Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Reading speeds: Kindle or paperback?

I've always had the feeling that I read a book faster if I read it on my Kindle. Depending on the font and line-spacing, I can find it quite difficult to read some books, whereas on my Kindle, I can change the font size and line-spacing to suit me. I also have the Kindle app on my phone and I know that I am far more likely to read a few pages on my phone while I'm waiting in a queue, than read a few pages of a paperback.

It's probably the science geek in me, but I was interested to see if there was evidence - do I genuinely read faster on Kindle or is it just my perception? Given that I logged all the books I read in 2015 with their start-date and finish date and given that I know whether I read the paperback or if they were read on my Kindle, I had lots of actual data to play with!
[Yes, Amanda. It's the science geek in you... no-one else does this...]

The shortest time it took me to read a book was a day. I inhaled too many books like this to list them all! They were almost all read on my Kindle though, supporting my gut feeling that I tend to read faster on that than I do a paperback.

The longest time I took over a book was not over "I Am Pilgrim" despite its 912 page heft, but David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" which took me 27 days to finish. Admittedly, it is a long book (529 pages) but it was the fact that I didn't enjoy it that made me not want to pick it up. Others may love it but it wasn't a highlight of my year. Although I do have "Cloud Atlas" as a paperback, the tiny font drove me to buy the e-book and I read it on my Kindle.

I still had the sense that I read faster on my Kindle, so I had a look at each of the books I'd read, how long each one took me and whether they were Kindle-based or paper-based.When I did the maths, there was absolutely no difference! If anything, it took me fractionally longer to read a book on the Kindle, reading an average of 54 pages per day on a Kindle versus 63 pages per day in a real book.

My other suspicion was that I read more when it's quiet and less when it's busy, so I decided to see when my reading peaks and troughs were. To be honest, other than the obvious peaks over the Christmas and New Year period, it hasn't followed any pattern at all! I have practically inhaled books, even in really busy weeks, for the simple reason that I couldn't put them down! Other times, the week has been quiet but the book hasn't grabbed me and it's been a chore to get through it.

graph of books read in 2015
Number of books read each week

I wondered if the two 'holes' where I read no books at all in the week, not even a fraction of one, coincided with anything significant, but they don't! Ditto for when I've read a lot (other than the obvious two bulges relating to New Year and now Christmas).

Okay, enough science geeking. Please tell me that there are others out there who do this kind of thing?

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