Sure, the same day my Nook arrives somebody’s gotta release some scientific study on e-readers. And what do they find? People who read books on an iPad read 6.2% slower than when they read a printed book while reading on the Kindle is 10.7% slower than print.
Now, granted, the study doesn’t include the Nook but I’m guessing that’s irrelevant, especially since my first couple days using the Nook on an occasional basis indicates the study made a few probably accurate observations. In fact, I think the slower reading time is in part due to the fact that because the pages on an e-reader are smaller than the normal printed page, there is inherently additional time consumed just “turning” the pages.
The reading speed study only used information from 24 people so I don’t know how statistically valid it is. But there’s a few things that indicate that the reaction of those involved may be fairly universal. On a scale of 1 to 7, e-books and printed books scored at 5.6 or above. Reading on a PC screen scored what was called an “abysmal” 2.6. Yes, people hate reading on desktops. In addition, those who participated in the study disliked the Kindle’s use of gray-on-gray letters and the lack of true pagination while they felt reading a printed book was more relaxing.
I would agree with all of those. Although perhaps not identical to the Kindle, I would prefer a higher resolution, color reading area and the pagination is somewhat confusing, as it takes about two and a half Nook “pages” to constitute one printed page (or so it appears). And the look and feel of the Nook are more antiseptic than a real book, which reduces the tactile experience that can contribute to making reading a printed book enjoyable. Not addressed are a couple things I’m still struggling with, such as how some of the controls are set up in the interface and what I can and can’t do as easily as I would think. The mix of touch screen and non-touch screen on the same device is also a bit confusing, especially since I use a Blackberry Storm that is almost entirely touch screen operated. I am also slowly learning which formats are better than others, such as Adobe Digital Editions or ePub over PDF or text files.
At this point I can’t say I’m totally enthralled with the Nook and would probably end up rating it in the same range as the subjects of the study did the Kindle and iPad. I am willing to recognize, though, that I am still at the point of getting acclimated to the device and the concept, so this is just an initial reaction. But it’s still a bad time to tell me it may lengthen how long it takes me to read a book.
UPDATE: This must be causing major heartburn in B&N’s legal department and executive suites. Does Amazon own the patent for the Nook?
The printed page transcends space and time.
El Lissitzky, “The Topography of Typography”