E-books vs Printed Books

A recent usability survey conducted by Jakob Nielsen of product development consultancy Nielsen Norman Group discovered that it takes longer to read electronic books on, for example, an Apple iPad or a Kindle 2 when compared to reading a traditional printed book. According to the experiment, reading speeds reduce by 6.2% on the iPad and 10.7% on the Kindle when compared to print although the result does not mean that reading on the iPad is faster than the Kindle.

It is however not all doom and gloom for the electronic reading devices as the study reports that satisfaction ratings on the survey are quite promising for the future of e-readers and tablets. Apart from the overall user satisfaction, some advantages of using e-readers include access to several books and tools such as search functions and dictionaries at any given time. Furthermore, the fact that features such as text fonts are customisable means that e-books (or e-Magazines) are generally easier to read on e-readers. Other advantages of using an e-reader is the convenience factor which means that you do not have to carry heavy books around.

However, printed-book lovers argue that e-books take away the “feeling of paper” one gets when reading a book and the downloading process or need for regular charging of batteries are sometimes too cumbersome. Whichever side of the argument you belong, there is no doubt that electronic books have changed the way books are read and people can choose whatever they are comfortable with. By learning how to make an eBook you can share your creativity with the world and self-publish your own work.

Talking Point

Do you agree with the results of the study above? How long does it take you to read an average e-book?

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  1. No doubt ebookreaders will take more and more ground from regularly books. Audio books will also continue to take market from books I think.

  2. I think that the era of printed books is coming to an end. Most people want a quick solution that requires less movement. Going to or a similar website solves that problem. I think for me, being a lover of libraries, it is truly a sad thing. But in the end, as long as people continue to read I will be happy!


  3. I am a book lover and I think every book lover should choose using e-readers. From eco friendly point of view, I feel e-readers are the best thing that has happened. Think about deforestation, in pursuit of keeping our pleasure of reading alive we’ll be reducing our forest area.

  4. But why is reading an e-book slower? I don’t understand the reason.

    I read a lot of e-books, but all of those are books for learning. If I want to read a classic like Proust then I buy the physical book. It just feels better.
    And what am I going to fill my bookcases with?
    How can I succesfully brag about the books I have read if, when I bring my date home, she can’t even go through my book closet when I’m in the toilet?

  5. How can reading speed be faster on the ipad than on a kindle? The Ipad isn’t even a real e-reader with e-ink. The only thing that makes the ipad good for reading is the size.
    But maybe that is even too big. And it makes people look at computer screens even more.
    Must be nice for the people who manufacture reading glasses.

  6. I have tested this experiment out with the new ipad2 and kindle fire reading a book pertaining to the real estate market and found that with the newer technology now, as compared to last year when the article was written, has made the experiment moot. Larger screens, faster processors, glare reduction all play a factor into speed and ease of use.

  7. How can I succesfully brag about the books I have read if, when I bring my date home, she can’t even go through my book closet when I’m in the toilet?

  8. Call me old fashioned, but no matter what I still prefer reading from a paper book, after spending so much time staring at screens I much prefer to relax with a paper book, there is nothing quite like print.

  9. I prefer printed books over ebooks. Some of the Ebooks I have are very poorly done and a little difficult to read. Plus there is just something about having a physical copy of something that I bought that makes it really feel like it’s mine.

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