Amazon CEO and soon-to-be Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos told NBC News reporter Kate Snow this week: “Some day — I don’t know how many years in the future; could be decades — but I think printed newspapers on actual paper may be a luxury item. It’s sort of like, people still have horses, but it’s not their primary way of commuting to the office.”
Wall Street Journal columnist Gordon Crovitz tells Romenesko readers: “This rang a bell, and I retrieved an interesting quote from him about horses and printed books. I quoted him in an ‘Information Age’ column in 2008 comparing printed books to horses, making a similar (and I think correct) point that they may become used only by a smaller group of people willing to pay for the luxury, but will not disappear altogether. The reference is in this column, and the relevant excerpt is…”
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos disclosed that for books available on the Kindle electronic reader, some 6% of Amazon sales are now for the digital version. He enjoys physical books, but their future is in doubt now that there is the more powerful way of reading through electronic devices. “We’re not going to keep riding our horse to work just because we love our horse,” he said, a remarkable comment given that Amazon offers the world’s largest selection of old-fashioned volumes.
* Jeff Bezos: “People still have horses, but it’s not their primary way of commuting to the office” (today.com)
* From 2008: “We’re not going to keep riding our horse to work just because we love our horse” (wsj.com)