CNN recently outlined an interesting study on the speed of reading e-books versus printed books. Sure, the study has a relatively small sample size of 24 and gives some disclaimers about differences in reading speed not being statistically significant, but the general idea strikes me as significant.
So here’s what the study says: compared to reading a conventional printed book, people using e-readers read at speeds between 6.2 and 10.5 percent slower on the iPad and Kindle.
I’m actually surprised that the iPad boasted the “faster” designation of 6.2 percent, as I expected the e-ink of the Kindle to put it ahead of the glowy iPad screen. However, the iPad seems to switch pages faster than the Kindle, and its page switch is less distracting, so maybe that’s the golden ticket.
Personally, I still can’t grapple with the idea of giving up printed books for their cooler, electronic brethren. I’ve only used the iPad and Kindle at the mall/friend’s houses, but I’ve had no urge to ditch print. Along with other reasons, I just think print is a richer, more immersive experience. Apparently it’s more efficient too.
Still, in the end, I’ll put my betting money on overall convenience winning out and e-books dominating the marketplace. No one really wants to lug heavy backpacks of textbooks or cart around hardcovers in their carry-on luggage, and the study reports that ratings for the overall experience of reading on devices versus print were extremely close. As for me–my personal, book-buying money will still go towards pulpy paper and dog-eared pages.