Asking Bookstagram: Do You Read Faster on an E-Reader?

Recently, I started asking fun questions to my bookstagram followers to see their opinions and thoughts on book related topics. I conducted my first survey over the weekend asking the question: Do you read faster or slower on an e-reader?

Background

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading a lot on my e-reader lately. Maybe it’s because of the pandemic and the virus that I don’t want to touch any books or maybe it’s because new books aren’t coming in so I’m getting more e-galleys and e-library loans. Either way, I’ve been reading a lot more electronically.

And of course when I’m doing anything bookish, weird questions pop up in my head. This time, I noticed I was reading faster. Or it feels like I’m reading faster. I don’t have any data to support this theory, it was just a feeling.

So I went to bookstagram to ask if anyone else has felt the same way when they use an e-reader. I left the question up for 24 hours and shared some responses afterwards. Note, these aren’t based on any scientific research. This is entirely by feel and opinion, but I thought the opinions were fun and interesting to read. Here’s the results:

Results

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According to the poll, 66% of people who responded said that they do feel like they read faster. Only 34% said they read slower.

For those who read slow

Many of the issues folks have with e-readers in general is how their reading habits change. The big thing people mentioned was that they don’t comprehend as much as they would from a physical book. Other people mentioned that e-readers make it too easy to skim through the book and many folks mentioned that they tend to skim when on the e-reader.

I found those results fascinating because I never skim and I have full comprehension. Is this just a case of brain wiring? Are some folks better readers on an e-reader than others?

I can imagine that comprehension goes down. Similarly to reading an article on your phone or perusing social media, we read quickly, skim, and try to take away the basic premise. Also, social media keeps things short and sweet which means when you read on your phone, you’re reading 240 characters. Your brain isn’t absorbing and following a story any longer than that.

I can see how the habit of using our phones for social media, texting, everything would make it more difficult to sit down and read an entire book off of it!

For those who read fast

There were a few different responses, but many folks said the same thing. The big one was the settings and accessibility of an e-reader. People love the ability to change the font, the print size, the lighting on the page, and the lightness of the device. For some, it provides a better reading experience than the set print type and font of a physical book. So they’re not tossing and turning or straining their eyes to read. They have no barriers keeping them from an enjoyable reading experience, which results in reading faster or even more on an e-reader.

Others mentioned the compulsion to swipe. My friend, Leigh, mentioned that she wrote a blog post about this so I went to her blog and looked it up. Similarly to phones, we are wired to swipe everything. Swipe right for dates. Swipe up for more info. Swipe away to close an app. So when it comes to reading, the compulsion to swipe is similar to that of using your phone. So they read and read and read and swipe and swipe and swipe. I kind of get that! For some, this is the reason why reading comprehension goes down. For others, they’re able to read faster while comprehending what they’re reading. INTERESTING!

The final thing I wanted to mention is the progress bar. I like to hide my progress bar on my e-reader. This allows me to read without the distraction of how much book I have left. When I turn my progress bar off, I get lost in the story. I focus my time on the words and what’s being presented. And then I get up in an hour and noticed I’ve read 100 pages. This is why I’m always surprised I read so quickly!

Other folks mentioned using the progress bar to challenge themselves. If they can see they’re at 30%, they’ll set a goal to read to 45% or 60%. While you can do this with a physical book and mark out the pages you want to read, perhaps people like the ease of the e-reader who uses technology to do it for you.

Conclusion

There is none! This wasn’t a contest or a challenge to see if e-readers are better than physical books. There’s room for both in our reading world. Many people responded telling me that they love the feel of a physical book and couldn’t really get into the e-reader, which I completely understand too! But I did think the results were fun and I loved sharing them with you all today.

So I’ll ask the same to you. Do you feel like you read faster on an e-reader?

11 thoughts on “Asking Bookstagram: Do You Read Faster on an E-Reader?

  1. This is a really interesting post! I think I read faster on my Kindle because it’s easier to take with me, I can read in low light, etc. I also use the progress bar to motivate me to read to a certain percentage, as you mentioned above.

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  2. This is very interesting! Personally, I read way slower on an e-reader. I can’t seem to focus and tend to skip sentences. There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of holding a book in my hands! These days, I also, don’t buy books due to the pandemic and I miss it terribly. I don’t it has every been so long without me buying a book, even when I still have like 5-6 books on my self. (the life of a book lover haha)

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  3. Loved this post! It really feels so crazy for me to see the differences between my reading with physical books and ebooks. And it is also so amazing that you posted this because it’s great to see others’ point of view on this.

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  4. This is a very interesting post! Like you, I’ve been reading a lot more on my e-reader lately, but I recently picked up one of the physical books I have at home and was surprised to find how much slower I am at reading a physical book. I think it’s because with a physical book, I can pause to think, and flip back to a few pages to appreciate again a passage that I really enjoyed. With an e-reader, I’m less likely to pause and savour because I feel it’s a hassle to bookmark and return to my current page, so I just barrel on and reflect on everything afterwards. I’m not sure if there’s a discrepancy in comprehension, but there’s definitely a discrepancy in my subjective ability to savour a sentence or passage. 🙂

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  5. I feel that I read fiction faster on an e-reader especially if it is a good one because it gives me the illusion that its fast-paced/ a page-turner so I am more likely to return to it.

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  6. I did notice that I read faster when I am using my kindle compared to when I am reading with the actual book. I started LOTR: The Twin Towers in both my kindle and the actual book and I noticed that I go through it a lot faster in the kindle.

    x. Coco

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  7. This is a very interesting point! I’ve always been a hard copy reader unless I’m listening to an audiobook but I recently purchased a Kindle. With the pandemic, I started receiving e-galley copies from NetGalley and needed a way to read them. I was surprised by how quickly I finished two books on my Kindle when I’ve been struggling to read my hard copies recently. I think it’s the compulsion to swipe and the progress bar that’s causing increased speed for me!

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