July 7, 2010 weblog
No Speeding Reading with eBooks?
(PhysOrg.com) -- Many think that ebooks could change the way we interact with the written word. They are convenient, and ereaders provide mobility -- as well as the ability to store thousands of books in a small device. However, we are still attached to our more traditional books. In order to appeal to the book loving audience, ebook publishers have taken pains to do what they can to make the experience close to reading, by working with fonts and word sizes, and even using techniques that allow you to use a motion of "turning" pages.
Even with all of this, though, reading an ebook is slow going when compared with reading more traditional books. And now a study has been completed that show that you can read faster with a traditional book. Betanews reports on the study:
Jacob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group tested three different e-book methods -- the PC, the Kindle 2, and the iPad -- and then compared them to reading a regular book. A short story by Ernest Hemigway was read by 24 different test subjects.
Nielsen found that those reading the e-book version were as much as ten percent slower than those who read the printed version. Those who read the story on the PC took even more time, and universally rated by participants as the worst way to read.
It does appear that the most readers have the hardest time reading books on a PC. It seems likely that we still like the idea of holding something in our hands when we are reading what we consider books. However, even holding an iPad or a Kindle can't compare to the experience of holding a book. And, apparently, our speed decreases when we are using an electronic screen, rather than reading "the real thing."
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