Books Verses the E-Reader

Engage, Inform, Inspire

How do you like to read? Do you still prefer a traditional book, an audio book, or are you more at home with reading on a digital device? 

Probably the most successful e-reader to date, the Kindle, was first launched in 2007 and immediately became popular. Because of its compact size, it was ideal for those who loved reading but didn’t want to be lugging round heavy books. It especially worked well for those on the commute or those who were travelling. 

Never designed to compete with tablets, e-readers have evolved over the years, with display lighting, adaptable display size, and the later versions of the devices can now link up to audio books too. The amount of books available on e-readers has also increased hugely in size, with many (possibly even most) books available on a digital device. 

There is no doubt that an e-reader saves space and allows for more accessible reading in many ways, plus often books on e-readers are cheaper than physical books. However, fortunately the invention of the e-reader didn’t mean the death of the traditional book. Books continue to be hugely popular, and e-readers seem to work alongside them. Which you prefer is down to personal preference and there are many readers who utilise both forms of reading.

However, according to an article by Sovan Mandal for the website, Good E Reader, researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have discovered fascinating neuroscience evidence that confirms that reading books is superior to reading a screen. This is especially true when it comes to children. 

Reading is not a passive activity, but one that activates multiple areas of the brain. Reading from paper stimulates these areas more so than reading from a screen and develops a greater focus and mental alertness in younger readers. These findings were based on a study of 15 children aged 6 – 8, an age which is crucial in the development of cognitive and reading skills in children. 

It seems that bigger studies need to be done in this area, but it is interesting that although reading in general is important, the way in which we read seems to also be a vital factor when it comes to the benefits of reading on the brain. 

There is no denying that e-readers have many benefits, and the fact that their convenience possibly also encourages reading, is not to be dismissed. However, it is also important that we continue to read books and magazines in their paper forms and maybe it should be that e-readers are more of a back-up for times when we need that convenience, rather than to be used as our main reading device. 

So, what do you think? Is paper best? Or do you prefer the convenience of an e-reader? Are you concerned about the emerging science about using devices as reading tools? Or do you think that it’s just important that people read, no matter how they do it?


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