I only noticed recently that my Kindle has taken to providing me with information on how long it thinks I will take to finish what I’m reading.
I don’t know if it’s always done this, but I spotted some text at the bottom the other day while reading Flowers for Algernon that told me that the device was learning my reading speed. After some calculation it then informed me that I had 4 hours and forty-nine minutes of enjoyment ahead of me.
Far from enhancing my experience, it had me then doing the mental arithmetic on how many commutes the thing would last me. This was silly really, as my Kindle usual provides me with the assurance that I will never run out of anything to read while stuck on a train.
Apparently some websites have also started doing this now as well. We have seemingly now reached the point where even simple escapism and the act of losing oneself in a good read now has to come with a warning of the amount of time that may be involved. My inference from this is that many will look at anything that might take more than five minutes to read and decide that it’s really not worth the bother.
Will we now be able to sort articles not only by date and relevance, but also by the amount of time we need to invest in reading? Further, will writers now be asked to submit work by the estimated reading time rather than by the word count?