Is Mobile Affecting When We Read?

Is Mobile Affecting When We Read?

Fascinating piece with graphs on the reading habits of people who are consuming at least some of their reading material on computers and hand-held devices and using services like Instapaper and Read it Later to time-shift when they read things they find. The study is from Read it Later.

The flood of content disrupts us all day as if we have an maniacal paperboy throwing new editions on our doorstep every 15 seconds.

Yep, that’s about it.

I’ve been using Instapaper for a while now to save things I want to read later after the paperboy settles down or I get tired of picking up new papers, many times on my iPad.

When a reader is given a choice about how to consume their content, a major shift in behavior occurs. They no longer consume the majority of their content during the day, on their computer. Instead they shift that content to prime time and onto a device better suited for consumption.

Initially, it appears that the devices users prefer for reading are mobile devices, most notably the iPad. It’s the iPad leading the jailbreak from consuming content in our desk chairs.

And this is one of the important reasons I do not want to get another desktop computer: I don’t want the “best” computer in the house to be a magnet holding me in my office chair. I know this is a fallacy because I can collect things to read all day on the iMac and read it later on the iPad in a comfortable chair, but somehow I’m worried that won’t happen with me. Odd worry but there it is.

[via minimalmac]


  1. Interesting piece. I’ve recently started experimenting with Read it Later. I also just save articles to desktop or send a link to article to myself as email.

    They all seem to work equally well. For me, it’s usually in the early morning when I’m not awake enough (mate or coffee hasn’t kicked in yet).

    It’s good to have options that include waiting till later to read something, instead of getting up and outside or helping around the house (shh, don’t tell my wife I said that).

    Bottom line though for me, is that I still can’t say waiting is a habit. I still am prone to watching/reading in the instant/moment.

    Maybe I’ll change as time goes on.

  2. Sandy: I agree, it’s all a bit too new for us old guy who have other reading habits but for me Instapaper/read it later is one of the most important reading enablers I’ve found in years. It really works to help me maintain a list of things I want to get to but want to read when I have more quiet and space which sometimes is on a plane or train.

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