Jonas Trepanier contributing to the Researcher
Reading, a task so few Americans do for pleasure anymore. With our society living in a new “Technological Revolution” of sorts, should we continue to use paper books? We used to use an abacus before the calculator, and encyclopedias before the internet, so is it time to give up on paperback copies of novels, or should this long-held tradition stay?
E-books. A new way to read. These books are completely online, protecting them from tearing or spillage. These books offer many benefits over the paper books and are very practical. You can essentially carry a library in your backpack and read it whenever and wherever. E-books trump your traditional book in many ways, such as encouraging a wider range people to read, and making it more accessible to others.
The e-book has been shown to encourage younger and reluctant readers to read more than paper books. A study done in 2014 with 143 10th graders, published in the journal “Library & Information Science Research,” found that most students preferred e-books to paper books. The same study also found that e-books appeal to reluctant readers, more so than regular books. Also, it has been found that it is easier to those with dyslexia and visual problems to read e-books because they offer a way to enlarge the text. (cbsnews.com)
Some argue that because the human race is evolving, we will eventually replace the book for sheer convenience. An example of this being the wall-phone, people thought that the cell phone could never replace the wall-phone because it didn’t need to be charged and couldn’t be lost; now, wall phones are no longer being mass produced for the average consumer.
Additionally, e-books have been found to be better than paper books because they help teach people how to read and gives them a better vocabulary. Due to the ability to enlarge and interact with the pages, studies have shown that it is easier for children to learn from an e-book than a real one. (www.scholastic.com) Also, Scholastic has stated, “[Kindergarten Teacher Kim] Floyd even studied the vocab-building phenomena for her master’s degree last year, testing pre-kindergartners who were not native English speakers and had no preschool experience. By the end of three weeks, their vocabularies had jumped from roughly 200 words into the thousands.” This study, done with e-books, shows its educational promise. Other studies done have shown that e-books can cater to an individual's need and help engage more people in reading. (www.scholastic.com)
Lastly, e-books are much greener than regular books in their carbon footprint and their tree consumption. According to “green.blogs.nytimes.com”, the book and newspaper industry harvested 125 million trees in 2008 alone; and they have also found that printed books provide the highest per-unit carbon footprint. E-books, however, have had little to no environmental impact according to Sarah Epps, a media analyst. They can take up much less space than a library or a bookstore, with twice the amounts of books.
Books have been around for thousands of years and have given us great knowledge while pushing our society forward greatly. In today’s world of screens and technology, it is important for books to remain prominent in a way that has lasted for centuries. They have undoubtable benefits such as their ability to help sleep and encourage learning. Paper books are more than just a tradition, they are an important part in the history of the world.
Books have been shown to have many benefits, and according to ibtimes.com, “Real Simple reports that reading an actual book helps increase intelligence and can even help you relax as opposed to the e-books that are favored by the technologically savvy people in this digital age.” This shows the helpfulness of books, over that of an e-book.
Books have been shown to boost intelligence and comprehension. According to a study done in 2003, reading exposes kids to 50 percent more words than prime time television, or adult speech, including conversations between college graduates, friends and spouses. (ibtimes.com)
Andrew Dillon suggests that reading from a screen can slow you down by as much as 20-30 percent compared to reading from paper, this has a profound impact on the intelligence of the population. (ibtimes.com) In fact, Business Insider has reported that the feeling of a paper book helps people comprehend the book better. This is confirmed by an article done by the Huffington Post which says, “A study reported in the Guardian last year found that readers using a Kindle were less likely to recall events in a mystery novel than people who read the same novel in print. So if you want to do things like follow plots and acquire information, print is the way to go.” (huffingtonpost.com)
Books have also been found to help ease relaxation and help induce sleep. A Harvard study showed that e-books can cause lack of sleep, health problems, and other effects due to the light it emits. (huffingtonpost.com) Research done by Sussex University have shown that reading decreases stress by 68%, and because lack of sleep raises stress levels and e-books cause lack of sleep, books seem to reduce stress more than e-books. Also, the light given off e-books disrupt REM cycles, causing reduced alertness the next day. (ibtimes.com)
Paper books have been shown to be better to the author than e-books. The Author’s Guild have complained about e-books, stating that authors receive less royalties and income from e-books. This makes it harder for writers to write more books and to make a living. Paper books, on the other hand, have received no such complaints.
Many other problems have emerged from e-books. According to another article by the Huffington Post, it is harder to multitask when using an e-book.(huffingtonpost.com) Also, there is the clear benefit of books not needing to be charged or plugged in, allowing for use everywhere.
In addition, paper book popularity is very high, and according to CBS News, “Many book-lovers still prefer the traditional option and value the tactile sensation of a bound paper book. "Paper books are, as a rule, very well designed, they look and smell good, and they carry with them a more human touch," Tveit said.” (cbsnews.com)
Unfortunately, e-books are not as environmentally safe as they say. According Naomi Baron, a linguistics professor at American University, “Yet the soundness of this case is arguable. The earth metals we’re using up to build e-readers and tablets are not just rare but highly toxic. And think about all that energy needed to run servers and cooling fans. And remember, trees are a renewable resource.” (washingtonpost.com)
Are paper books obsolete, or are they just as valuable as they were 300 years ago. Above, there are many arguments to be made for paper and electronic books. Let me know in the comments your opinion on the matter.