Most eBook reading apps break any content down to pages to mimick the text breakdown of physical books.
I haven't been able to find a deeper discussion about that approach, so I tried and listed pro and con arguments for breaking down textual content to pages in opposition to alllow for continuous vertical scrolling:
Pros of breaking content down to pages
- Familiarity of users to the pattern of pages in physicial books
Ease of navigation (you can forward/rewind on content by simply tapping on the screen, instead of having to reposition precisely the visible portion of screen, which is the case in vertical scrolling. In other words, with vertical scrolling, every time the user has finished reading the content visible on the viewport, he has to touch/scroll manually readjusting what's on the page (which in time consuming and requires cognitive load to reassess if what's on the viewport is satisfactory)
The user gets a sense of how much he has progressed and where he did stop reading (page numbers) in a clearer way than with vertical scrolling (even when artifacts like a progress bar is used)
Cons of breaking content down to pages
- If the content is not fully textual (there's images, graphs, tablets, etc.), there's a high editorial cost to break the content down to pages properly
- The user has no ability to view specific parts of the content together if they're in pages that aren't shown together in the viewport (e.g. If the user sees pages 94-95 and 96-97 together, the user doesn't have the ability to look simultaneously at pages 95-96 and has to go back and forth on the navigation.
That given, which pattern is the best one? Have I missed any pros/cons of the page breaking down approach?