iPad and Kindle more satisfactory to read than books

We’re not huge fans of e-books over here at TechEye. Call us Luddites, but we like being able to grab a book off the shelf of a shop, bringing it back and plonking it in a room never to be looked at again.

Besides, put a bunch of Gurdjieff, Sartre, Hume, Whatever in your living room and you look smart as heck.

Apparently the human brain agrees. According to a recent study, people read e-books slower than they read printed media. Nielsen Norman Group tested out the iPad and the Kindle 2 and found that users read books six percent and ten percent slower than in a regular book, respectively. So the iPad advert that says “more books than you can read in a lifetime” is six percent more true.

That said, while participants read e-readers a lot slower than regular books, they rated their satisfaction higher than in print, but just about. Out of seven, the iPad got a score of 5.8, the Kindle got 5.7 and the printed book got 5.6.

The only medium which people really didn’t like using was on a regular PC, grabbing a satisfaction rating of 3.6. We reckon that’s because computers are cold and not tactile, whereas the Kindle and the iPad are nice hunks of machinery that you can touch and fawn over, as you would with a real book.

Doctor Jakob Nielson, who led the research, said: “This study is promising for the future of e-readers and tablet computers. We can expect higher quality screens in the future, as indicated by the recent release of the iPhone 4 with a 326 dpi display. But even the current generation is almost as good as print in formal performance metrics.”

With user satisfaction so high, we reckon slight reading problems won’t stop fans of shiny gadgets from keeping on trucking with their e-readers and tablet PCs. You can’t even get 3G on a paperback.