By the Numbers
According to the respected Pew Research Center, print books remain the most popular reading medium with 67 percent of Americans having read at least one paper book in the last year. Of these, 39 percent will only read paper books while 29 percent read in both paper and e-book formats, with just 7 percent reading only e-books. The numbers are couched in the fact that the average American reads 12 books/year. Age is also a factor with 10 percent of those aged 18 to 29 reading only e-books compared to 5 percent of those ages 50 – 64.
As for devices, it’s either paper back or hardcover for paper books, while e-readers have expanded their reading devices to include smart phones, tablets, and even audio formats.
Regardless of which format you prefer, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
The mind slows when reading print allowing for deeper critical thinking
According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are 10 reasons why print is better that e-books.
Why Print is Better
- Reading print books is a tactile activity that offers pleasurable experiences for the senses of smell, touch, and sight.
- Studies show that reading in print is better for retention. You may not remember all the clues and evidence in that mystery you are savoring read digitally.
- Books last decades longer than digital devices.
- Keeping old, treasured books around elicits memories, good and bad, of the time you read them.
- Giving a book to a friend is a special gesture.
- You can underline, dog-ear, highlight, and write in the margins of a book – all cognition strengthening activities.
- The covers and jackets of books people read on a bus or subway can be a snapshot of a city’s culture.
- Books in print give writers higher royalties than their e-book versions.
- Books are soothing and healthier. Light-emitting e-books interfere with sleep and general health.
- Books are less likely to be stolen which is not true of an e-reading device.
On the Other Hand
- You can download them instantly without having to leave home.
- They are usually more portable.
- When borrowed from the library, there are no late fees for library e-books.
- They provide readers with built-in dictionaries.
- They don’t require bookcases for storage.
- You can set your preferred font size and style.
- It’s easier to find hard to find niche topics.
- They are more environmentally friendly (really?).
- You don’t need a reading light – they come with their own.
- They are usually cheaper than their paper book counterparts.
I am a ravenous hard-copy reader! That’s not to say I don’t read the occasional e-book (I do have a Kindle which I mainly use to play Words with Friends and watch Netflix movies). Ever since I was in grade school, I have smelled books and have been known to pick one title over another because it smelled better. No can do with an e-book. In the summer I love to take a good mystery to the beach or pool – can you see dropping the e-book device into the water or clogging its memory with sand? I do agree about the space issue, but I feel warm and cozy in my study which is lined with books, some even going back to those grade school days – and that’s a LONG time ago!
Anyway, whichever is your book media of choice, I wish you hours and hours of magic and memories from your treasured volume or screen.