Why printed books will not disappear soon?

Because we fell good when we turn the pages of a book. Because, thanks to the printing devices, from Gutenberg’s first press to Manroland presses, we enjoy the feeling of touching and smelling the printed paper. Last, but not least, we like the idea of opening a book and discovering what it hides in there, to look out for a certain chapter, to make small adnotations with a pencil on it.

Of course, a lot of people can disagree with that. For them, reading a book using an ebook reader is an experience that’s at least as good as the old fashioned reading. From a pragmatic perspective, the ebook reader is more efficient, being able to store thousands of books and carry all of them with you. For many people, having your personal library with you everytime, everywhere is a huge plus.

These are actual facts that cannot be denied. But one thing is certain: A printed paper book sticks to your memory in a different way. The experience is more complex, due to the colours of the cover, the texture of the paper and the fonts. Although a Kindle is a very useful device, many readers concluded that they cannot concentrate on the reading process as well as when they read an actual book. Being used to browsing and reading articles on the internet, their brain seems to behave in the same manner when they have an ebook reader in their hands.

They read faster, more selective, and less profound, like visiting a website or zapping through TV channels. They’re always in a competition with time, trying to hold on to the habit of reading on their way to work in the bus or in the subway.

Trying to elaborate a theory regarding print books vs ebooks, a lot of studies have been made throughout the last years. One of these studies was made in Italy and its goal was to figure out the way people memorize information and arrange it from a chronological perspective. For this, two groups of volunteers were assigned to read a 28 pages paper. One group had to read it on an actual print book and the other one the digital version on an ebook reader.

The study was basing itself on a premise from a previous study that concluded that “those who read the print book had significantly better results regarding empathy, subject understanding and tracking the story than those who read the digital version”. It seems that this premise was demonstrated as false in this experiment. Both groups had similar results from this point of view.

What was the significant difference between the two groups? This time, the way that the participants arranged the information from a chronological perspective was not so similar. The ones who read the print book had far more better results that the ones who used the Ipad.

It seems that the print books are not in much of a danger. Of course, ebook readers are already part of our lives, but that doesn’t mean print books will disappear. They are just two different experiences. From an aesthetic and sensational perspective, the print books are more friendly. But time is short, and we need to keep up with the informational boom, so ebook digital devices come in handy.

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