Studies Disagree on Whether Readers Absorb Less on Kindles than on Paper

292100160_743d18dd65_n[1]The Guardian reported yesterday on a new study which showed that reading on a Kindle led test subjects to recall fewer details from the story, leading some to speculate that we've reached the edges of ebook usability.

While Nicholas Carr might want to use this paper to sound the death knell of ebooks, I think further study is warranted.

From the article: Continue reading

Study: eBooks Beat Print Books at Helping Young Kids Learn Words

With l_p0021019564[1]some studies showing enhanced ebooks hurt while other studies show that ebook readers help readers learn, the jury is still out on the topic of whether ebooks help or hurt reading comprehension.

Late last week a newly released study added to the debate. A team of researchers at Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute have found that displaying a picture book on an iPad, and combining it with narration, improved small children's ability to understand the words they are seeing. Continue reading

Does the Backlight on the iPad Really Help Improve Reading Speed? Maybe Not

There's a story going around today about a recent study at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. According to most press accounts, ophthalmologists at the school have shown that readers with moderate vision loss benefit ted from reading on a backlit screen.

The 100 test subjects boosted their reading speed by 42 words-per-minute while reading on the iPad, and they also saw an increase of 12 WPM when reading on the original Kindle (the original one without a frontlight).

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that this study stands up to scrutiny. I'm still casting about for a copy of the related paper, but just based on the press coverage I can see a couple alternate explanations for the increase in reading speed. Continue reading

Study: E-ink is NOT Better for Your Eyes Than LCDs

If you've been reading ebooks for any length of time then you've probably heard about how E-ink screens are nicer on the eyes than LCD screens. It's simply common sense that not having a light shine in your face must be better for you, and that is why E-ink Corp wants everyone to switch their reading over to devices with its screens.

But like some common sense assumptions, this one doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny. A paper published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics last month reveals a fascinating study which suggests that it's the resolution more than the screen tech which has a harmful effect. Continue reading

Do eBooks Make It Harder to Recall What You Just Read? Answer: No

I'm rather busy with a conference right now, but there's an article that was posted today that has me pissed. I have to respond to it.  Time has an article on their website today which asks the question "Do eBooks Make It Harder to Recall What You Just Read?"

I received a Kindle for my birthday, and enjoying “light reading,” in addition to the dense science I read for work, I immediately loaded it with mysteries by my favorite authors. But I soon found that I had difficulty recalling the names of characters from chapter to chapter. At first, I attributed the lapses to a scary reality of getting older — but then I discovered that I didn’t have this problem when I read paperbacks.

The thing is, this question is bunk and I can prove it. Not only can I say that from my own experiences; I have a scientific study (published in a peer reviewed journal, no less) which disproves the anecdotes in Time's article. Continue reading