The iPad and time-shifted reading

Fascinating TechCrunch post by Erick Schonfeld on how the iPad changes people’s reading habits.

One of the reasons bookmarking apps like Read It Later and Instapaper are becoming so popular is because we are inundated with news and interesting links all day long, but have no time to read them. But just as DVRs helps us shift our TV viewing to better fit our own schedules, these apps helps us time shift our online reading. And according to some data put out earlier this month by Read It Later, it looks like the iPad is becoming the time-shifting reading device of choice.

Read It Later offers a bookmarklet which enables one to ‘save’ a Web page for offline reading on an iPad. The people who run the service surveyed the bookmarking habits of its users over the course of a day. The rate of bookmarking was pretty uniform in the period 7am – 6pm but drops off sharply after 9pm. They then looked at when iPad users read the articles they have saved and found that the time reserved for reading is shifted all the way to the right, with the sweet spot being between 7 PM and 11 PM at night. This suggests, they say, that “iPad usage is competing with primetime TV for people‚Äôs attention (or that they watching TV with iPad in hand, or shifting their TV viewing to other times).”

This is intriguing — and squares with my own experience. Instapaper is one of the Apps I use — and value — most.