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Monday, August 28, 2017

Print Books versus E-Books

Most people tend to prefer either actual print books or e-books.  Those who prefer the former focus on the tactile and state that they like how paper pages feel in their hands; those who prefer the latter often argue for the practicality of e-readers.  I read both, but definitely use ebooks when I’m travelling.

Now science has weighed in on the debate and the conclusion is that actual paper books are better.
According to studies, reading in print helps with comprehension while e-readers limit one's sensory experience and thus reduce long-term memory of the text.

“Before the Internet, the brain read in a linear fashion, taking advantage of sensory details to remember where key information was in the book by layout. As we increasingly read on screens, our reading habits have adapted to skim text rather than really absorb the meaning. . . . This sort of nonlinear reading reduces comprehension and actually makes it more difficult to focus the next time you sit down with a longer piece of text.”

According to studies, linear reading, away from the distractions of modern technology, not only helps one’s ability to concentrate but reduces stress.  Reading the old-fashioned way has also been shown to increase empathy and improve sleep.

For more information, go to

Yesterday, CBC Radio's call-in show, Cross-Country Checkup, had a discussion of how digital technology has changed people's reading habits: