Ever since the tablet and E-reader revolution has started gathering steam in recent years, there have been more than a few staunch book supporters who have refused to give in to the phenomenon.
You’ve probably heard (or given) your own fair share of reasons for why books are better than E-readers. Everything from “I like how books smell and feel” to “I want to stock my bookshelf” have been used to explain why books are preferable, and, no doubt, these are very valid reasons.
But rarely have I heard anyone discuss how E-readers change the way you read. That’s right, you heard correctly, the process of reading varies drastically from when you dust off that book on your shelf and start reading it, to when you decide to peruse a written work the electronic way.
So whether you already own an E-reader, are planning on buying one, or refusing to give up your ‘old-fashioned’ way of reading, you’ll be interested in learning about these 3 ways E-readers change your reading habits:
1. E-readers will get you to read more.A recent survey into how E-readers affect literate adults in the UK showed that 48 percent of people asked stated that using electronic devices had indeed gotten them to read more books. If you think about it subjectively, E-readers are all about convenience. If you finish your book halfway through your commute, no problem, there are scores of others available for instantaneous downloading. If you don’t know a word, no problem, E-readers come equipped with built-in dictionaries to solve your vocabulary woes. If you don’t feel like making the trek to the bookstore or library, no problem, you can peruse thousands of books to your heart’s content, right from the comfort of your home. And so, the process of reading is made easier and more accessible to people, which in turn leads people to read more!
2. E-readers drain mental energy faster.Scientific American did a series of studies last year to look at the difference between paper vs. electronic reading and the result has been fascinating. According to this research, a tablet will drain your mental energy faster, not only making it more difficult to read for long periods at a stretch, but also affecting how well you remember what you read. The study also claims that reading on paper allows you to peruse long sections with a more intuitive and educational mindset as opposed to a tablet or E-reader which you most likely would look at as purely entertaining. So if you need to study complex or difficult concepts, experts recommend pulling out the good ol’ paper version of the text!
3. E-readers make you read slower.
Even with contemporary technology, a lot of times the print on your E-reader or tablet isn’t quite as sharp as the printed word in that book on your shelf. As a result, researchers have noticed that people tend to read more slowly when perusing an E-book. One of the best studies into how reading speeds change according to device was done by Jakob Nielsen, a Silicon Valley researcher, who asked dozens of readers to read the same story using the printed version, the iPad, and the Kindle. Nielson discovered that iPad readers went 6.2% slower and Kindle users read 10.7% slower than when reading the same text in print. You probably never imagined using an E-device could affect your reading speed, did you?
Whether you’re pro or against E-readers, one thing we all have to accept is that these nifty devices are here to stay. And it will always be interesting to see how our habits change as advancing technology alters the reading experience as a whole. However, one thing that will hopefully never change is our love for the literature which inspires us, excites us, and moves us.
Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts! How have your own reading habits changed since you started using E-books?
Whether using print books or E-readers, as always, happy reading! :)