It’s become so increasingly rare to see a person reading a book, that I smile whenever I do. The simple act of reading has certain timeless and romantic connotations. People have been doing it for years, but only recently has it become something that was worried about. I remember being told that Barnes and Noble was in financial difficulty when I was younger, and then slowly seeing them sell eBooks in what seemed to mean attempt to regain footing, financially. Today, Barnes and Noble is doing better, but I will never forget the panic and sense of hopelessness that twelve-year-old me felt after hearing that eBooks “were taking over” and that physical books were “becoming irrelevant.”

I don’t stand alone when I say that I love the way books smell, how feeling their weight and turning their crisp pages is irreplaceable. Yet the economic factor of an ebook is definitely appealing. I know of people in hospitals whose boring days were “saved” by ebooks as they couldn’t physically lift a bound book. Or how being able to bring hundreds of books in one device on a trip saves luggage space, and leaves your options open should a storyline take an unwanted turn. Some students have even turned to buying textbooks online, for all-around economical reasons relating to portability and cost. But does reading online affect overall reading comprehension? Tests have revealed that due to eye tracking and reading speed, people who read online scored less on memory and reading comprehension. The test was conducted by having two groups listen to a presentation. Half took notes on paper, and the other half on their computers. Although the people that took notes online scored worse on an exam about the presentation, a lot of it was linked to note-taking strategies.

I have always taken notes on paper, and will try to continue to do so. Even though I write slower by hand, I have found that I write down the most important-topics that way, and stay away from unnecessary verbiage. Having a notebook full of handwritten notes at the end of a semester is extremely rewarding in itself, and takes away from the stressfulness that note-taking by hand can lead to.

Author: Deborah Grieder

Green Meadow alumn 2017, Muhlenberg College 2021.

2 thoughts on “#PrintOrDigital”

  1. I love the personal story about Barnes and Noble. It is very intriguing and introduces the topic pretty well. From summarizing the advantages of print books and e-books to their impact on learning, the transition is very smooth. Maybe you can use the data from Book Reading 2016 when saying you are not the one who enjoy print books very much.

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