With the coming of the technological age, there was a prominent fear that people will get lost in the novelty, social media and will be discouraged form reading. Instead, the opposite has happened. Many people now read more than ever before, including blogs, news, books, etc. as well as listening to audio books. And that’s great. But there are numerous reasons why we should choose paper books instead of e-books.
Advantages of Paper Books Versus E-Books
Let me just say that I completely understand why people love e-books. I love them too. On a single device you can carry many different books, you can even buy new ones on the go. However, we spend so many hours every day staring at screens that we should use every moment when we can avoid it. Especially if you tend to read before going to bed.
Some people prefer paper books because of the way they smell. It feels personal. It’s like comparing human interaction with talking to a robot. Even if AI advances greatly, it will probably never beat talking to a human being.
Also, research suggests that you tend to remember what you read much better if you hold a physical book, instead of flip pages on your device. Maybe it’s because the way our brain works, maybe it’s because we have much less distractions, maybe both. I remember how I would get a book as a kid and spend endless hours at a time reading. I used to lose the track of time reading paper books just to notice it’s 3 AM on a school night.
On electronic device, it’s a very different experience. Not only because of all the app notifications, but even on the page itself I get so much additional information that truthfully, I do not need. For example, my current app shows me the percentage of the book I’ve read, time until next chapter, etc. Not to mention that electronic devices need to be charged. No electricity, no reading.
Lastly, I want to talk about a topic that might be a bit controversial – note taking. At school, we are taught that taking notes in the book is property damage. That’s wrong because we lose out on an essential skill that we will need at least in college. We need to know how to pick out essential information, notice great comparisons and word play. Virginia Woolf used to take notes in her books, which helped her analyze other writers and grow herself.
While you may argue that reading apps allow you take notes, I would not trust this method due to my own experiences. First of all, you may find a better e-book reader which would mean losing all your notes. Second, you cannot even trust backups and synchronization. Imagine that an error can destroy several years of notes you’ve made while reading. A single error.
Overall, reading e-books is better than nor reading at all, but paper books beat electronic devices in a landslide. I’m not saying there is no right time to read an e-book. But hopefully, in most cases you will prefer paper to electronics.