What’s more important: reading more quickly … or reading more?
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen measured the reading speeds of people reading passages from Hemmingway in printed books, on the Amazon Kindle, and on the iPad. His conclusion — based on the performance of 24 avid readers — is that electronic books slow readers down by as much as 10.7%.
I’d say there’s another way — a much more relevant and important way — of measuring an ebook’s impact on your reading behavior.
How many books did you read last year?
I read thirty-six books in 2009 — every single one of them on the Kindle. I read novels for pleasure. I read books for work. I read them while walking to and from The Company, while eating lunch, and while riding the elevator from floor to floor. I read them in doctor’s waiting rooms, in hospital rooms, in grocery store lines, in jets, in hotels, in restaurants.
I don’t know what impact the Kindle and the iPad have on my reading speed. But I do know this: because I can
– carry *all* the books I’m reading with me, at all times, everywhere I go,
– read during what would often be wasted time: standing in line, walking to work, riding in the car, and
– summon a new book and start reading it in less than sixty seconds, without going to a bookstore or waiting for an Amazon.com delivery,
I’m reading more.
My ebook reader’s impact on the number of books I read is more important to me than its impact on my reading speed.