A tech survey of the ebook (the concept that won’t die–and I hope it doesn’t) leads to some positive riffing on the health of reading in America. Hey! Those same stats were just used for t’other side of the argument! Damn trecherous stats–always proving something you don’t want them to.
To Mr. Jobs, this statistic dooms everyone in the book business to inevitable failure.
Only the business is not as ghostly as he suggests. In 2008, book publishing will bring in about $15 billion in revenue in the United States, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association.
One can only wonder why, by the Study Group’s estimate, 408 million books will be bought this year if no one reads anymore?
A survey conducted in August 2007 by Ipsos Public Affairs for The Associated Press found that 27 percent of Americans had not read a book in the previous year. Not as bad as Mr. Jobs’s figure, but dismaying to be sure. Happily, however, the same share — 27 percent — read 15 or more books.
In fact, when we exclude Americans who had not read a single book in that year, the average number of books read was 20, raised by the 8 percent who read 51 books or more. In other words, a sizable minority does not read, but the overall distribution is balanced somewhat by those who read a lot.