Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Long Live the Printed Page!

"Recent scientific studies have shown that holding a book and reading it creates a richer experience for the brain than reading something that is online. So, in addition to reading, we should read printed, physical books. For in addition to writing being the greatest invention in human history, the book may be the greatest device ever invented."      ~~~Byron Tully
A certain satisfaction puffed this bibliophile's mind when I learned that the sales of e-books are declining while the sales of physical books are increasing.

Trinity College in Dublin - a magical place 
At last, science is proving what those of us who know the value of holding a real book in one's hand have known all along: devices do not come close to the experience of reading a paper book. The smell of the ink and pages and their feel under our fingers, the subconscious measuring of how much we've read and how much of the book remains simply by measuring the thickness of pages under left and right hands, the scraping, swooshing sound of the pages turning and the covers of a hardback thumping closed are pleasant, interactive sensations. The sight of our books on our shelves comforts us with the assurance that our old and new friends are always near, ready to help us escape or learn, to inspire or remind. These things matter, they make life better.

Aside from my obvious sentimentality, I have pragmatic reasons for preferring a printed book over an e-book. Science is proclaiming that it can be hard to absorb an e-book. The chronology of a story can be less fixed in the reader's mind, especially younger readers.  More is remembered about a text's timeline if it is read in print as opposed to on a device.

Studying is more efficient with the printed book as bookmarking, highlighting, and flipping forward and backward are easier, thus saving time and helping the reader's mind stay focused on content.

Also, e-books tire one's eyes and brain as they require a higher cognitive workload due to the dual-task of reading while using a computer.

And finally, most of us have either experienced or read about the fact that looking at a computer screen before bed contributes not only to disrupted sleep patterns but to increased tiredness the following day.

Granted, there is room in this world for both types of books. However, let's make it perfectly clear, the e-book has not dethroned the printed book.

Long live the printed book!