The first e-reader was released in 1998, and it looked like the beginning of the end of the printed page. But today, paper books are just as popular as ever.
According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales haven’t diminished the popularity of paper books. Today, e-books comprise just 20–30 percent of book sales. In fact, e-book sales declined 4.9 percent in January 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.
Paper Books Remain Popular
Here are five reasons people still choose paper books over their digital counterparts:
- Better Sensory Experience — The feel of paper matters when reading a book. There is a real human experience to holding a book in hand, smelling the paper, hearing the crackle of the binding and flipping through the pages. Observing the number of pages you’ve read and the number you have left to read also plays a part in the psychological experience of reading.
- Better for children — Studies have shown that babies and children learn better with paper books. The more interaction a child has with an object, the better he or she learns. Parents and children also talk and interact less when using e-readers, compared with reading paper books
- Better for your health — According to a Harvard Medical School study, reading a light-emitting e-book before bed hinders your ability to sleep, decreases your alertness the next morning and negatively affects your overall health. Paper books don’t create the same adverse effects. They also bring a wealth of benefits, including increased language skills, enhanced mental development and improved memory.
- Better at conveying information — A study reported in the Guardian concluded that people using e-readers were less likely to recall events in a short story than people who read the same story in print. The research suggests that the tactile experience of using an e-reader doesn’t offer the same benefit.
- Better price point — E-readers can cost upwards of $100, a large investment for someone who can get a much more affordable paperback novel for less than $15 or, better yet, borrow a book at the library for free.
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