Reading Styles

There is no question that our reading styles change when we read stuff through the web rather than on paper. In a similar way listening styles change when we listen to music through an iPod rather than a CD player, or in a live performance.

But what do these changes amount to, what do they signify? In the Exact Editions system there are really three styles of viewing a magazine page:

Full page: best for reading an article
Double page spread: good for pictures and ads
Sixteen page view: mode for skimming or flicking through an issue

The usage statistics from our system, and once a month we get very complete data which is shared (in aggregated form) with the publishers, suggests that about 1 in 10 pages is a 16-page view, 5 in 10 pages is 2-page view, and 4 out of 10 pages is a 1-page view. This may suggest that looking at magazines online is at least as important as reading the articles, and flicking through or skimming them is a minority pursuit. I shall remember this next time I see someone flicking through Grazia in the tube.

Mind you, searching them, with our excellent and quick search system, is even more of a minority pursuit — about one page in every hundred viewed, triggers a search. Perhaps this search ratio will increase as users get more magazines in their account (multiple subscriptions or longer tailed archives).