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Old 08-21-2014, 11:23 AM   #1
Anthem
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Report: Readers absorb less on Kindles than on Paper

Written up for the Guardian:

Quote:
A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were "significantly" worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.
Available at the Guardian: www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/19/readers-absorb-less-kindles-paper-study-plot-ereader-digitisation

What do we think?
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:28 AM   #2
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I think that "The Elizabeth George study included only two experienced Kindle users". Out of fifty subjects.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:55 AM   #3
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I haven't really noticed a difference "absorbing" when I read on the Kindle rather than a pbook.
However, when reading on the Kindle, more often than not I have no idea of the name of the author and title of whatever it is I am reading because I don't see the book cover every time I pick it up or put it down
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:12 PM   #4
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I can't remember squat, delivery method is the least of my problems.
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:16 PM   #5
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And why on earth is it "Kindles" vs paper?

I frankly don't trust the results of studies that include ANY inexperienced ereaders as subjects. Until such time as the device "goes away" for a reader, the results are going to be pretty irrelevant.

I'd have no problem with empirical evidence, but most of the studies I've seen along these lines seem to be being conducted by people who are already convinced of ereading's "inferiority." The word "Kindle" should never have been used (in the study or the article). It's not relevant to what's being "studied."

Do the test again using only experienced ereaders (using the eink device to which they're already acclimated) and see what the results are. THAT I'd be interested in.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 08-21-2014 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:29 PM   #6
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
I think that "The Elizabeth George study included only two experienced Kindle users". Out of fifty subjects.
I wonder what the rationale was for choosing Elizabeth George? My wife tried one of her novels and was bored silly within one chapter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yolina
However, when reading on the Kindle, more often than not I have no idea of the name of the author and title of whatever it is I am reading because I don't see the book cover every time I pick it up or put it down
I've noticed something similar as well. Sometimes I feel like my Kindle gets too much out of the way. Sometimes it just feels like you are staring at walls of text without context. I do like how print books tend to put the author and chapter title or book title at the top of opposing pages. Have any e-readers attempted to mimic this? I could have sworn that the Kobo software did something like this. Even so, I still do 90% of my reading digitally now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer
Do the test again using only experienced ereaders (using the eink device to which they're already acclimated) and see what the results are. THAT I'd be interested in.
Yeah, I thought their attempt to dismiss this observation was a bit disingenuous.
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I'd have no problem with empirical evidence, but most of the studies I've seen along these lines seem to be being conducted by people who are already convinced of ereading's "inferiority." The word "Kindle" should never have been used (in the study or the article). It's not relevant to what's being "studied."
Yep. Confirmation Bias. I spend some time on reddit on the books subreddit and the paper zealots are enjoying this study and others like it.
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:23 PM   #9
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I wonder if a progress bar could effectively replicate the experience of progress that the researchers are talking about.

On my Kindle (5-button) there is a little progress bar at the bottom that tracks your position both in the book and within the chapter you are currently reading. I look at it frequently.

I mean... do people have this problem with movies? And there is no stack of paper being shifted from one hand to the next when you watch a movie. Sure, there is the passage of time, but you have the exact same thing happening when you are reading an e-book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgaiser
Yep. Confirmation Bias. I spend some time on reddit on the books subreddit and the paper zealots are enjoying this study and others like it.
Well, to be fair, if this study came out saying that e-readers performed dramatically better than paper readers... I find it hard to believe that a few of us here wouldn't feel a bit fuzzy inside. The vitriol and the gloating is the problem.

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Old 08-21-2014, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Well, to be fair, if this study came out saying that e-readers performed dramatically better than paper readers... I find it hard to believe that a few of us here wouldn't feel a bit fuzzy inside. The vitriol and the gloating is the problem.
I would find the reverse just as unbelievable (and suspect), myself.

As far as tracking overall "progress" goes, I've discovered it serves no useful purpose in my reading. So I turn all progress indicators, page/location counts off and just read. I don't care where I stop--and I find that just knowing I'm getting "close" to the end is a distraction that causes me to start making assumptions/predictions about what I'm reading that I wouldn't make otherwise. So unless an instructor says; "Don't read beyond page xxx," then I don't really see the point of monitoring progress myself. And if I was enjoying what I was reading, I'd probably ignore that instructor's directions anyway.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:00 PM   #11
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I don't know about absorbing more or less details depending on the medium the book is presented in but I think I'm more likely to always have a book to hand using my Kindle than in any other medium available. I mean which is more portable? A 500 page book that weighs up to a lb and is up to 2" thick or a 500 page ebook that is less than .25" thick and weighs in at 8 ounces? I'll choose the ebook reader any time.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:35 PM   #12
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I believe that anyone who finds themselves in the midst of paradigm/medium shift is going to be easily distracted by the fact that they're doing something different than their "old way" of doing that same thing. So of course their retention/absorption might suffer because of that in the interim. But I don't believe that effect need be permanent or irreversible, once the shift is made. Am I to believe that those who learned to read on stone tablets or scrolls represent the epitome of human reading-retention skills ... and that those skills have been in decline ever since? Of course not. Because once the personal shift has been made, reading is still reading is still reading. There is no point in testing people for ereading retention skills who haven't yet made that personal shift. Especially since nobody's being required to make the shift in the first place.

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Old 08-21-2014, 02:37 PM   #13
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In my particular case, this isn't an inherent fault of one technology over another.

I find that when I read too quickly, I am less likely to retain information.

I find that I often choose to read more quickly on an e-reader, and thus potentially retain less. I can read just as quickly with paper and possibly suffer the same loss.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:47 PM   #14
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
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As far as tracking overall "progress" goes, I've discovered it serves no useful purpose in my reading. So I turn all progress indicators, page/location counts off and just read. I don't care where I stop--and I find that just knowing I'm getting "close" to the end is a distraction that causes me to start making assumptions/predictions about what I'm reading that I wouldn't make otherwise.
A very important part of reading effectively is knowing your self and what works the best for you. I like the progress bar on my Kindle and seeing where I started and how far I got in that session. I do a similar thing when reading paper books where I have this weird tendency to bunch together the pages I read to see how far I got when I finish.
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