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Books Handhelds Technology News

Reading E-Books Takes Longer Than Reading Paper Books 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the almost-as-slow-as-a-post-fireworks-news-day dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "PC World reports on a study showing that reading from a printed book — versus an e-book on any of the three tested devices, an iPad, Kindle 2, and PC — was a faster experience to a significant degree. Readers measured on the iPad reported reading speeds, on average, of 6.2 percent slower than their print-reading counterparts, while readers on the Kindle 2 clocked in at 10.7 percent slower. Jacob Nielsen had each participant read a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Each participant was timed, then quizzed to determine their comprehension and understanding of what they just read. Nielsen also surveyed users' satisfaction levels after operating each device (or page). For user satisfaction, the iPad, Kindle, and book all scored relatively equally at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6 on a one-to-seven ranking scale (seven representing the best experience). The PC, however, did not fare so well, getting a usability score of 3.6."
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Reading E-Books Takes Longer Than Reading Paper Books

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    On the iPad, they had to keep checking their email.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m ail.com> on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:13AM (#32800248)

    Way to mention the results aren't actually statistically significant:

    The iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print. However, the difference between the two devices was not statistically significant because of the data's fairly high variability.

    (Emph. mine)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Way to mention that some of the results are actually statistically significant:

      The difference between the two devices was not statistically significant.

      (Emph. mine)

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:28AM (#32800414) Journal

      Way to mention the results aren't actually statistically significant:

      You know why the data was highly variable?
      "A 24-user study showed that..."

      24 users is less a study, and more a reason to declare "further research needed"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Also I suspect a good portion of those people were old and probably wasted a lot of time saying, "Where's the damn next button on this newfangled gadget?"

        I don't notice any difference in reading speed whether I'm using a book or e-book. But then I grew up reading text on computers (like Zork and online forums), so it feels perfectly natural to me. Plus the e-book is a lot lighter and less muscle-straining than a 600-page tome.

        • by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:40AM (#32800548)

          Also I suspect a good portion of those people were old and probably wasted a lot of time saying, "Where's the damn next button on this newfangled gadget?"

          Wow, there's a bit of bigotry snatched out of thin air. Unfortunately one that is not at all uncommon on /.

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:33PM (#32801194) Homepage Journal

            Uhhh - age does play a factor. I'm over 50, and there are some things that I don't like messing with, because the buttons are to small, or the interface isn't what I'm used to, or I just don't like the design. I'm aging, and I have my ways. I'm not changing because a bunch of 30 or 40 year old punk kids decide that an iPod should look like this, or an Android should behave like that. Given a choice between a printed realtree book, and electronic versions, I'll take the treebark, thank you. When I can't get the realtree, then I want the electronic version on my PC, with a nice wide screen, and what some people would call "large print". No little bitty 3 inch screens, thank you very much, and certainly no keypad where my index finger covers half a dozen keys.

            • Age may well play a role for some people. I wasn't commenting on that. I was commenting on the assumption that that was what was happening, with no evidence at all to indicate that that was the case. That and the tone of the comment combined to look like bigotry to me - and there is a lot of "ageism" on /.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by justinlee37 (993373)

                It wasn't an assumption; the OP clearly prefaced their statement with "I suspect," a phrase which underscores their own uncertainty.

                Besides, admit it, most people who are over 40 take a little longer to adapt to using computers or to figure out some new-fangled program, video game, or cell phone. It's not that they're stupid or senile, they're just not used to electronics.

                My Father, who recently turned 50, used to be a police officer. He used to have to write his police reports using ink and paper, and it w

                • by pnewhook (788591)

                  My Father, who recently turned 50, used to be a police officer. He used to have to write his police reports using ink and paper, and it wasn't until he was nearly 35 that they started using computers at the precinct to type reports. You can't just do something one way for 35 years...

                  So he was writing police reports since the day he was born?

                  • by jonbryce (703250)

                    He started learning the skills needed to write police reports when he started primary school.

                • by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:25PM (#32803312)

                  Of course it was an assumption. There was nothing in the argument to indicate that there was any age related correlations. He could have had any of a million different "suspicions" - there are lots of different "suspicions" one could come up with to explain the results - but he chose the one he did because it fit in with his own personal assumptions about things.

                  Let's see, he said:

                  Also I suspect a good portion of those people were old...

                  Which is nothing but an assumption - there is absolutely nothing in the article to indicate anything that would reasonably generate his "suspicion".

                  And then he goes on to show his opinion of "old people":

                  and probably wasted a lot of time saying, "Where's the damn next button on this newfangled gadget?"

                  Yeah... nothing bigoted about that. I suggest using the standard test: plug in another identifiable group and read the statement and see if it sounds bigoted. Hmmm

                  I suspect a good portion of those people were Black and probably wasted a lot of time saying "Where's the damn button..."

                  doesn't sound so good does it.

                  As for your other comments, really they aren't relevant to what I was saying but let me respond briefly to your comment about people over 40. Someone 40 would have been 20 in 1990... I think they had electronics then. Someone 50 would have been 20 in 1980... I'm pretty sure they had electronics then... even, gasp, game consoles were around in the 80's... yeah most people even those over 40 have had lots of experience with electronics and other "new fangled" devices.

                  • by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:39PM (#32806558)
                    Wow... pointing out the error in someone's claim and then backing it up with actual quotes that substantiate that analysis gets multiple Troll(-1) mods? Or was it pointing out how bigoted some things sound when you apply them to a different group? Or was it disagreeing with someone's opinion about what 40 and 50 year-olds have experienced. Or maybe just ageist's who don't like being confronted with their own beliefs? Cause it sure seems a pretty pathetic attempt by some people to suppress something they are uncomfortable hearing. Yep, good going in your support of free and open debate! Today I especially love my sig. LOL!
                • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:41PM (#32804850) Homepage

                  Besides, admit it, most people who are over 40 take a little longer to adapt to using computers or to figure out some new-fangled program, video game, or cell phone

                  Hate to break it to you, but the reality is that most people over 40 just don't have the patience for useless bullshit that a younger person might have, due mostly to decades of useless bullshit that gets obsoleted within three years anyway. If something needs to get done though, done it gets.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Trinn (523103)

              In conjunction with my earlier post, I would imagine this also connects with changes in neurotransmission as one gets older, specifically it seems that dopaminergic neurotransmission slowly declines, and I would suspect so does serotonergic transmission, though I have not seen enough serious studies to determine exactly what is going on. I also would imagine that the changes that happen to any given individual are quite variable, based on similar genetic and experiential/environmental variations that produ

          • >>>>>Also I suspect a good portion of those people were old and probably wasted a lot of time saying, "Where's the damn next button on this newfangled gadget?"
            >>
            >>Wow, there's a bit of bigotry snatched out of thin air.

            No. Bigotry would be if I said ALL old people have difficulty learning new technologies. Whcih I did not. I merely observed that a "good portion" of old people have trouble, and that's true. I spend more time teaching old people (60 and up) how to turn-on their n

        • by radtea (464814)

          I don't notice any difference in reading speed whether I'm using a book or e-book.

          A factor of two in speed is about the minimum perceptible, so your experience is fully consistent with these data.

        • I've never timed myself. I'm a pretty fast reader - I've gone through 800 page novels in less than a week, when I work full time and have to meet other real life commitments. Buy a book on Monday, and surprise myself that it's finished on Thursday or Friday. Other times, I've read similar books in a weekend.

          Like yourself, I haven't noticed that reading speed is affected by the media. Two weeks ago, I started a 1500 page novel on the PC, and it was finished in 6 days. I had to work 40 hours, but didn't

          • Also, ever since I started reading ebooks (Palm Zire, then smartphone and now Nook), the number of books I read has gone up drastically since there's almost no dead time now since I always have something good to read that's handy. If it's a leeeetle bit slower (something I dispute but even so), it more than makes up for it in other things.
            • by EggyToast (858951)
              Agreed. Even if it's a small percentage slower than a paper book (which could simply be attributed to the slight delay from the e-ink refreshing, compared to turning a page), the fact that I can have a book with me wherever I am means I read a TON more. Some time after lunch at work? Whip out my iPhone (which syncs on the Kindle app). Wife trying on some clothes in a store? Whip out the iPhone.
        • by BForrester (946915) on Monday July 05, 2010 @03:00PM (#32802632)

          Accordingly, you could argue that the discrepancy caused by old users might be balanced out by young users who wasted a lot of time saying, "Where's the damn 'on button' on this old-fashioned block of papers?"

          • There was a New Outer Limits episode like that, and it wasn't funny.

            Basically the Cellular internet that fed information into everyone's brains suffered a collapse, and everyone was forced to learn the old-fashioned way: By opening a book. Of course first they had to learn what the scribbles on the page meant..... a bit of a challenge.

          • by yukk (638002)

            Accordingly, you could argue that the discrepancy caused by old users might be balanced out by young users who wasted a lot of time saying, "Where's the damn 'on button' on this old-fashioned block of papers?"

            You mean, "I've read a whole page and I haven't received a single tweet. This sucks. Damn, how do I post on facebook with this thing. What was I doing again? This thing is heavier than my xbox controller. Ooooh, XBOX. Gotta go."

            Or if they were American, they were looking at the "book thingy" and wandering what it was for. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101045.html [washingtonpost.com]

            In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled "Reading at Risk" found only 57 percent

        • by Kreigaffe (765218)

          By all accounts, I'm very slightly younger than you -- my first PC was a 286 8Mhz, which is smokin' next to a Com64, and I only got in to a bit of BBS online forums before the greater intarwabz took over..

          and reading a real book is much faster than reading crap on a screen. i've not fiddled overly much with e-books, but having tried in the past to read books on my PC I found it to cause greater eye strain, as well as simply being *harder to do*. Scrolling through text means it's very easy to lose your pla

          • >>>my first PC was a 286 8Mhz, which is smokin' next to a Com64

            Not really. In pure number crunching, yes, but when it comes to sound and graphics the C=64 is better. The old IBM PC suffered from a poor hardware architecture that made it run slower than it should have. (For comparison an ~8 MHz Commodore Amiga was all that was used to create Babylon 5, seaQuest, and several late 80s/early 90s Disney movies... slow CPU but fast architecture.)

            As for glare the color scheme used on the C64 was light

    • by rainmouse (1784278) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:42AM (#32800570)
      With a sample size lower than what is even acceptable for a undergraduate students assignment and too many ignored variables such as users already being used to reading paper books and not digital ones, this article really isn't worth the paper its digitally printed upon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Volante3192 (953645)

        Or the chance some people had a hard time with the Hemingway.

        At the very least, all 24 should have tried each method, changing the stories each time.

        • Or the chance some people had a hard time with the Hemingway.

          Hemingway hard to read? Sarcasm, I hope.

          • Well, not necessarily hard as in complex, but hard as in boring.

            I find Dickens hard to get through, for example, cause he's drier than dust (and as palatable). I'd find myself having to reread pages because by the end of the page I'd've forgotten the top half.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

        ignored variables such as users already being used to reading paper books and not digital ones

        But that's the majority of the world, so if you want to know how switching to digital will affect most people, this is OK.

        I've probably read 9:1 digital:print in the past decade, but still prefer a paper book for works of significant length.

        • by Skal Tura (595728)

          Same here. It's just vastly easier for longer reading, and for pretty much anything other than short one time read.

          Despite being a web developer, and constantly on cutting edge, i also find paper a way better tool for making notes, sketching designs etc. than anything electronic. People think i'm a bit weird like that, when i'm trying to solve a harder design dilemna i take a piece of paper and start writing, drawing lines etc. but it actually helps me to better visualize the dilemna, and thus better see th

          • when i'm trying to solve a harder design dilemna i take a piece of paper and start writing, drawing lines etc.

            Yup. I have a large-format sketchpad I use for user interface design work. Paper and kneeded eraser are just far faster than the available computer tools.

            I also carry a graph-paper Moleskine or lab notebook for field work. I switch from notes to diagrams quickly and easily, at very high resolution. The netbook stays in the bag for most meetings.

            If OCR actually worked I might be tempted to use a

      • by comp.sci (557773)
        24 can be a statistically significant sample size, no problem. Remember that sample size AND effect size determine significance. (Just a warning to prevent people from thinking that sample size only is important or that 24 can never be a real study). Now in this specific study this didn't work out quite that well as they aren't statistically significant and therefore can be promptly ignored.
  • Flawed Study? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kneo24 (688412) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:25AM (#32800352) Homepage

    Maybe I'm just being obtuse here, but it wasn't clear to me if they read the same story on all of the platforms, or just had each person read the story once and the testers chose the platform for them.

    This is pretty significant. If you're going to have me read the same 30 pages over and over again, I may slow down due to boredom, or I may skim the pages and the progression appears to have increased.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I agree. I think that the reader should be required to different read works of similar length and difficulty on each device. The reader should also have a break in between each reading. The order that the devices are being used in, and the piece being read on each device could be randomized. They should also be required to answer questions about the work to determine how well they understood what they read.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I agree. I think that the reader should be required to different read works of similar length and difficulty on each device. The reader should also have a break in between each reading. The order that the devices are being used in, and the piece being read on each device could be randomized. They should also be required to answer questions about the work to determine how well they understood what they read.

        The humorous thing is that nearly all of these points were addressed in the second link of the summ
    • The study has more flaws than I can count on both hands. Unless of course I use binary. Than its got 3 less.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The e-books readers will never understand the precision offered by the keyboard-mouse combination. I find reading on the e-books without the keyboard and mouse to be like a cliff notes or graphic novel version.

    • The e-books readers will never understand the precision offered by the keyboard-mouse combination. I find reading on the e-books without the keyboard and mouse to be like a cliff notes or graphic novel version.

      Yes, because the keyboard and mouse have an effect on the actual content of the book. /SARCASM.

      This sounds to like an attempt to justify reading books on your PC rather than an actual reason.

      I don't know of anyone who reads e-books on a PC unless if they have no other choice because they are supplied on their work PC only.

      • by macshit (157376)

        The e-books readers will never understand the precision offered by the keyboard-mouse combination. I find reading on the e-books without the keyboard and mouse to be like a cliff notes or graphic novel version.

        Yes, because the keyboard and mouse have an effect on the actual content of the book. /SARCASM.

        I think he was making a joke about typical PC gamer anti-console arguments...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The e-books readers will never understand the precision offered by the keyboard-mouse combination.

      Not to mention the ability of the latter to provide for a quick 180 and a double-tap when a particularly nasty plot twist sneaks up on the unsuspecting reader.

  • even if this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Even if this is true (and I'm not sure it is), just the fact that I can have my Sony Reader with me at almost all times means that I get more reading time in than I would if lugging paper books around. And for the record, I still do read a fair number of paper books. The eReader supplements my paper book reading experience -- it didn't replace it, like so many people whom I know seem to believe happens (not surprisingly, those same people tend to view nearly everything around them in the same black-and-whit
    • Well said. Between my nook, iBooks, and Kindle apps, I think I have around 30 books on my iPad, not to mention the PDFs I carry around in GoodReader.
    • This. Frankly, it doesn't matter which is faster to read at all - it only matters which is more convenient. That is an awfully subjective metric, of course (and I know many people who don't like e-readers - to each their own), but it's also the only meaningful one.

  • Newbies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tx (96709) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:27AM (#32800400) Journal

    Not being frivolous, but as far as I can tell, the users were new to reading ebooks, but presumably not so with paper books. If you were to turn the study round, and test people who were familiar with ebooks but not with paper, you might get a very different result, especially on the general satisfaction. On the rare occasions when I read a paper book these days, I find it very irritating that I can't flip pages one-handed, larger books are actually hard to hold one-handed, I have to remember to place a bookmark and be careful not to lose it, because the damn thing doesn't automatically open back up to the last page I read, etc etc. Of course paper-book people are so used to these limitations, they don't actually notice them.

    • Re:Newbies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:31AM (#32800472) Homepage
      Good point - combined with the FP's concern about the low number of people involved in the study (n=24) and the various devices, we basically don't know anything new. If you have a 10% difference in a small, self selected sample then one should be very, very careful not to extrapolate this data much.

      My take home message: It's all about the same. Do what you like. Get off my lawn.
    • I dunno. Ive got a Nook, and the pages are both smaller than a typical paperback, and take longer to "turn." I would tend to believe the study, but I'd note that I'm still reading more books. The device is more portable than many paperbacks, and has access to a whole slew of classics from project Gutenberg (which I tried to read on my PC and just gave up on.)

      With the library offering eBook lending, there are even quite a few contemporary works that are at my fingertips, and it's far more portable than a

  • by mseeger (40923) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:28AM (#32800412)

    I think this depends how you measure it. During my last vacations i have read about 20 books all stored in my ebook reader. If i would have taken the time to buy/fetch new books every time from a bookstore, i would have read (on average) much slower. Having an automated bookmark for every book also saved a lot of time. So, it depends on the way of measuring :-).... as usual.

    CU, Martin

  • Depends on purpose (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:32AM (#32800478)
    Electronic books can be indexed and searched (on a PC or iPad you can also copy/paste sometimes (depends on the source). If I were to read a novel, I would prefer it to be a hard-copy. But since 99% of books I read are technical I prefer being able to search for related information and for research I prefer my PC (if nothing else I can always save screenshots in OneNote). Though I've never used a kindle, so I don't know if/how good they can search?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      You know, it depends on how well you know the reference and what you're looking for. I can find certain sections of commonly referenced code* far faster with a 1000 page book than I can look it up in e-form, since it takes far longer to grab the book and flip to (say) page 634 than to find and open the PDF**. For stuff I need to find, but I don't reference often, the computer can be faster since I can do a search. Oddly, things I almost never reference are usually faster in the paper version because I ca

    • by pgmrdlm (1642279)
      Personal reading for enjoyment, I use nothing but hard copy books. The argument that you can take 30 books on an electronic reader just doesn't wash with me. This reading is for enjoyment, and I would rather savor my joy one book at a time. If I am not reading it, it is because the story has lost my interest and I no longer want that book with me no matter what the source.

      Technical books, I prefer electronic. This is reference material, and I am a firm believer that there is never enough reference materia

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        The argument that you can take 30 books on an electronic reader just doesn't wash with me.

        The main reason I like hard-copy books is because that's what's at the public library.

        And when I do buy a book, I like to be able to give it to a friend when I'm done without violating any laws or treaties. I don't have the need to amass a huge collection of books to feel smart or well-read.

        By the way, my summer reading recommendation for my fellow-slashdotters is The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charl

        • by pgmrdlm (1642279)
          lol, ok. I'm a blood and guts type of guy when it comes to reading. I currently am reading a Brad Thor novel called Takedown. I will have to check out The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston. I am always looking for new authors.

          And I agree. I helped start a "book exchange" at my previous place of employment. Books are like knowledge, they are a good thing to share. You have never read enough books and you never have too much knowledge. lol, that kind of goes together though I wou
      • by stripes (3681)

        The argument that you can take 30 books on an electronic reader just doesn't wash with me. This reading is for enjoyment, and I would rather savor my joy one book at a time. If I am not reading it, it is because the story has lost my interest and I no longer want that book with me no matter what the source.

        Ok, how about some related arguments:

        • In a space/weight limited situation (like living in an RV) you might not be able to have more then a half dozen paper books, or at the very least you would have t
  • by hey (83763)

    Why didn't Mr Usability rate them out of 10 or 5?
    Scales most people are used to.

  • by GarryFre (886347) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:50AM (#32800652) Homepage
    Have you ever typed a document in, carefully checked for the numerous errors that a spell checker will not catch only to have the errors JUMP out at you once they hit print, only to go back, fix the errors only to have them jump out at you on second print or even third? I have my guesses as to this phenomenon, but I've observed it in myself and others time and time again. Sometimes when I'm programming and cannot find the problem I'll highlight the area and suddenly see the errors, so my guess is simply having the medium in your hand in print or on a different colored background without glare as on a monitor can cause you to connect better with the reading material and find the errors or comprehend things faster.
    • by dstar (34869) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:06PM (#32800840)

      I have to think that this is because so many people insist on using dark text on a light background, which means that you effectively end up staring into a lightbulb all day long -- of course you miss things!

      I see people talking about studies which show that dark-on-light is easier on the eyes, but every one I've actually seen data for was for _non_-backlit surfaces.

      (Other possibilities include the fact that the spacing between lines -- leading -- needs to be proportional to the length of the lines, which it's not on any computer I've ever seen).

      • I don't know about any studies but I do know that if I read white-on-black on a monitor (lcd or crt) for any length of time I end up seeing lines across my vision. Much more so and much after much less reading than from black-on-white. I've tried coding using light-on-dark but my eyes just can't deal with it.

    • > Have you ever typed a document in, carefully checked for the numerous errors
      > that a spell checker will not catch only to have the errors JUMP out at you
      > once they hit print...

      Yes, but I can get the same effect by displaying the document in a different format and font.

  • Study done cold? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jridley (9305) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:53AM (#32800678)

    It looks like they just handed an ereader to people who weren't necessarily familiar with them.

    My reading speed when I first got my reader was about the same as paper, probably a little slower. As I got used to it, I read faster and faster. After 2 years, my reading speed and comprehension on an ereader is much higher than it ever was with paper.

    Also take into account the fact that it's much easier to hold a reader than a paper book, and I don't ever have to hunt for a bookmark.

  • This study is, as studies in general tend to be, lacking in real detail and offers no real conclusion. At best, it serves to inspire debate about shit that doesn't need debating.

    If you want to know how e-books compare to their print brethren, try an eReader or two out. Presumably, you have read countless paper-based writings, so you ought to know fairly quickly how well the format works for you.

    Sheer speed isn't necessarily the "be-all" either.

    Some reasons I have chosen the eReader format going forward:

    - Un

    • by comp.sci (557773)
      Lacking in detail and lacking a real conclusion as studies tend to be? This really depends on your definition of a study. A "study" that leads to a newspaper article (like this) can't be held to the same standards as a study that appears in a peer-reviewed journal. Please don't let this little experiment color your image of actual research.
  • eBooks are slower to read than a normal paper book?

    Welcome to the wonderful world of [charge battery] computing. In this ebook you will discover the [charge battery] way computing has [charge battery] changed our lives in all sorts of [charge battery] gadgets.

    • I've last recharged my Sony PRS-505 about two weeks ago, and I use it daily, so I'm not sure what your point is (if there even is one).

  • sorry, not about goatsee, move along now...

    1- the LCD-based iPad, e-Ink Kindle, and paper book all scored basically the same. Would a Retina or PixelQi screen score even higher, or does that mean that existing screens are good enough, and further enhancements are superfluous ?

    2- The study is lacking is several aspects: no variation in lighting, no information on the setting (bed ? desk ? john ? public transport ?), no information on retention either (I've read somewhere else than proofreading is much more a

    • sorry, not about goatsee, move along now...

      1- the LCD-based iPad, e-Ink Kindle, and paper book all scored basically the same. Would a Retina or PixelQi screen score even higher, or does that mean that existing screens are good enough, and further enhancements are superfluous ?

      Oh, gah, I hope not. Just because some (many, even, by the conversations I've had) people have crappy visual acuity, I don't want to have to suffer with N dpi is the "standard" that 100% make products to, when anything less than M (M>N) dpi looks aliased and crappy to me, personally. (at least, for the next few years anyway. I'm not under any illusions that I'm going to get to keep my acuity)

      "Good enough" for most people leaves a not insignificant number of people who it's "barely passable" for. Why n

  • did you claim to say reading eBooks takes more time than reading real books? That a company who publishes real books and magazines like PC World would conduct a scientific study they claim is unbiased even if they are in the very business that eBooks threaten to compete with and possibly shut out. That they are not doing this to manipulate, scare, or use psychological warfare/operations to get more people to avoid the eBook market and buy more of their paper based books and magazines?

    If you say so sir, but

  • by FRiC (416091)

    I don't know about others, but reading e-books on LCD screens is much faster for me since there's no pause in having to flip the page, just touch/press and go. I'm much slower when reading on the Kindle since the page refresh takes so long and I literally have to wait for the next page to come up. I really like the Kindle's e-paper display but the page refresh, the color inversion, and waiting drove me nuts.

    I don't quite understand why the Kindle needs to invert to black and back when flipping pages but the

    • The color inversion happens because e-ink screens are bistable -- the screen uses no electricity when it's displaying either the light or dark elements. In order to change what's shown on the screen, it needs to 'clear' what was displayed previously. This manifests itself as a brief 'flashing' of the screen. Incidentally, when it flashes is the only time that an e-ink screen consumes any energy. Conversely, your LCD monitor that doesn't require this flashing is constantly using electricity.

      Also, the flash
      • by Simulant (528590)

        "Also, the flash only takes about a quarter of a second. How long does it take you to turn a page in a paper book? I guarantee it's not too different. Certainly not enough to make an appreciable difference in your reading speed"

        I disagree. I love my e-paper reader but the slow page turn is annoying and does slow me down. Reading paper, I generally have a page half turned part way through the last paragraph. Page turns are much. much quicker.

        Also I think I have more of a tendency to read every word on an

  • ...but I can carry hundreds of eBooks, multiple Bible versions, dictionaries, and the entire text dump of Wikipedia (Wiki2Touch), and still have room on my iPod Touch to carry music and videos. Yes, paper absolutely has its merits, but the convenience of sheer volume of a portable eReader often outweighs those merits.

  • I have the PRS-600 and I like it, but I do find that I spend more time than I'd like shifting it around to get glare off the screen.
    Additionally some of the books I've downloaded from Project Gutenberg are formatted strangely, and have carriage returns part way through lines. (Commercial ebooks are fine so far.)
    Both issues tend to slow down my reading experience.

    I also wouldn't recommend the PRS-600 for reading PDF based ebooks. The text reflow is bearable but if there are images or scripting it murders the

    • Additionally some of the books I've downloaded from Project Gutenberg are formatted strangely, and have carriage returns part way through lines.

      It's the historically popular plain text format with hard line breaks, usually at 72 chars per line. Most readers, both software and hardware, don't have precisely 72 chars, so they have to wrap those lines. With hard line breaks, what you get in effect is paragraph-per-line.

      Something like calibre can easily detect and fix this, though. Or you can write your own Perl one-liner.

      • by Cruciform (42896)

        I guess when they create the .epub format books they're just automating it from the straight text documents, hence that formatting.
        I do use Calibre so I'll have to investigate :)

  • But a study with 24 users holds little statistical relevance, it's simply too small a sample. He did the same thing with an usability report on the iPad, where he'd tested it with a whooping 6 or so subjects.

    The results get the headlines and most people don't bother in reading the report so it gets far more credibility than it deserves.

    Out of the people I studied back in Uni this guy is by far the laziest :)
  • by Rix (54095)

    So they tested a bunch of people intimately familiar with printed books, and found that they had a slight disability with a format they'd not used before.

    As long was we're throwing around anecdotal bullshit, I'll note that I read a lot faster and more frequently with my Reader.

  • I haven't manage to finish a single ebook in ANY format, talk about coincidence! Half-price Books here in town has a better deal on most titles, too.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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