As tablet sales surge and put downward pressure on dedicated e-reader ownership growth, publishers are pessimistic that tablets will provide readers with an enticing reading platform.
“The devices [tablet computers] are capable of so many more distracting things,” said James L. McQuivey, Ph.D., vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, who conducted the survey. “If you have an iPad and 15 minutes to kill, are you going to do something more cognitively difficult like reading, or something brain-dead simple like going on Facebook or watching a YouTube video?”
Still, crossover devices like the Kindle Fire – not quite a full-sized tablet like the iPad, but with functionality far beyond that of an e-ink reader – may be a boon to publishers. Kindle Fire owners read e-books on the device more than any other activity. A recent survey of 216 Kindle Fire owners by RBC Financial Group found that 71% list reading e-books as one of the two activities they do the most on the device. “Brose the Web” came in distant second at 39%.
You’d think books might have the same power to distract – what is behind that tooled leather binding up on the top shelf? Ooh, that title down there looks intriguing – but that’s not their effect. Somehow, books signify a more intentional and contemplative relationship with knowledge. It’s partly because nobody shoves a message about a pizza party or a note about a funny video between the pages as you are reading. And unless you are a skilled reader of endnotes and unusually impatient, it’s less tempting than when online to interrupt your reading of one text to go looking for another in mid-sentence. Books just seem calmer, slower: slower to write, slower to read, more sustained in their narrative style than what fits onto a computer screen. It could well be because they are not really in the business of advertising, as Google and Facebook are, and they don’t fret about dominating the attention economy. They are more patient about discovery and don’t count readers by the eyeball.
Bosses may have it all wrong when they assume that funny cat videos and FAIL slideshows are a drain on the workplace. Some new research finds that a moderate amount of mindless web surfing actually makes workers more productive at their jobs.
And the more mindless the surfing, the better.
“Employees who browse the web more end up being more engaged at work, so why fight that if it’s in moderation?” says Don J.Q. Chen, a researcher at the National University of Singapore and a co-author of the new report, presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management.
» via The Huffington Post