iPad and Kindle Reading Speeds

Jakob Nielsen did a short study comparing reading speeds of iPad, Kindle, and the printed book:

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.

But we can say that tablets still haven't beaten the printed book: the difference between Kindle and the book was significant at the p<.01 level, and the difference between iPad and the book was marginally significant at p=.06.

I think it would be very interesting to see more in-depth studies like this where reading comprehension is also measured. If higher education ever intends to move from print books to eraders, it would be good to know the potential effects on reading comprehension ahead of time.

BTW: Bought a Nook. My last experience reading a book on a small handheld device was my  Palm M505. Gotta say what a much better reading experience with the Nook. After I've had a chance to use it more, I'll post some reflections. In the meantime, it's an impressive device for only $149 if you don't yet have an ereader but want one.


I own an iPad and a Kindle 2 and there is no explicable reason for the Kindle to be slower – except that, as noted, we who are experienced readers know when to hit the page turn button and new users are going to make mistakes experienced users won’t. Remember hitting the page back button instead of forward? How about accidentally holding the forward button or the home or menu button? Having both a larger display and turning pages faster, it is easy to see why the iPad was faster. But still ,. why slower on the iPad? Newness explains some of it but. Is that all there was? I wonder if the dictionary came into play. How often have you been reading and came across an unfamiliar word where context let you probably guess the meaning. Did you look it up when you had to grab a dictionary? How about with the Kindle or an iPad reader?