Think about the last book you read. How much do you remember from it? Was it on your phone? Tablet? E-reader? Laptop? Or a hard copy? from what I’ve found, reading a hard copy book is better. Let me explain why.
The effects of reading on a screen when it comes to health, there is a few of ’em. One of the big ones is the light. The light reflected off the screen of a phone or new style e-reader can be quite bright and harmful to our eyes. Lots of people read on their phones in the dark.The light reflected off the screen into our eyes makes us think it’s still daytime when really it could be three am. The second part of this is reading online keeps us all fidgety. Reading a hard copy book has been proven to relax someone in as little as six straight minutes of reading. Reading on a screen just doesn’t do that. It’s even been said that reading on a screen gets us more worked up than relaxed. This puts us in worse moods more often than not, and even if we’re still happy, we’re a little jumpy and its hard to focus.
Hard copy books are often just more enjoyable in general. Your phone doesn’t have that new/old book smell. It won’t have the same feel. You’re not turning soft, worn pages, you’re swiping your finger across a piece of glass. You can’t slam your phone shut when you’re mad at a character or the author. Believe me, having a real book to slam shut and smack is way better when a book aggravates you. You also can’t really throw your phone across the room. I mean you can, but you probably don’t want to. It could break, bounce off four walls, kill a cat. This leads me to another reason within this reason. Studies have shown that when reading online you don’t empathize with the characters as much. There’s something about seeing physical words on a page that makes us feel closer to the characters, and relate to them in some way. Even if our situations are completely different and nothing alike, you could relate to the way they feel about a given person for instance. And honestly, you don’t throw a book without it having a good enough plot. I mean, you have to strongly love or hate, usually hate whats happening or the ending to throw a book across the room, or at someone(I don’t recommend the latter). I should know, I’ve done this on several occasions.
My last reason I think will resonate with most of you. Reading online has many more distractions. For example, if you’re reading on your phone and you get a snapchat. What’s the likability that you’ll ignore the snapchat and keep reading? No offense to anyone, but I have a feeling it’s pretty low. Most of you would probably check the snapchat, respond to it, and then forget about the book you were just reading, and go on some other social media. I admit it, I’ve done that too, anyone and everyone who has ever read a book online has. Anyways back to the point, after checking social media we probably won’t remember what we were just reading. We just don’t retain as much of the information when we read online. Part of this could be the fact that most of us are “scrollers”. Meaning we just skim over most of it, and completely skip the boring parts. We read the interesting stuff, not necessarily the important parts of the book. We also tend to read a little faster online than we do in a traditional book. With a traditional book we often take our time, soaking in the plot and trying to look for any clues of what is to come. Reading an online book, we resemble zombies more or less. Mindless scrolling while reading isn’t any different from mindless scrolling on instagram or tumblr or whatever app you may be using. They’re all the same in that sense. You remember almost everything from a hard copy because, as I said before, we connect with characters better reading hard copies. Then there’s the whole advertizment thing. Websites have ads on the side, at the top, on the bottem, or somewhere on the webpage. If it’s for something that peaks your intrest, you loose focus. So once again you’re taking away from the book you were trying to read.
There will always be areas in which online reading is better, but they don’t quite add up enough to knock out hard copies completely. You can’t beat the portability of your phone or an ereader. The quality of writing isn’t any different. It’s the way the reader perceives it. How close attention they pay to the words. And more often than not, we pay more attention to the words when they are on paper pages bound together.
All in all, reading a hard copy is just BETTER. It’s beneficial to your health by NOT messing up your sleep schedule, and keeping you a little more relaxed. Hard copies help heighten your emotions and your ability to feel something for someone else, plus they’re just more enjoyable in general. And finally, there’s no distractions! So if you just put down your smartphone, and pick up a book, you might just find that it’s a little better than you thought.
Bushak, Lisa. “Why We Should All Start Reading Paper Books Again.” Medical Daily. 04 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.
Baron, Naomi. “The Case against Kindle- Why Reading Paper Books Is Better for Your Mind and Body.” Washingtonpost. 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/12the-case-against-kindle-why-reading-paper-books-is-better-for-your-mind-and-body/>.