Books vs. e-books: 8 Insights on the Science Behind the Best Way to Read

In today's rapidly changing times, when you are happily browsing your neighbourly bookstore for the copy of the latest edition of your favourite novel series, this question might pop into your head - what should I pick - an e-book or a paper book?

This difficult dilemma is being faced by bookworms the world over as they wage mental battles about the pros and cons of both types of reading mediums. According to the Pew Research Center, about 27% of book-loving Americans were reading e-books in 2015, and this percentage has been steadily but firmly rising ever since.

Fortunately for you, we have charted out all the different aspects of the modern day battery-based reading devices and good, old-fashioned paper books, so you can choose what suits you the best.

Books vs. e-books

Read on and then grab a book (or an e-book)!

1. E-books are beyond portable.

If you look at the practical side of things, e-books win hands down! Imagine carrying your entire library with you wherever you go and accessing them anytime your heart desires to indulge in a bit of reading. Travellers never had it so good.

E-books give a new meaning to book accessibility.

2. Paper books bring in the nostalgia factor.

For some hardcore book-lovers, nothing beats the touch and feel of paper. Also, the smell of it and the regular turning of pages gives its own sense of satisfaction and pleasure. The sensory experience of reading a proper book is the ultimate high for some book-loving folks. Digital e-books would be a very dismal, cold kind of reading for them, as they'd be missing the tactile sense of progress obtained from good, old paper books.

3. The young and reluctant bookworms may probably choose e-books and e-readers.

Whether young adults and children care for reading or not, but there is something very addictive about reading any book any time you choose on any device you choose - your computer, phone or an e-reader. So, it comes as no surprise that according to a 2014 published study in the journal of Library & Information Science Research, 143 students of 10th grade all preferred e-reading devices like a Nook, Kindle or their latest smartphone as opposed to regular books.

These youngsters have options to play with background colours and font sizes too, which makes e-book reading a lot more fun and convenient.

4. Get better memory by reading a traditional book.

A lot of studies have suggested that reading paper books, instead of staring at a glaring screen, is much better for your memory retention and focus sharpening mental processes. There was an experiment done in Norway where two sets of people had their memory tested by letting one group read an e-book and the other a paper book. Of course, the gadget-free readers remembered a lot more about the book plot than the trendy e-book readers.

5. Paper books are ideal for book signings.

Imagine going up to your favourite author at their book signing and dishing out your iPad for an autograph. How would you feel about such an impersonal way of getting an autograph which could disappear if your device crashes suddenly?

Paper books still remain the preferred choice for getting autographs from favourite authors.

6. E-books aid the visually impaired bookworms.

Readers with bad eyesight or a reading problem such as dyslexia could really benefit from e-books as they can customise the line spacing, font and colour options as they find comfortable. A study published in 2013 in the journal PLOS One revealed that out of 103 dyslexic high school students, most found using and reading e-readers much more satisfactory than regular books.

7. Paper books are better suited for readers suffering from eye-strain and sleep problems.

Reading with a high level of screen luminance from your e-reader could cause visual fatigue that is symptomized by tired, burning eyes which itch like crazy. If you use a light-emitting electronic reading gadget at night, be ready to have sleep-interference problems and an adverse impact on your overall health.

Another interesting study about e-readers published in the journal PNAS, discovered that reading an e-book before you go to sleep decreases the production of the melatonin hormone, which prepares your body for adequate sleep. Plus, e-books have also been found to impair alertness the next day.

8. Gigantic tomes are better read on e-readers.

Some book nerds prefer their medium of reading according to the type of book they're reading. For instance, they would prefer graphic novels in paper format, short cult fiction reads as e-books and poetry as both e-books or traditional books.

But ask any reader about what they like when they have a massive, super heavy book to read through. And the unanimous answer is usually through an electronic reader. You get the meat of the book without having to suffer the heavy bulk of it.

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