This week, in a media blitz that took the Internet by storm, a startup called Spritz stepped out of its quiet three-year development phase and announced its ambition to the world. This small Boston-based startup aims to radically change the way we read text and, as a result, to help users digest more books more quickly than ever. Spritz ” has developed a speed-reading text box that shows no more than 13 characters at a time… [flashing] words at you in quick succession so you don’t have to move your eyes around a page.”
To prove the necessity of their tool, Spritz cites some compelling data about reading behavior: You, the average reader, “20 percent of your reading time actually taking in the words you’re looking at, and as much as 80 percent physically moving your eyes” along the page to find those words. By eliminating that wasteful eye movement, Spritz hopes to help its users reach a reading speed of 1,000 words per minute, a significant leap from the average adult’s speed of 300 words per minute. (The company admits that most users won’t be able to hit the 1,000 wpm mark right away, but says that by using the app they can improve their speed over time.)
Setting aside the issues with the app that any discerning reader will perk up at—what about poetry? what about wanting to linger over a particularly awesome passage? what if one just likes to read slowly?—we’re interested to know, hypothetically, how much reading one can get done using Spritz. Check out the GIFs below to see how the app works, and then look to our list of classic novels that, at Spritz’s promised speed of 1,000 words per minute, you can digest in under four hours.
What 250 words per minute looks like (all images courtesy of Gizmag):
350 words per minute:
500 words per minute:
Nine classic novels you can read in under four hours using Spritz (word counts courtesy of Publishers Weekly):
I feel it’s worth mentioning that, when I read Lolita in my junior year of high school, it took me an entire month to finish. Well played, Spritz. Well played.