Digital Reading Among Educated Arabs: A Twitter-based Study
This study aimed to explore whether educated Arabs prefer to read paper or digital materials and which reading technologies and applications they use. The sample consisted of 272 educated Arabs (81% males and 19% females) who are Twitter users, who gave 437 responses to questions, hashtags and threads asking, “which digital media and digital devices do you use for reading, why, the advantages and disadvantages of digital reading vs reading from paper material”. Data analysis showed that 71.5% of educated Arabs in the sample read traditional printed books and 28.5% read digitally and use digital reading technologies as follows: 15% listen to audiobooks, 6.5% use Kindle, and 7% use e-Ink, Audible, Storytel, Feedly, text-to-speech software (Read Aloud, Natural Reader Pro and Kurzweil 1000), Instapaper, Evernote, Raindrop, Pocket, Siri, eBooks, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Tarteel, Wajeez, Sibawayh Reader, and Screen Readers such as JAWS, Window Eyes, VoiceOver, Thunder, and HAL by blind students. Digital readers in this study use smart phones, iPads, tablets, and computer screens and are familiar with digital document formats such as Pdf, Epub, Mobi, IPA and AZW. The percentage of educated Arabs who use digital reading and reading technologies and apps is small, taking into consideration that many Arab people have access to the Internet and have a smart phone, a desktop or laptop computer and should be able to access a plethora of reading apps, digital resources, and reading technologies. It seems that many educated Arabs are not familiar with digital reading, eBooks, e-libraries, online reading resources, reading technologies and applications. Digital readers gave some explanations for their preferences and how they use digital media reading, when and where. Some recommendations for familiarizing children, students and the public with digital reading and reading technologies are given.