Dec 15, 2011

Are Tablets and E-Readers Responsible For a Rebirth of Reading?

According to The Economist, we're entering a new age of digital consumption: Lean Back 2.0. They say tablets and e-readers are to thank, but is it all just hyperbole about hypertext?

In a presentation given by Andrew Rashbass, CEO of The Economist Group, he claimed that the old publishing models of web and print are "irredeemably broken." (I wasn't aware that web publishing was old yet — though admittedly for some publishers it definitely is broken.)

So what the hell does he mean by "Lean Back 2.0"? Simple, really. He points to the fact that the use of tablets and e-readers is growing — at the expense of print and web use — and simultaneously also changing our reading habits. Unlike reading on a laptop, reading on an iPad or Kindle is a leisure activity. Unlike reading a print newspaper or magazine, you can access whatever the hell you like. We're now combining the utility of modern tech with the enjoyment of reading as relaxation.

It kinda makes sense. But don't just take Rashbass's hyperbolic word for it, take some of his (not altogether convincing) figures too. In his presentation, he points out that 42 per cent of tablet users regularly read in-depth articles, and another 40 per cent read them occasionally — which suggests people read more longer items on tablets than on computers. Apparently.

Also, users' eye activity is far more focused on an iPad app than on a website, and many people also claim they find it easier to learn new things and enjoy news more when digesting it via a tablet. Apparently.


Lot's Wife said...

Well, I like that tablets meant for reading are easier on the eyes than laptops, and it's nice how convenient they make it to access divers content, but I'd still take a book any day.

alhexblog Spot said...

I love tablets - I don't own any.
But, I think a "paper-made" book is better.

Heaven. said...

I miss my nook :(

Adam said...

I never got into the e-reader thing. My mom got a cheap one and never bought one e-book. I had an app for my iPod Touch, but rarely used it. I just prefer paper.

One of my co-worker buys books on it all the time. He's spent hundreds of dollars already.

YeamieWaffles said...

I agree with you that tablets are taking over and helping the fledging concept of book reading be increased but in all honesty I still don't think this can prevent the rot that the internet causes when it comes to reading online and stuff instead of books.