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Would You Trade your Books for Digital Versions?

March 18, 2016

    Ah… technology, one of  the many things that supposedly, make this world a better place . Or does it? Many people use technology on a daily basis, to check their feed on social media, looking up something on google, checking the weather, etc. Some of us are, in fact, using technology to read. Can you believe it? Using a tablet or phone to read? "The percentage of adults who have read an e-book rose modestly over the past year, from 16% to 23%" (Carr 1) But don't fret, books are here to stay.  There are many benefits that come from technology, but using it to read isn’t one of them.
    Many people use e-readers because they claim they can carry an entire library wherever they go. This is true, but is it really convenient to read a book from a glowing screen? Researchers have found that there may be more benefits to reading from an actual book.
    Other than the nostalgia factors, some people like the feeling of holding the actual book, being able to smell it, and the sensory experience of reading for a paper book.  Books are very important because they help with memory retention and focus. “The Guardian reported on an experiment from Norway where people were given a short story to read either on a Kindle or in a paperback book; when they were quizzed later, those who read the paperback were more likely to remember plot points in the right order.” (Kraft 2) When you read on paper you can see the pages growing on the left and decreasing on the right. This provides the “tactile sense of progress”(Kraft 2), and may help the reader focus more.
    When you read on a screen, the light coming from the screen may cause visual fatigue. The exposure to artificial light, especially right before bed, may interfere with the reader’s sleep. This is especially bad for students who study from a book that is online. 
    Moreover, a study showed that three-quarters of students surveyed said they still preferred a bound book to a digital version. “students are still hauling around bulky, old-fashioned textbooks — and loving it.”(Foderaro pg 1) Many students like the ability to flip the pages, write in the margins and highlight passages. Some student grew up learning with textbooks so they choose what they are accustomed to. While this may not be true for other colleges, students from Hamilton college prefer renting textbooks because they are cheaper than renting an e-textbook.  
    So for those digital natives out there, beware because paper books are here to stay. 
  1. Kraft, Amy. "Books vs. E-books: The Science behind the Best Way to Read." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
  2. Foderaro, Lisa W. "In a Digital Age, Students Still Cling to Paper Textbooks." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2016 
  3. Carr, Nicholas. "Don't Burn Your Books-Print Is Here to Stay." WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 5 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.


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