eReader vs. the”real book”
Science is starting to weigh in with surprising results
Every day we have visitors come into the shop asking us some version of “will books survive”? There is a wide-spread urban legend running around that “books are dead” and many people think “everyone reads books online today”. Or even “no one wants books any more”.
I beg to differ.
Yes, I love books. Yes, I’m a bookseller. But I still beg to differ.
I have long felt that, as human beings, we are a tactile race. Sensory input is a how we import information, it’s how we process, how we learn. Who doesn’t remember the smell of bread baking, the sound of Mozart (or Taylor Swift), the touch of a kitten’s fur, the taste of a fine cabernet, or the incredible beauty of a sunset?
Very importantly, it seems, it’s also how we remember. A 2014 study found that reading in print helps with comprehension. It seems that “our brains were not designed for reading, but have adapted and created new circuits to understand letters and texts. The brain reads by constructing a mental representation of the text based on the placement of the page in the book and the word on the page. The tactile experience of a book aids this process, from the thickness of the pages in your hands as you progress through the story to the placement of a word on the page.” (Quotes from the article.) Apparently eReaders do not duplicate this experience, and thus our comprehension and retention is poorer via the eReaders.
Does that mean we should all ditch our Kindles or iPads or Nooks? Not at all. As someone who used to travel to earn her living, I get the usefulness of an eReader. It’s convenient, it’s easy, it’s fast to download.
But perhaps, just perhaps, it’s time to make some wise choices about our vehicle for reading, as well as our reading material.
Besides – arrange some classic authors on your shelf and invite your friends over, and they are bound to be impressed (wow, you’ve read Proust!). Not so easy to show off with an eReader, is it?
For the complete article referred to above, see: http://mic.com/articles/99408/science-has-great-news-for-people-who-read-actual-books