Is reading on a tablet, as opposed to an eReader, more distracting?

March 5th, 2012

The Times queries about multitasking and reading:

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.

See, I read much more because of reading on my Droid (a phone, rather than a tablet, but the dynamics are the same):

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.

“We’re hoping they will grow the number of people who will read.”