Reading is Slower on Kindle?

New Kindle

Read on CNN this morning that Kindle and iPad reading are slower than reading a normal book.

From the article:

It takes longer to read books on a Kindle 2 or an iPad versus a printed book, Jakob Nielsen of product development consultancy Nielsen Norman Group discovered in a recent usability survey.

The study found that reading speeds declined by 6.2 percent on the iPad and 10.7 percent on the Kindle compared to print. However, Nielsen conceded that the differences in reading speed between the two devices were not “statistically significant because of the data’s fairly high variability” — in other words, the study did not prove that the iPad allowed for faster reading than the Kindle.

I read this article with a mixture of disbelief and suspicion. Disbelief because I’m a regular Kindle user – and I *know* my reading speed has increased on the device. And suspicion because the outcome of a study like this would be influenced by too many external factors.

The first time I read something on Kindle or iPad I was so taken with the activity, so distracted, that my reading speed and comprehension certainly suffered. But now that I’ve grown accustom to the novelty of it my reading speed – and the amount of material I’m consuming – has jumped dramatically. Were these test subjects new users? Were they distracted by the device, its interface or with thinking, “Hey, I should really buy one of these!”? I know I would be.

The screens and amount of text contained on a single line, plus line spacing can all be adjusted for optimal reading speed. It varies between individuals – so you’ll want to experiment to find the right settings. But once you do – like I did – watch out. You’ll be reading faster and reading more.

Amazon probably has data to support the efficiency of reading on a Kindle. If not, they should collect it from people willing to submit it. In my opinion these devices are a godsend and should be proliferated as widely as possible. Not only do they encourage faster reading and more of it – but they’re a disruptive platform, one that allows average individuals access to a worldwide, wireless publishing platform.

Don’t believe me? Try one – I bet you’ll be as amazed as I was.

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