Via The New York Times
Can you concentrate on Flaubert when Facebook is only a swipe away, or give your true devotion to Mr. Darcy while Twitter beckons?
People who read e-books on tablets like the iPad are realizing that while a book in print or on a black-and-white Kindle is straightforward and immersive, a tablet offers a menu of distractions that can fragment the reading experience, or stop it in its tracks.
E-mail lurks tantalizingly within reach. Looking up a tricky word or unknown fact in the book is easily accomplished through a quick Google search. And if a book starts to drag, giving up on it to stream a movie over Netflix or scroll through your Twitter feed is only a few taps away.
That adds up to a reading experience that is more like a 21st-century cacophony than a traditional solitary activity. And some of the millions of consumers who have bought tablets and sampled e-books on apps from Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble have come away with a conclusion: It’s harder than ever to sit down and focus on reading.
For book publishers, who have already seen many consumers convert from print books to e-readers, the rise of tablets poses a potential danger: that book buyers may switch to tablets and then discover that they just aren’t very amenable to reading.
Will those readers gradually drift away from books, letting movies or the Internet occupy their leisure time instead?
Maja Thomas, the senior vice president for Hachette Digital, part of the Hachette Book Group, hopes just the opposite occurs.
“Someone who doesn’t have a habit of reading, and buys a tablet, is going to be offered all these opportunities for reading,” Ms. Thomas said, noting that tablets tend to come with at least one e-book app.
“The tablet is like a temptress,” said James McQuivey, the Forrester Research analyst who led the survey. “It’s constantly saying, ‘You could be on YouTube now.’ Or it’s sending constant alerts that pop up, saying you just got an e-mail. Reading itself is trying to compete.”