Steve Jobs recently upset a lot of people by saying that nobody reads books anymore, and hence the development of eReaders is irrelevant. Here's his quote, taken from the NYT:
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.A lot of people have attacked that statement. But it looks like eReaders may have other issues to deal with. From ArsTechnica:
Survey data shows books have the highest "attachment" rating of any leisure media activity. People are more attached to their books than they are to their satellite television, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, social networks, video games, blogs, DVDs, and P2P file-swapping. And it's not like this high rate of affection for the book occurs only among a small group; books came in second only to "listen to the radio" in terms of the number of people who engage in those activities.Here's the silver lining:
... When the survey asked about people's emotional attachment to paper books, 53 percent of respondents said that they would "never" or would "hate" to stop using them, and another 24 percent said they would be "uncomfortable."
When asked directly about the appeal of e-book readers, 39 percent of the respondents said that the readers were appealing or very appealing, but 61 percent had the opposite reaction.
The survey notes that familiarity with the devices seems to boost their attractiveness to most people, and 17 percent of respondents did say they would almost certainly purchase a reader once they learned about all of its features and benefits.Even so, that's not a very high number. I have to wonder if that statistic would get a boost if Apple announced that it was making a super stylish eReading device oriented at hipsters and their teenaged emulators.