Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper

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Your Kindle is making you dumb. Here comes the science:

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.
 

Ducman69

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A new study found that 'oldies' that still use paperback are significantly more enthusiastic than reading than your average younger schmuck casual reader that picks up a kindle now and then during commercial breaks.

It'd be like saying that manual transmission drivers are significantly more skilled drivers than automatic ones. Has fuckall to do with the actual transmission per-se, but of the type of people that gravitate towards the different format... enthusiast vs schmuck.
 

ChedWick

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TL:DR as well but the general gist I can get behind for myself. Idk what it is but I can't get into e-reading. If I'm reading a long story I greatly prefer a physical book. I'm not old either.
 

Ocean

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i feel overstimulated when reading text on a bright screen. i dont want to focus in a path from left to right.


i wonder if it changes on a kindle paperwhite.
 

Armenius

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This study confirms what my feelings on reading has always been: that the sensory perception of interacting with a print book is a large part in the experience of reading and absorbing it. It's the reason why I will never move to a digital device like the Kindle for reading. Even though such devices add the ease and convenience of the modern world, the emotional connection would be lost. For me, walking into a book store is an enjoyable part of the experience anyway, whether it be the local store that has been run by the same family for 30 years or Barnes & Noble.

A new study found that 'oldies' that still use paperback are significantly more enthusiastic than reading than your average younger schmuck casual reader that picks up a kindle now and then during commercial breaks.

It'd be like saying that manual transmission drivers are significantly more skilled drivers than automatic ones. Has fuckall to do with the actual transmission per-se, but of the type of people that gravitate towards the different format... enthusiast vs schmuck.
True. In my case I love driving and everything about cars, but a bad LCL in my left knee makes driving a manual an uncomfortable proposition. I find that the younger generations couldn't care less about owning a car, let alone driving one.
 

Old_Way

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I own 2 kindles and love the convenience and ability to carry several books around without needing a backpack.... BUT, I do agree that a real 'physical' book is just somehow more fun to read. I don't think it's the e-book experience that makes anyone dumber. I just think people don't bother to open a 'real' book until they have several hours to burn doing it. With an e-reader, it's no big deal to just read 2 or 3 pages while waiting for a commercial to end for example. You (at least I don't) never do that with printed books. It's tough to really submerse yourself into a story if you're only reading a couple pages at a time.
 

motqalden

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I am an avid reader, and I love my Kobo e-reader.


It's E-ink with no backlight so its very close to a real book. I love the convenience of downloading books, and never forgetting my page!

Also three full bookshelves in the house is enough thanks:)
 

Kowan

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I have a Kindle Fire HD and being able to carry a library's worth of books in a single small package is what sold me on it.
 

defunctdoormat

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I read, and think I comprehend, books/readers the same way I've always read them. I don't read little bits at a time, during commercials, like some people are talking about. I read chapters at a time, and am uncomfortable if I don't finish on a chapter.

These days, I'm MUCH more comfortable with a reader, though. I've always found books to be extremely uncomfortable in bed. One of my arms would always go numb after a while. Nevermind about bad lighting. Also, I can't even read many books these days because the print is too small for me. My reader actually allows me to increase the font size just a bit, so I have no problems.

As far as I'm concerned, research like this will find exactly what it sets out to find. And will take whatever data it gets to ensure it's so.
 

wtourist

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Kindle seems fine to me. Possible bad habit is free and cheap books to read may be encouraging "skim" reading.
Love being able to use large print, easier on old eyes.
Carrying all the time I do "break up" the reading experience more.
 

kbrickley

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I think a more interesting study would be some sort of much more comprehensive study that has the test groups read comparable print, ebook, and audiobook versions and correlates the results with the comprehension preferences of the user (visual, auditory, tactile kinestetic) to see if ebooks are harder for the TK people versus the visual ones ... also their supposition that with a physical book you have more of an idea when events occur because of the number of pages on the one side or other side of the book could be easily tested with some digital variations (% of book completed display, number of pages left, etc)
 

Scythe

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I think the study is flawed in some manner. I tend to remember what I read regardless of the medium in which it's presented (paper, electronic, etc.).

There's nothing wrong with reading books on a Kindle. I understand some may prefer a paper book, but if you are truly **reading** the medium shouldn't matter much.
 

Yakk

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Interesting, even more interesting would be to cross reference this study with the many others such as declining attention span of hyperlink era generation of people for example.

Lots of hypothesises to explore in this branch of research.
 

Megalith

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Even after getting an OLED tablet, which gives me white text on a 100% black background, I still can't get into an eBook. The most I'll read is a chapter. Can't explain it; the experience feels fake.
 

Armenius

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I think a more interesting study would be some sort of much more comprehensive study that has the test groups read comparable print, ebook, and audiobook versions and correlates the results with the comprehension preferences of the user (visual, auditory, tactile kinestetic) to see if ebooks are harder for the TK people versus the visual ones ... also their supposition that with a physical book you have more of an idea when events occur because of the number of pages on the one side or other side of the book could be easily tested with some digital variations (% of book completed display, number of pages left, etc)
Could be. I always thought I was a visual learner until I was tested in college, and it turns out I'm primarily a kinesthetic learner. That may have a large part to do with preferring print books. I display showing how many pages I've gone through or how many are left wouldn't help in this case because it is still visual.
 

VladDracule

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This study confirms what my feelings on reading has always been: that the sensory perception of interacting with a print book is a large part in the experience of reading and absorbing it. It's the reason why I will never move to a digital device like the Kindle for reading. Even though such devices add the ease and convenience of the modern world, the emotional connection would be lost. For me, walking into a book store is an enjoyable part of the experience anyway, whether it be the local store that has been run by the same family for 30 years or Barnes & Noble.

True. In my case I love driving and everything about cars, but a bad LCL in my left knee makes driving a manual an uncomfortable proposition. I find that the younger generations couldn't care less about owning a car, let alone driving one.

This isnt just about reading. A different study was done between handwriting and typing notes and it came up with a similar conclusion. That students who handwrote their notes retained information better than those who typed conclusively
 

jimmyb

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A new study found that 'oldies' that still use paperback are significantly more enthusiastic than reading than your average younger schmuck casual reader that picks up a kindle now and then during commercial breaks.
If you read the article you'll note that they controlled for this in the experiment.
 

Hitmanthe3rd

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I like to own paperbacks, but sometimes a Kindle purchase is more convenient and occasionally cheaper. It's really hard to find some of the old books I read in Paperback format for under $40, but I can get it on the Kindle for free, or $5 at the most :). I think they will both continue to have their place. Or unless paper dies out somehow...But I don't think we'll forget how to keep on planting.
 

jgreath

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It's really hard to find some of the old books I read in Paperback format for under $40 ....
Tell me about it. I prefer paper books with a strong preference for hardback over paperback, but I do still use an e-reader on occasion. Prices for the oldest of Thomas Ligotti's books are a bit too high for me to consider physical copies.
 

Armenius

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This isnt just about reading. A different study was done between handwriting and typing notes and it came up with a similar conclusion. That students who handwrote their notes retained information better than those who typed conclusively
I can agree with this, too. Even though we worked on our laptops all the time in college I always took handwritten notes. It was more out of the reality of not being constrained by a word processor (nothing like Microsoft Note back in the day and tablets were not yet unbiquitous). But that makes me wonder if note taking with a modern tablet has the same effect as pencil/paper versus typing.
 

heatlesssun

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But that makes me wonder if note taking with a modern tablet has the same effect as pencil/paper versus typing.

Ink is supported on a number of tablets, even the iPad has some 3rd party tools that give it decent inking capabilities.
 
D

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Poor study conclusions.

They didn't make a distinction between e-ink (paperwhite) and fire-hd (backlit LCD). And the kindle versions they were given had half the text on the screen compared to a regular book (src: Article) meaning they weren't dealing with the 10" versions which is closer to the original size of most books, allowing for peripheral absorption.
 

travbrad

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This isnt just about reading. A different study was done between handwriting and typing notes and it came up with a similar conclusion. That students who handwrote their notes retained information better than those who typed conclusively

That's less surprising to me than these Kindle results. Handwriting is much slower than typing so to write something down by hand you are going to be spending more time on it, and therefore more time thinking about it. Reading should be the same speed with a book or Kindle.
 

raz-0

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Even after getting an OLED tablet, which gives me white text on a 100% black background, I still can't get into an eBook. The most I'll read is a chapter. Can't explain it; the experience feels fake.


Try it with something other than completely white on completely black. Printed matter doesn't have that level of contrast. I used to agree with studies that found this until I started reading on RGB screens with custom colors set. With the lower contrast than print e-ink, I'd get distracted by dealing with mediocre contrast and the dark gray on light gray color discrimination.

Myself I use a very slightly pink text on a dark navy blue background for most light conditions and jsut vary the overall brightness to match the environment.
 

Jagger100

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Europe government is at odds with Amazon and their crushing of Ma and Pa Bookstores which was done here a long time ago by Borders and Barnes & Noble.

Then poof a european study surfaces disparaging Amazon's ebook system specifically.
Uh... huh...
 

UrielDagda

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If this really does have anything to do with the technology, then I'm willing to say it has more to do with what people are used to doing.. In a generation or so we'll adjust. I can say this is right for me, since I grew up reading books... But if I had grown up reading eBooks, it would probably be the opposite.
 

Tyler-Durden

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I'm a convert to e-reading. I use a Kobo Arc and see no reason to switch back to paper. It's just too easy to whip out the Kobo whenever I want. I do cherish my over-filled bookshelves, though.
 

rudy

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This study confirms what my feelings on reading has always been: that the sensory perception of interacting with a print book is a large part in the experience of reading and absorbing it. It's the reason why I will never move to a digital device like the Kindle for reading. Even though such devices add the ease and convenience of the modern world, the emotional connection would be lost. For me, walking into a book store is an enjoyable part of the experience anyway, whether it be the local store that has been run by the same family for 30 years or Barnes & Noble.

True. In my case I love driving and everything about cars, but a bad LCL in my left knee makes driving a manual an uncomfortable proposition. I find that the younger generations couldn't care less about owning a car, let alone driving one.

No its not, what is more likely is that old folks think this because they learned this way. Seriously take anything and change it on people and watch it throw them off even if its clearly superior. The whole reason that printed works are on white backgrounds are cause of cost not because it makes sense. Wait some years when more kids grow up used to displays and see how many will shun paper.

Also speaking of inking, MS just updated onenote to support inking. That's pretty much game over for me. It was the last thing missing from a complete reading and note taking experience that spans from desktops to mobile devices. paper is gone. The printer ran out of ink at my work and has been out for a week, everyone keeps saying this or that. I am like honestly I didn't even notice.
 

rudy

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* I mean they updated it on mobile, at least android.
 

heatlesssun

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* I mean they updated it on mobile, at least android.

Correct. The Windows desktop and modern version have always supported ink, though the ink support is still the best on the Windows desktop relative to the other versions.
 
D

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I agree that allot does have to do with the type of reader. I am the kind that if I have the choice, I will pick a real book every time. But I also own two kindles for the fact that when I am out or traveling, I can't bring everything with me and might be in the mood for a given book, the Kindle allows me to do this. But there is just something about the feel of the paper and holding a real book that does it for me. With the price of Kindle books however more and more have become digital books that I buy, with most real books being ones I love or have really been looking forward to, even then I still buy the digital copy with it.
 
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When a thing becomes easier to do, it becomes less valued and more easily dismissed.
 

sonicboom

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I don't disagree with their findings entirely, but I have an issue of my own. If I need to read a book, and it has a pdf format to be read on a pc screen, and another mobi/epub on a portable device, I can get through it much faster on the portable device than the monitor.
I've tried this out numerous times, even long winded work memos do the same thing to me. I tire faster reading the monitor, lose interest and either print the stuff out or read it later on my phone/tablet.
 

pothb

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^I'm lost... they said on the reader, not the monitor.

Your phone tablet, would be a whole different thing, and monitor even more so.

Research is retarded. If it were a backlit screen, then yes, your eyes would probably be tired and you probably wouldn't pay as much attention... maybe. But Something like a kindle doesn't have that. It's like reading an etch & scketch.
 
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