4 February 08 | Chad W. Post

Here are two wonderful, oh so inspiring quotes about reading that are perfect for a Monday morning. The first is from Steve Jobs and actually came out a couple weeks ago. In reference to Amazon’s Kindle:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. 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.”

All Jobs has to say is something like, “I don’t think we’re going to make an iReader, but books are cool,” and the lemming-effect would set in and millions of i-hipsters would rush out to bookstores across the country . . . instead, it’s door-locking, fetal position time . . .

And then, in today’s Shelf Awareness there’s this depressing news and quote:

Sadly the Reading Room in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas’s only general independent bookstore selling new books, is closing by the end of March. According to Las Vegas City Life, the casino owners are betting that a different kind of retail operation in the space will appeal more to the casino’s somewhat younger visitors. As City Life put it, “when that younger, hipper tourist hits a mall on the Strip, he’s more likely looking for designer jeans than the collected works of Jean Genet.”

What really bugs me about both of these quotes is the implicit belief that it’s perfectly OK to bash literature and reading. Tell someone that theatre is a dead art. Or that we should close down the symphony orchestra because it’s not hip. That art museums are only for old people. I’m sure people would be up in arms about any one of these statements. But when it comes to literature/reading, it seems like book culture just passively stands there taking the abuse. Well, of course no one reads Genet these days . . .

Screw it. No more Mac products for our office until Jobs recants this ridiculous remark. And screw Las Vegas. BEA should pull out and go somewhere literary in 2010. At least someplace with a frickin’ bookstore.

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