Extending Google's Book Search Program
Optimism vs. Pessimism

How the Kindle is Changing My Reading Habits

Kindle3 Now that I've had my Kindle for a few months I recently noticed a pretty dramatic impact it's had on me.  In my pre-Kindle days I'd spend my reading sessions going through a few magazines as well as a chapter or two of whatever book I happened to be immersed in that week.  The key point is that the majority of my time was spent reading books.

Nowadays I spend just as much time reading as before, but it's all centered around my New York Times subscription, my Kindlefeeder RSS feeds and either Time magazine or my most recent addition, MIT's Technology Review magazine.  I purchased and started reading three other books on my Kindle but I haven't touched any of them in at least two weeks.

So for some strange reason, I'm finding the Kindle experience to be more useful when it's focused on shorter length, more time-sensitive content.  Jeff Bezos has spoken before about our current culture's tendency towards "information snacking", or spending more time with shoter length works.  Amazon's e-reader is supposed to help us embrace longer works (like books) again, but if my experience is any indication, the Kindle (and its wireless functionality) is turning out to be yet another device that enables even more info snacking.

Comments

Book Calendar

I've heard that people read on a screen 25% slower than on the printed page. Also, people seem to have a preference to not want to scroll down through multiple screens.

The best analogy that I have seen in print for a web page is that of a billboard with links.

Ann

Hmmm. So maybe the new model should be publishers subsidizing e-readers and sending free chapter excerpts of books, and attributing it all to marketing...

Joe Wikert

Ann, you seem to be describing something more than the sample content that's already freely available for every book on the Kindle. Can you elaborate on what you have in mind?

Ann

I don't have a Kindle, and wasn't aware that a sample chapter was available for every book. However, I was actually thinking beyond the Kindle (since I rebel against being tied to one vendor for my books).

A big stumbling block in ebook adoption is cost. But using the old "give them the razor for free, make them buy the blades model," if publishers underwrote the cost of the devices, for the privilege of sending sample chapters through some sort of opt-in process, they would in essence become marketing/advertising vehicles for the physical book. I would happily read excerpts on an e-reader and then purchase the physical book if I wanted to sit down and read in more than "snack size" bites.

Not a fully formed idea, but that's the gist of it.

Maggie

Very interesting. I don't think you're the only one who feels that way. Someone with whom I work recently spoke with a Kindle user while commuting. He said he loved the device and was reading more than ever. Just not books--magazines and newspapers instead. The books he had downloaded were sitting untouched on his Kindle and, he said, would probably stay that way.

It seems to me that a big part of the reason we've embraced bite-sized content is because we're all so busy. People may not feel like they have the time or patience to commit to books like Anna Karenina these days. And the Kindle doesn't really help solve that problem--you can download ebooks and (guiltily?) ignore them just as easily as you can buy them and stack them by your bed.

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