate that number, but even assuming it is accurate, it's 40 percent *do not own one* -- almost all have access to a computer, most of them on a daily basis.

sanford
Jan 17, 2008, 09:55 AM
I'm one of your target consumers and I read, on average, one fiction and one technical book per month, the daily WSJ, plus at least six business magazines per week. I would love to read electronic editions of all of this reading material on a Mac tablet. Even better, I'd like to be able to store, tag, and search articles for future reference on my Mac.

Yes, you're a market for eBook readers. But a notebook Mac will suit you. For Apple, an eBook can't be a Mac-niche type of device; they can't charge enough of a premium for them. They have to be mass-market consumer devices, like iPods and iPhones, and they or someone has to be able to sell lots of content, like music or video.

Note that you read the Journal and six business magazines per week. No offense because none is intended -- indeed you no doubt know your field backwards and forwards -- but you're not a "reader". You read for information, because your work requires it, or you wish to stay that far ahead in your field. You don't qualify as a "reader". You're in the segment that has no underpinning in classical or even significant 20th century works, typically the fairly small segment who "reads". If you didn't read it in college, you haven't read it. And if you took a degree in the last 10, 15, approaching 20 years, you likely didn't read it in college if you weren't an English major. Outside your majors classes, you read what was required for your general education English credits, which was nothing, because at most all public universities and many, many private colleges -- institutions considered at least "good schools" -- the standard is now and has been for a while, *six* credit hours of English composition. You wrote some papers, for which you perhaps read portions of reference material, but you weren't required any literature courses, therefore you weren't required to read anything outside your field. Assuming your field is business, finance, law, medicine, computer science, something similar, that may be a long list of required reading you polished off in undergrad and even a graduate program, but it's of a very limited scope.

In other words, you well know your field, but you can't tell me a thing about Dickens's London, Dostoevsky's St. Petersburg, Orwell's Paris or Sartre's angst over his belief in Marx's brand of communism and its inherent conflicts with his own personal conviction that people above all must have true freedom. And to you, although I don't know, specifically, your field -- and this is completely understandable, as, for example, I'm a white American male living in America, I can comprehend the concept of racial discrimination and its effects on society, but I can't tell you what it's like to experience it -- you know your field, but you'll never understand how much better in your field you'd perhaps be with a more well-rounded picture of the world today and past, as told not only in history, but in good literature and philosophy.

sanford
Jan 17, 2008, 10:02 AM
I think it's made at the same plant as Wii's. :)

It can't possibly be made there. There's no room for all the Wiis sitting around. Nintendo is throttling Wii supply to create and sustain high demand, and perception of high demand. This seems stupid or inaccurate, considering games console manufacturers make money off first-party games or third-party games licensed via the console maker, while losing money on each console. Any games console manufacturer should want as many consoles in the hands of consumers as possible so they will buy games so the console manufacturer can make money.

Except Nintendo. Nintendo makes a tidy profit on hardware, for a long time, I think perhaps since their first console.

evilyankeefan
Jan 17, 2008, 10:18 AM
It can't possibly be made there. There's no room for all the Wiis sitting around. Nintendo is throttling Wii supply to create and sustain high demand, and perception of high demand. This seems stupid or inaccurate, considering games console manufacturers make money off first-party games or third-party games licensed via the console maker, while losing money on each console. Any games console manufacturer should want as many consoles in the hands of consumers as possible so they will buy games so the console manufacturer can make money.

Except Nintendo. Nintendo makes a tidy profit on hardware, for a long time, I think perhaps since their first console.

haha true. Amazon wouldn't do anything like this as they just lose out as they couldn't sell the books for it.

Will be interesting to see what happens when Amazon releases numbers for units/books/newpapers sold. :apple: will probably change its' tune then. MWSF 2009? Or someone will find hidden stuff related to book/newspaper sales in iTunes.

diamond.g
Jan 17, 2008, 10:32 AM
It can't possibly be made there. There's no room for all the Wiis sitting around. Nintendo is throttling Wii supply to create and sustain high demand, and perception of high demand. This seems stupid or inaccurate, considering games console manufacturers make money off first-party games or third-party games licensed via the console maker, while losing money on each console. Any games console manufacturer should want as many consoles in the hands of consumers as possible so they will buy games so the console manufacturer can make money.

Except Nintendo. Nintendo makes a tidy profit on hardware, for a long time, I think perhaps since their first console.

Yes, Nintendo has millions of Wii's sitting in warehouses... If Nintendo makes 1.8 million Wii's a month and sells 1.5 million a month (500k per territory) then there are 300k somewhere. Best guess? The distibutors are holding on to the units hoping to make more money be forcing bundles. Or they are holding units hoping to sell them on a particular day (see Besy Buy's Sunday ad approach).

Oddly enough Sony and Microsoft popularized/started the trend (sorta) of selling hardware for a loss. Which is why Apple would never get into the console business again.

LethalWolfe
Jan 17, 2008, 10:44 AM
oh..come on..everything apple makes is a niche product. even ipods. I mean..merely 10% of all albums are bought through digital distribution.
That's a poor example for a couple of reasons. First, what is on an iPod is not limited to only what can be purchased via iTMS and, second, sales of on-line music are still exploding while CD sales continue to fall. Now would not be a good time to hit the market place w/an exciting new portable CD player.


Lethal

redrabbit
Jan 17, 2008, 11:22 AM
I liked that tablet mockup. My favorite part is the two USB ports :rolleyes: (dream on)

Anyways, Steve obviously thinks the kindle is flawed because it has a user replaceable battery!


:D

killerrobot
Jan 17, 2008, 11:40 AM
I think its funny that people only consider reading books as reading (including Jobs himself obviously).
Everyone literate reads something everyday, whether it be a newspaper/magazine article, email, notes, papers & reports, receipts, (i could go on forever) etc...
I prefer reading books and magazines in the flesh, but the kindle seems pretty cool - and so are amazon's ideas to publish electronic versions of international magazines and newspapers along with its .doc, .png, .jpg compatibility, etc (http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Amazons-Wireless-Reading-Device/dp/B000FI73MA/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=fiona-hardware&qid=1200591254&sr=8-1) (I think they missed the mark without the .pdf but that's for a future rev).
I for one think Jobs might know something about computers, but he obviously has no idea about the future of a paperless society and the impact that the kindle will have.

sanford
Jan 17, 2008, 12:06 PM
I think its funny that people only consider reading books as reading (including Jobs himself obviously).
Everyone literate reads something everyday, whether it be a newspaper/magazine article, email, notes, papers & reports, receipts, (i could go on forever) etc...

There's a difference, in usage, between being literate and living in a literate society. The literacy rate in the States is very high, however it is not a anymore a very literate society.

Reading all those things you mention is reading, just as watching any video content is watching video. But there's as vast a difference between reading books of merit -- and I would make that a very broad definition; merit exists on many levels in many places in the prose of many writers -- as there is between, say, watching an episode of Fear Factor and Hitchcock's North By Northwest. The latter is enriching, an entertainment but a preeminent example of the art in that entertainment media; the former is just garbage.

Besides which, the tail end of your laundry list is either already served by personal computers or would not be suited to any portable digital reading device.

Lesser Evets
Jan 17, 2008, 12:33 PM
[url=http://www.macrumors.com]
On Amazon's Kindle book reader, Jobs sees the concept as flawed and claims that people simply don't read any more, suggesting a dedicated Apple book-reader is unlikely in the near future.


...-_-;

I kind of understand where he is coming from, but he isn't phrasing it well. Or maybe it was slaughtered and edited before it appeared here. But, it is very wrong in most ways.

Sure, many book readers probably want the actual thing in their hands and on their shelves. It is material, it is comforting, it is ever present and not attached to electronic quirks and deficiencies. But, the future of information is to get as much info as possible and have it be present on the human body with little effort. Apple should really expand out devices to 'read books', or display texts, thus giving student, professionals, hobbyists, etc, a giant, searchable library right at their fingertips instead of in napsacks weighing 30+ lbs.

The 'air' is a small sign of Jobs-doo-lally. A sideways step toward new tech. This statement is buttressing his insanity, or the appearance of it since he is denying the importance of information display and storage. And wasn't Jobs ALL about information and communication? He is being lulled into the belief that video is the primary future of human information, and though true, it is a half truth - people read. They read books, magazines, internet, comics, instruction pamphlets, etc, etc etc.

vga4life
Jan 17, 2008, 12:46 PM
Steve is right. I do book jacket cover designs for largest book publisher in the United States. Last year they cut the number of books they produce by 300 books a month due to lack of readership!

People do read books, but the numbers are down quite a bit.

I blame the ridiculous rise in paperback prices, especially trade paperbacks. Prices have gone up something like 100% over the last 3 decades - yes, adjusted for inflation!

(Hardbacks haven't gone up much at all adjusted for inflation.)

High prices are discouraging new readers. (Libraries aren't really a good option for new releases; they can't help much.)

TMay
Jan 17, 2008, 01:19 PM
...-_-;

I kind of understand where he is coming from, but he isn't phrasing it well. Or maybe it was slaughtered and edited before it appeared here. But, it is very wrong in most ways.

Sure, many book readers probably want the actual thing in their hands and on their shelves. It is material, it is comforting, it is ever present and not attached to electronic quirks and deficiencies. But, the future of information is to get as much info as possible and have it be present on the human body with little effort. Apple should really expand out devices to 'read books', or display texts, thus giving student, professionals, hobbyists, etc, a giant, searchable library right at their fingertips instead of in napsacks weighing 30+ lbs.

The 'air' is a small sign of Jobs-doo-lally. A sideways step toward new tech. This statement is buttressing his insanity, or the appearance of it since he is denying the importance of information display and storage. And wasn't Jobs ALL about information and communication? He is being lulled into the belief that video is the primary future of human information, and though true, it is a half truth - people read. They read books, magazines, internet, comics, instruction pamphlets, etc, etc etc.

I don't like the MBA, but at the same time I'm not the target market. I will say that Steve put his money where his mouth is, and ubiquitous WiFi is what this machine (and the iPhone/iTouch for that matter) is about. I don't like the Kindle either, though again, I'm not the target market.

The issue for myself is whether I would want yet another purpose built device, of limited capability replacing a centuries old paradigm, the book, or whether I would really be better off with a more general purpose tablet supporting rich media and an array of computing tools and applications that I currently use or desire.

As for Steve's statement, I don't know the context of it other than it was a soundbite in an extremely short interview. My supposition is that Steve was referring to recreational readers specifically, and I would find that the Kindle doesn't make much sense for the bulk of that market.

Still, I'm willing to be proved wrong, so I will be quite excited when Amazon has hard numbers of units sold and ebook downloads to proffer.

killerrobot
Jan 17, 2008, 01:20 PM
@Sanford
I kind of see where you're coming from, but obviously garbage sells in the US, hence most of the music on iTunes. And to say that only prose is worth merit is quite small in definition and excludes a wide variety of text.
As far as pc's having the capability of doing all of this - yes they do, but then I also have to deal with having a computer, finding wifi, carrying extra weight, etc.
My whole point is that Jobs was critical of the Kindle based on a number of books read a year and I was pointing out that this device reaches beyond just books, and Jobs, being the visionary that he supposedly is, should've been able to realize that.

SheriffParker
Jan 17, 2008, 01:44 PM
What gave you that idea? :confused:

Because your response to the phrase: "People don't need to carry more than one book at a time" was "Rubbish"

Why do you need to carry more than one book at a time? Max. 2 that I can think of. People usually don't switch reading material as often as they switch albums on an mp3 player, so the physical book does just fine.

That's all I was saying. People like to have their whole music collection with them because a song or album only takes a few minutes to listen to. I've never met someone who always wanted to have their whole book collection with them at all times.

9secondadidas
Jan 17, 2008, 04:09 PM
"people don’t read anymore"


:confused: That's the most retarded statement I've read today.

JellyFish
Jan 17, 2008, 06:43 PM
Are you people all stupid or what? Jobs' statement indicates that Apple is preparing to get into the ebook market. He is deflecting attention away from what Apple is doing in secret as he does not want anyone to know what he is up to.

The fact that so many people bought it amuses me.

Wait and see. Jobs already has something up his sleeve for ebooks. :)

Pigumon
Jan 17, 2008, 10:07 PM
To paraphrase Mr Jobs.

"It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t use Macs anymore," he said. "Six percent of the people in the U.S. used one Mac or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t use Macs anymore."

He's blowing smoke! He dismissed the concept of a digital music player and now it's his #1 selling product in Apple history. He's working on an ebook reader. Something between the Macbook Air and an iPhone.

I don't see why, with the high res iPhone screen, that it's not already an option. Hi-res text. autoscroll. done.

TMay
Jan 17, 2008, 10:28 PM
To paraphrase Mr Jobs.

"It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t use Macs anymore," he said. "Six percent of the people in the U.S. used one Mac or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t use Macs anymore."

He's blowing smoke! He dismissed the concept of a digital music player and now it's his #1 selling product in Apple history. He's working on an ebook reader. Something between the Macbook Air and an iPhone.

I don't see why, with the high res iPhone screen, that it's not already an option. Hi-res text. autoscroll. done.

There won't be an ebook reader from Apple.

Ever.

There might be an ebook application for the itouch/iphone (third party?), but more than likely, it will have to wait for a larger form factor (tablet).

I believe that we will be reading books on an Apple device in the near future, just not on a dedicated ebook reader. I doubt that anyone here would have a problem with that.

MattInOz
Jan 18, 2008, 12:09 AM
He said Americans don't read.
So the eBook reader service will be Launched to the rest of the world first.
See how you like them Apples ;-)

Bonte
Jan 18, 2008, 02:02 AM
US book sales in 2006 = $24.2 billion dollars.

Nobody reads books any more = utter bollocks.

"2006 Book Sales Remain Steady at $10 Billion" Seems that comics and magazines make up for the remaining $14,2 billion dollars or something.
http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/story/story.bsp?sid=47549&var=story

The Kindle is only suitable for for pure text books, that's a small part of overall book sales except for the occasional Harry Potter selling roughly $500 million in books a year. According to wiki "Advertising Age estimated the total value of the Harry Potter brand at roughly $15 billion" to put it all in perspective.

in short, we need comics and magazines on our eBook reader. :p

Bonte
Jan 18, 2008, 02:05 AM
To bad the Kindle only works in the US, its coupled to a GSM data plan that is free with the device. Amazon is losing money on the Kindle big time, i don't think Apple wants to be in that position right now.

Its a business model that isn't sustainable in the long run or overseas, starting it up in the first place was a big mistake.

redrabbit
Jan 18, 2008, 10:38 AM
Amazon is losing money on the Kindle big time

wow! i love posting wild claims with absolutely no proof to back them up! go internetz!

pubwvj
Jan 18, 2008, 04:16 PM
"People don't read any more?"

Geezzz... Guess I'll have to throw away those great novels I just bought at the (physical) bookstore last night. Damn. And I was so looking forward to them. How am I possibly going to entertain myself now through the dark winter nights?!?

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org

X38
Jan 18, 2008, 10:18 PM
"The model will not extend to cable television, he insisted. “We’re not going to go there with the cable cards,” he said, referring to the relatively open cable industry connectors that are gradually allowing companies like TiVo to replace the standard set-top box."


Sorry Steve, but you are dead wrong on that. Apple TV looks nice as far as it goes, but what I really need is a DVR. Downloads may be okay for movies and sort of okay for pre-recorded shows, but only broadcast works for live events and what I really need is a way to time shift live events.
No DVR, no sale. Apple TV is really close to being great, but just isn't there; please don't let your ego kill it.


On another note, you're wrong about reading & ebooks too. The problem with Kindle isn't that people don't read, it's that we don't want to carry yet another device. I have an ebook reader on my (hacked) iphone that I rather like. All it needs is more books available in that format. Put an ebook reader on the iphone officially, add one to itunes as well, and sell books on the itunes store and I'm sure you will find a market.

X38
Jan 18, 2008, 10:23 PM
[...]

He's blowing smoke! He dismissed the concept of a digital music player and now it's his #1 selling product in Apple history. He's working on an ebook reader. Something between the Macbook Air and an iPhone.

I don't see why, with the high res iPhone screen, that it's not already an option. Hi-res text. autoscroll. done.


It is already on the iphone. All you have to do is hack your iphone for third party software. I have it on my iphone and like it very much.
It is called Books.app and you can find it at:
http://code.google.com/p/iphoneebooks/
or by putting installer.app on your iphone.

Bonte
Jan 19, 2008, 03:39 AM
wow! i love posting wild claims with absolutely no proof to back them up! go internetz!

You get free GSM data for life, how on earth are they not losing money on the Kindle?

redrabbit
Jan 19, 2008, 11:41 AM
You get free GSM data for life, how on earth are they not losing money on the Kindle?

That thing is more expensive than an xbox 360. I think they've got enough profit margin to cover the wireless. But that's what I think. I'm not going to post a "fact" without having any proof to back it up.

jhande
Jan 19, 2008, 04:23 PM
Damn, I guess I'll just have to throw my ebook collection away. I better tell all of the guys and gals in alt.binaries.e-book.* and #bookz on irc that the cause is lost.....

Get with the program, Steve. Look at what happens everytime a new Harry Potter book comes out. The irc community gears up, chapter by chapter is coordinated and converted into electronic form for release to the hungry hordes.

Illegal? Duh! But like we've seen with music/TV/movies, unsatisfied demand will cause piracy.

Only, with e-books we *don't* have our iPod. The best thing is, IMHO, the Sony Reader (I've got the SRS 500). E-ink, so the battery life is *awesome* [sic].

So, Steve, I agree that the Kindle is not terribly impressive. Anyone can criticize. You have the engineers, and one of the best industrial designers around (although I think there's a bit too much air under the Air, Mr. Ives) - and have a look around usenet and undernet, you might just be surprised.

My .04 (inflation)