The fast pace of technology growth and propagation across the world has meant a significant shift in the way we conduct our daily activities compared with just a few years ago. The easy access and affordability of smartphones and tablets, along with significantly improved bandwidth in the form of 4G and 5G networks, has meant that a lot of the digital content is consumed on these devices, while on the move. This has also led to a revolution in the publishing industry with the introduction of eBooks. Analysts had once predicted that eBooks would overtake print by 2015. However, this has not translated into hard numbers even as we write this article in 2022. Let’s find out why.
EBooks burst onto the publishing scene with a lot of promise and with a number of advantages compared to traditional print books. You can read eBooks in any light, adjust text size, carry a whole library of books in a single device, purchase and instantly download a book with ease, and much more. However, once the initial euphoria had settled, there were benefits of printed books that experts and the reading public soon discovered.
Studies revealed that reading printed books resulted in better memory retention, comprehension, focus and intelligence. Readers experienced a tangible and perceptible sense of progress as they could sense the paper with their fingers, ‘a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right’. The tactile sensation of a printed book and the smell of a freshly opened book added to the experience of reading by using the other senses. In more ways than one, printed books make reading a human experience, associating memories and a sense of nostalgia with them.
Another reason for eBooks not taking over the reading landscape as initially anticipated is the adverse impact of prolonged exposure to digital screens. The high levels of screen and artificial light exposure led to marked visual fatigue, eye strain, sleep disorders, shortened attention span and several other noticeable adverse physical and psychological effects.
On a lighter note, printed books don’t need batteries and readers don’t need to worry about charging a device to continue reading. Nor do they need to worry about network signal strength and access to the internet.
EBooks and printed books have their respective pros and cons, and each may become a preferred choice in a specific situation. However, with the increasing exposure of children and adults to digital screens for most forms of entertainment, printed books are a perfect world away from the ill-effects of technology and definitely a better way of learning.
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