Is your techie toy reducing your reading habits?

I’ve just read this blog post about a new subscription model for content on e-readers, based on the fact that:

“We have statistically calculated the average consumption for tablet users and smartphone users, which is lower than one book per month,’

Now, I’m not entirely sure which tablet or smartphone users they based their prediction on, but I know that my reading levels have definitely gone up since getting an e-reader. Now, I not only am buying books frequently from charity shops, but I’m downloading free, cheap and even full-price e-books, depending on the urgency of my desire to read them (e.g.if I read the first part of a trilogy and enjoyed it, I’d be highly likely to download the second and third parts, regardless of price, if I really wanted to keep going with the flow of the books). In November, I realised I’d read (at a conservative estimate, as I don’t keep much track of the physical books I read, but I do have a “Read” file on my e-reader) at least 44 books that year, up to that point. By the end of the year I’d read 54 (it woulda been 55 if I hadn’t started reading an ENORMOUS tome at the end of the year), and the fact that the second I’d finished one, I could flip onto the next was a great enabler. Plus the fact that it was convenient to chuck in my handbag, and use on the bus, at lunchtimes while in the kitchen, in bed etc.

So, my question is this: if you have a smartphone and/or a tablet, and e-reader, has it helped you to read more? Or is the calculation above correct: are you to busy to read a book a month?

Author: Jennie

Law, libraries, books, crafts, and general geekery.

8 thoughts on “Is your techie toy reducing your reading habits?”

  1. I definitely read more fiction books since having my e-reader, for many of the same reasons you state.

    I don't tend to read on my tablet though and don't think I would even if I didn't have an e-reader. In my case, with an iPad, it's too heavy to read in bed and I prefer the screen and lack of distraction from the Kindle. So I wonder if the fact that tablets aren't as nice a reading experience is skewing the results perhaps?


  2. I *think* I disagree with what I understand your your general position to be in that I believe books are worth much more than just the information they contain, much of which is owing to visual, tactile and even olfactory meta-data that can'd be communicated by an “about” page; speaking purely for myself I am sure an e-reader would definitely reduce the amount that I read.

    I'm interested in the relationship between reading rates, reading session duration and frequencies of sessions, though. Presumably e-readers read shorter, more frequent sessions which, if it were I, would result in slower reading rates (and thus a smaller information-consumption-per-unit-time would be reported on a survey such as Legimi's) owing to the need to re-engage with a story. As I say, I speak purely for myself, here!

    I'm also curious as to how Legimi conducted their market research; I can't help feeling a study which relies on having a significant number of participants who A) own and use e-readers and B) respond to questionnaires would require some pretty fancy statistical footwork to control for variables such as “amount of free time”!



  3. I can't be sure, because I've never tracked my reading, but I'd fairly certain that I read more now I have my Kindle. I've always read lots anyway, but like you say, you can just keep going with the Kindle – even if you finish your book! I can also read it in more places on top of that – just picking it up and starting where you might not bother with a hard copy book (e.g. short bus/train journey, waiting for someone you're meeting).

    I also don't feel as much need to 'savour' my books, as I can get free books, so I can download things and give them a try and not worry if I don't like it. I can read a free, not great book without concentrating too hard on it, when I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place before.

    But I do also think that's partly my personality and partly having an e-reader. I don't think I'd bother as much if I was having to do it on a phone/tablet (I do read on my phone in an emergency!).


  4. I agree with you Jaff. Honestly all it does it increase my capacity for books.

    I have a kindle and an ip*d and I read on both of them as there are free books available on both.

    I go to my library and I buy books from charity shops. And I have just downloaded the library app to get e-books from them on my ip*d. Not available on kindle in the UK yet, unfortunately. I just haven't found anything to read yet in the library's ebook collection – need to get a handle on what they have.

    Basically they are all just feeding my addiction. I love it that I have multiple devices to read on and can decide what to take depending on what I'm doing. (e.g. ip*d gets taken on work trips, kindle on holiday)

    I agree with Megan too about downloading free stuff to give it a go. Which I like, because it means I can try new things and not worry about it.

    And if I find an author I love, then I just download them ALL. (she says with crazed look in her eye) I'm afraid I don't know how many books I've read this year, my 'Read' folder is for stuff where I liked it, but won't necessarily get another one by that author. Good stuff gets put into author folders.

    I can say though that I read 'A LOT' in 2012. (Helpful, no?) Depending on the quality of the book, how much time I've got to read and whether I'm dying to find out what happens, on average I can read between 1 and 5 books a week. If I'm on a sunshine holiday, all bets are off and just read loads.

    In fact, I've had to put a limit on what I buy. (crazed look reappears)

    Now I'm not sure you needed all of that random information, but I've typed it now, so it yours. 😉


  5. Just came across an interesting statistic relating to this in the American Libraries magazine on their 2012 in Review feature. It mentions research from Pew Research Center which shows that 30% of e-content readers say they now spend more time reading than they used to because of the availability of e-content.


  6. Huh, I find it off. I read more just because now I can carry around even more books. I still have a strong print preference–too much screen time in general–but I keep a stash of shorter books handy on the phone and tablet for waiting in line, forgot to bring the other book I'm reading, what do you mean you missed your train and now it'll be 30 minutes?


  7. So *puts on lab coat and horn-rimmed glasses*, based on this entirely unscientific sample, it looks like that company's going to be in trouble if it's business model tells them that only small chunks of material will satisfy its users, as e-reader owners actually read MORE than they did before they had an e-reader. The e-reader's are being used in situations where books aren't convenient, but books are still being read too.

    *removes lab coat and sets fire to it*


  8. I only got a tablet recently but I have been an on/off kindle app fan for a while. Throughout summer 2011 I was surgically attached to my phone and I always had a book on the go during commutes … (macabre crime stuff… plus a bit of Sherlock Holmes… that kind of thing). Then, suddenly, I became utterly sick of it and just haven't been able to get back into reading for pleasure since.

    But its not just e-books – I simply cannot get back into conventional paper books either.

    To be clear, I don't blame e-readers for my reduction in reading for pleasure (a semi stressful lifestyle and being unable to cope have taken care of that) but interestingly, having a tablet certainly hasn't increased my reading levels. It has reinforced my position as a news junkie however … but I'm not sure whether that can be regarded as a good or bad thing.


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