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E-books vs printed books

With recent reports of free news website The Pool going into administration and other publications such as The Telegraph now operating pay wall systems, preserving the medium of print is as important as ever.

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As reported by The Guardian, sales of consumer e-books plunged 17% to £204m in 2017

While there are many practicalities of using electronic devices such as the Amazon Kindle, such as the ability to store hundreds of books in one place, many still agree that there is nothing quite like turning the pages of a traditional printed book or magazine. In an age of advancing technology and digital screens, we may not be aware of the health benefits of opting for the old-school printed form.

As highlighted by many outlets during last week’s national story telling week (January 26th - February 2nd, 2019) there are lots of scientific benefits of sticking to good, old-fashioned print.

A report by Two Sides found that 72% of respondents prefer printed books, with only 9% of respondents opting for e-books as their preference. The organisation, which busts myths surrounding paper, also found that printed books are read daily by 72% of respondents and at least once a week by 54%.

reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%

This is good news for readers, as it has been widely proven to be good for our wellbeing. According to a study by the University of Sussex, reported by The Telegraph, found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%.

Two Sides’ report revealed that despite the convenience of e-readers, 73% still believe reading printed books is more enjoyable than reading e-books, and 53% are concerned that the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to health. And they might be right to be worried, as research has suggested that this could be the case, albeit on a small scale. 

A study by Norwegian scholar Anne Mangen found that those reading from digital devices retained less information. It suggested that because the reader is only viewing one page at a time, the act of looking back to the previous page to confirm pieces of information is lost. The study also found that those reading from a digital device were less engaged with the material.

According to a YouGov survey, shortness of time for reading is a problem for 29% of respondents

Research by the SUNY College of Optometry found using a Kindle, iPad or similar caused strain to the eyes of users. Subjects who read the same information as those reading from a printed book from a Kindle, complained of tired eyes and eye discomfort. Eyes also took longer to recover their distance focusing after reading from a digital device.

As well as being better for our eyes, reading printed books provides a sensory experience unattainable with a digital device. As reported by The New Republic, participants in a recent study expressed more enjoyment from reading a printed book, saying things like: “I like the smell of paper.” Reading print gave participants a sense of where they were in the book as they could “see” and “feel” where they were in a text.

Which method of reading to you prefer? Email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk, or head over to Twitter to have your say.

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