The Paper Difference
Despite Modern Technology, Paper Books are Superior
By Devon J.
When sitting in a chair to read, what do you reach for–a tablet or a paperback? Studies show it is best to be reaching for the paperback, but since 1971, people have been reaching for the tablet. In the last few years, e-book popularity has been on the rise. For many reasons, this can be very damaging. E-books can be economically beneficial, but that does not mean that they are perfect. E-books are very different from paperback books because they do not provide the same experience.
Around 2007, people stopped dusting off the bookcases and reaching for the books they would naturally discover. In 2010, Amazon reported that “for the first time, its eBook sales outnumbered its hardcover book sales,” according to the New York Times website. A result of this sales spike was that libraries started to close and small book sellers went out of business. Who would think that a miniscule literary file would be related to job loss sweeping throughout the U.S.?
Other studies show that paper books are easier on the eyes. Many jobs in today’s world require people to stare at a screen all day. If the eyes do not get a break, it is possible to show signs of eye fatigue. Eye fatigue can lead to blurred vision, redness, dryness, and irritation. Thus, e-books can damage eyesight, which can lead to damaging the brain. With paper books, this would not be an issue!
While reading an e-book, it can be easier to get distracted. According to mentalfloss.com, “67 percent of university students were able to multitask while reading digitally, compared to 41 percent of print readers. If the goal is to grasp and comprehend the text the person is reading, distraction is not a good thing.” Print books are the best choice when wanting to comprehend what is being read. Print books allow better comprehension levels and digestion of the material at hand.
On the other hand, e-books are more accessible. With platforms like Kindle, Google eBookstore, Librivox, and Project Gutenburg, e-books are much easier to obtain and read. E-books can even be a lifesaver for finding out-of-print books! Another positive to e-books is that they can be adapted to fit most needs, with features like different colored pages and fonts. An additional advantage of e-Books is that the length of the book does not have any bearing on the weight of the device that contains it. Every student, teacher, and avid reader knows that print books can be unwieldy. Many students know that the longer the book, the heavier it becomes. Those of us with noodle-arms think twice before purchasing a lengthy hardcover book since they are so bulky and heavy. According to tinyreaderspublishing.com, “Drop a thick volume more than a few times, and the book’s spine becomes damaged, resulting in an even more difficult-to-handle book.” This shows that e-books are more convenient than paperback books. Ebooks are, quite literally, backsavers.
In conclusion, the ever-accessible e-books leave readers with complex choices to make. Should we choose memory and focus, or the ability to multitask? Should we save our eyes or backs? Print books help our eyes, and leave an imprint on our senses. An ebook can never replace the smell of an old book. And it’s quite true that our eyes do deserve a break from the blue-light of a screen every once in a while. Most people find themselves looking at screens all day long, so whatever you choose, it is important to remember the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Both types of books have many positives and negatives, choose what is best for you and your spine (pun intended)!