On Tuesday, Steve Jobs was quoted in the New York Times when commenting on Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader device as saying:
It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.
This caught my eye in particular and stopped me in my tracks as it relates to a trend I’ve noticed on Apple’s own site over, let’s say, the last year or so. Less text. More graphics. More video.
Apple’s website, in particular, prior to the big design change that rolled out last year was full of text content. Nearly every page, for virtually every product was loaded with well-written marketing copy. Now, not so much, at least in terms of the amount of text content. It’s still exceptionally written, full of beautiful graphics, strategically on target with Apple’s raison d’étre and Jobs’ infamous RDF — there’s simply less to read.
Jobs goes on to say:
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.
I find these comments fascinating due to the proliferation of book stores here in Toronto and around the world — the big chains and small independents over the last 10 years. It’s completely contrary to my own experience. If I had to guess, I would say my local and extended (interweb-related) social circles read more, not less. Based on my book spending and reading habits over the last few years, I certainly wouldn’t fall into that 40%.
Whether there is any direct connection between Jobs’ feelings on the matter of reading and the amount of text content on the Apple website is not for me to say with any absolute certainty since I do not work for Apple, nor do I have any information on the inner workings of Apple’s web design/content teams, but it does strike me that such a connection could be drawn to explain what happened to all the content.