I found a reference this week to Spritz, a promising smartphone/tablet app to help people read faster. Much faster. I tried the demo of the technology and could almost keep up with its 500 word-per-minute pace right away.
Now, I’ve always been a fairly fast reader, though I’ve never felt any need to have someone time my speed. I just know I read faster than most of my classmates did. But I know I don’t normally read anywhere near 500 words per minute. My typical blog posts are usually about 750 words, so that would be reading one of my posts in a minute and a half.
I’m interested in it, though, because I’ve resolved to read more this year. You can roughly estimate 100 pages at 25,000 words, so at 500 words per minute you could read a 200-page book in about an hour and 40 minutes.
I’m not sure I would want to rush through something really dense and technical at that rate–especially not something like the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge–but when the other choice is not reading at all, it’s obviously much better than that. And nothing says you have to pick one way of reading or the other. You can read a book quickly and come back and read the tougher parts more slowly. Some people say you shouldn’t read without taking notes; but running a book through Spritz is a fast way to find out if a book is worth sitting down and reading with a pad of paper–or, ahem, laptop with a word processor–next to it.
Details of how it will work are a bit sparse. Hopefully the app will be able to read your existing e-book library. If it exists as a walled garden where you have to buy books within the Spritz app, that seems like it would limit its usefulness to me. We’ll see. This is definitely a technology I want to track.