Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The book v the Kindle v iBooks (iPad) - place your bets

Jakob Nielsen has been researching the reading speed and user experience for the Kindle and iPad. Both products that are proving surprising popular with the older demographic.

I don’t have a Kindle but have the Kindle2 software on my iPad and have tried reading books using both iBooks and the Kindle emulator. To be honest I didn’t think there was that much difference. This is what Mr Nielsen had to say.

People reading books on tablet devices have higher reading speeds than in the past, but they're still slower than reading print.

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.

Thus, the only fair conclusion is that we can't say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed. In any case, the difference would be so small that it wouldn't be a reason to buy one over the other.

The iPad, Kindle, and the printed book all scored fairly high at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6, respectively. The PC, however, scored an abysmal 3.6.

Most of the respondents disliked the weight of the iPad (I have to agree with that) and that the Kindle featured less-crisp gray-on-gray letters. People also disliked the lack of true pagination and preferred the way that iBooks indicated the amount of text left in a chapter.

Since the iPad and Kindle are in their first phase of development I reckon the response of the readers was very positive. Just think what it will be like when the devices are half the weight and have twice the screen resolution and when electronic books are 10% the price of the printed version. The tablet will be a no-brainer. It is not a matter of if but when the printed book becomes a luxury purchase. Dick Stroud

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