With print or digital books, I’ve heard it from both sides, and you may have too. One person says they prefer the feel and smell of a print book over holding an electronic to read a book. Then there are those who are obsessed with eReaders, or an iPad with Kindle on it. Another debate, seeing physical books as a part of a living space and feeling comfort from it. The other spectrum? Owning hundreds of ebooks in the palm of your hand. With that last example is the idea that physical books requires space to store them, and owning even a few hundred printed books can create a challenge, especially if space is limited.
There was a time when we had no choice between print or digital. If we love to read, our options were the bookstore and the library. Hard as it may be to believe, it was actually not that long ago. Today, the emergence of the e-reader gives us options to not just own books, but books that are portable, and easily accessible.
Because of traditionalists, printed books are not going away. For the reasons mention above and the simple fact that as the decades go by, printed books will become a prized possession. There are other reasons there will always be a preference for traditional reading. Ask a printed book lover and they will tell you that when they read from a physical book, they absorb more. Also, the experience or feel of the premise unfolding as they turn the pages.
Benefits of Printed Books
1. Stimulates the senses
The experience of holding a physical book affects our senses. It’s said that us humans like physicality, we want to touch, feel, smell and a physical books fulfill those urges.
2. Better for health
According to a study by Harvard Medical School, when we choose the alternative, we prevent our bodies from falling asleep. This happens because of the adverse affect of the electronic used to read digital books. Physical books have the opposite effect. In fact, if you don’t get too engrossed in reading, it will contribute to overall alertness in the morning.
3. Better memory recall
When reading physical books, it’s easier to remember the premise and to recall certain aspects of what we read. Traditional books convey information better. Think of it as readying a mystery novel. From a physical book, it’s easier to follow the events.
4. Build Interaction skills
This is especially true for children. When children learn, they are more engaged if using a physical book and not distracted by features of a e-reader. Readers of physical books, regardless of a child or an adult, interact more with each other.
5. Linked to higher academic achievement
Researchers believe having physical books encourages reading in adult and children. This relates to reason such as the ones mentioned above, such as memory recall and sensory improvement.
Benefits of Digital Books
1. More environmentally friendlier than paper
This benefit is a great place to start because producing a physical book requires resources that can affect our planet. We all know that producing paper requires trees from forests. Trees are not the only resources that are depleted. The book publishing and newspaper industry uses 153 billion gallons of water each year. Also, the ink needed for printing releases organic compounds into the atmosphere.
2. Better Accessibility
Above, we mention the portability aspect of reading digital books. In addition, there is also the ability to get a book instantly. You don’t have to wait until a visit to the bookstore or library to get a book to read. With a few clicks, a book can be in your hands in seconds.
3. Less Space
Back to that portability aspect. E-readers make it possible to own as many books as possible without taking up valuable real estate in a home. Avid readers love books. Whether choosing digital books or print, and regardless of the size of the collection, it will be more manageable and require no physical space.
4. Better word comprehension
One of the best benefits of reading digital books comes with the device or application that house the book. Most devices or applications have a built-in dictionary. This means that as you read, if unsure of the meaning of a word, you don’t have to stop reading, find a dictionary to look it up before resuming. Simply highlight the word and choose the option to define the word. While building vocabulary is possible, whether reading from a digital or printed book, it is certainly more helpful when reading digitally.
5. The ability to adjust display
With a physical book, how the publisher prints the book is the only option when reading the book. Font too small? Then reach for those glasses. Hate the tone of the paper? You can only wonder what the publisher was thinking. With a digital book, there are options for what you see when reading. Adjusting the font, changing the hue of the screen. These benefits create a more enjoyable reading experience.
One thing is clear with print or digital books. Neither one is going anywhere. There will always be the print enthusiast, and we can say the same for the digital aspect of reading. Whether we agree with the benefits of each matters only to the reader. What is relevant, however, is the act of reading itself. When we open our minds to new information and storytelling, we increase our capacity to improve our lives. Keep reading, regardless of whether you choose to read print or digital.