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Different Reading Devices, Different Modes of Reading?

Via Gary Price at TeleRead []:

Reading a Book Versus a Screen: Different Reading Devices, Different Modes of Reading?

ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2011)

“The study analyzed the differences in reading from various kinds of  media (e-book, tablet PC, paper) in two sample groups, young and elderly  adults. Each participant read various texts with different levels of  complexity on an e-book reader (Kindle 3), on a tablet PC (iPad), and on  paper. The reading behavior and the participants’ corresponding neural  processes were assessed by means of concurrent measures of eye movements  (eye tracking) and electrophysiological brain activity (EEG). The  criteria that were taken into account and analyzed were changes in the  theta frequency band power, reading behavior, text comprehension, and  information recall as well as the participants’ preferences for the  respective medium.”

And the results were that there were not really any major differences.

“participants’ subjective perceptions did not match the  results of a comparison of e-ink readers and printed paper texts.”

“the subjective preference for the printed  book is not an indicator of how fast and how well the information is  processed”

“There is no (reading)  culture clash – whether it is analog or digital, reading remains the  most important cultural technology.”

“While there were no differences between the three media  employed in terms of rates of reading by the younger participants, the  older participants exhibited faster reading times when using the tablet  PC.”

Anecdotally I also hear marked preferences for print versus e-paper readers versus tablets.  I have noticed that those who vociferously prefer print, almost to a person, don’t read an e-books and never have.   It’s still a personal choice.



Posted on: October 28, 2011, 12:31 pm Category: Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Jay Velgos said

    Stephen, I’ve been considering this very topic lately, having spent a few weeks now with my Nook Touch reader with e-ink display.

    My subjective assessment is that reading on e-ink is preferable to both a physical book and a color tablet display. Here’s why:

    1. Display. From medium-low ambient light to bright sun, the matte display of the e-ink page is easy on my eyes, with little glare or reflection. In contrast, my glossy Android tablet screen (admittedly not a Apple-quality “retina” display) is awash with reflections from either natural or artificial light sources. And in pitch dark, I find even a low-brightness setting to be a bit harsh.

    2. Physical form. Maybe I’m a closet bibliofetishist because I tend to go to great lengths to avoid creasing or cracking the spine of a book I’m reading. This unfortunately results in a less-than-optimal viewing angle for the pages inside and eye movements that dip in-and-out of the gutter. There’s no such trade-off with the e-reader: No bending, no gutter, and no two-handed page-turning. Best of all, I’ve learned (repeatedly) that gravy, marinara, and barbecue sauce all do less damage to my e-reader than to traditional paper-based reading materials.