Submitted: The Two Sides Team December 9, 2013
When asked which media teens preferred in physical form, over 60 percent of girls and boys aged 16 to 24-years-old said physical books.
via New York Times
December 2nd, 2013
I didn't want to start reading print books again, but I honestly had no choice. My dog, Pixel, forced me to.
You see Pixel, a 35-pound clump of energy, has an obsession with shadows and reflections. At the beach or the dog park, she doesn't chase birds or tennis balls, she chases their shadows trailing along the ground. And at home, when I pull out my iPad to read an e-book, she starts twirling frantically in circles, jumping all over me trying to catch the reflection from the screen. It's comical most of the time, but it's unbelievably annoying when I'm trying to fall into a good story.
So a couple of months ago, I decided to try a print book instead. Pixel, thankfully, wasn't impressed with the reflective qualities of paper. But to my surprise, I found that I was.
I've struggled in the past with the pros and cons of print versus digital, and often opted for digital, with the ability to stuff a thousand books on a single device, a built-in dictionary and the ease of being able to share passages on social networks.
But e-books can also be really annoying. On my iPad, if a text message, email or other alert comes through, I'm quickly jolted out of the book I'm engrossed in. Even when my devices are in airplane mode, or I'm using a Kindle, I still have to contend with Pixel.
But when I touched that physical book again for the first time in years, it was like the moment you hear a nostalgic song on the radio and are instantly lost in it. The feeling of a print book, with its rough paper and thick spine, is an absorbing and pleasurable experience, sometimes more so than reading on a device.
Some recent reports have found that the tactile feeling of paper can also create a much more immersive learning experience for readers. Why? Several scientists believe it is neurological.
A research report published earlier this year in the International Journal of Education Research found that students in school who read text on printed paper scored significantly higher in reading comprehension tests than students who read the same text in digital forms.
Meanwhile, I'm not alone in my nostalgia for paper, as my colleague David Streitfeld reports. In addition, according to an October report by the Book Industry Study Group, which monitors the publishing industry, the sales of e-books have slowed over the past year and currently comprise about 30 percent of all books sold.
Believe it or not, it isn't just grumpy old people and those of us with hyperactive puppies who are buying physical books. It's teenagers, too.
A study released this week by Voxburner, a United Kingdom-based research firm that tracks how youth consume media, suggests that most British teenagers and young adults aged 16 to 24-years-old prefer physical books over e-books.
There were two main reasons given for the preference for paper books over digital. First, many of those questioned said they liked to feel an actual print book, versus a digital experience where a screen can be flat and sterile.
"The only reason I haven't bought an e-reader is because I love the feeling of holding a book in hand," said Zoe, a participant interviewed in the survey. "Seeing the creases in the spine when I'm done. It's like a little trophy."
The other reason given not to buy digital books is the price. Many of the young British people questioned in the study seemed genuinely perplexed by the high prices of e-books, which can range between $10 and $15, on average, compared with paperback books, which can cost almost exactly the same, sometimes less. "It's clear they struggle to value digital books at the same price as their publishers do," the survey said.
I personally still read books on my iPad, specifically when I travel, where e-books weigh next-to-nothing and can now be read during take-off and landing. But at home on my couch, I'm definitely going to continue reading print books too, even if Pixel doesn't like them.
When asked which media teens preferred in physical form, over 60 percent of girls (pink) and boys (blue) aged 16 to 24-years-old said physical books.