A study conducted by usability consultant Jakob Nielsen claims that reading on e-book readers like the iPad and the Kindle still doesn't match up to the reading speed of good old printed paper. The test chose 32 people (admittedly a small sample, but one that was felt to be representative of an e-reader audience), taught them how to read on both the Kindle and the iPad, and then clocked their speed in reading through an Ernest Hemingway story on both devices, a PC-based reader, and the printed word.
It turns out, according to the study, that the iPad was generally faster than the Kindle at reading speed -- about 6.2% slower than reading a normal book, compared to the Kindle's 10.7% slower than the printed word. The way it all worked out, there was no actual significant difference between the iPad and the Kindle, so the study can't say officially which one of those is faster. But the difference between the Kindle and the book was significant, so reading print is faster than e-readers so far.
The iPad and the Kindle barely beat the book in ease-of-use, while the PC lagged way behind, so the study is still bullish on e-readers in general. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of reasoning on why the e-readers are slower -- is the audience just not used to them, or is there something in the mechanics that make things slower? Since e-readers can adapt for usability and your standard book is pretty much as good as it's going to get, we'll likely see the iPad overtake a printed page in usability very soon.
[via PC World]