It's become one of the most common clichés of our time, but technology has been digitising more and more aspects of our lives, to the point where it often shapes the way we perform our daily activities; downloadable music has replaced CDs, social media makes up for most of our human interaction and more people are using e-books over the printed books.
We don't mean to allude to a possible dystopian future where the written word no longer has value, but in such a fast-paced digital age, one wonders what might become of the way we produce and consume literature. An avid e-book user would argue that e-books are faster and more accessible as opposed to prints – and it's difficult to argue against that point. Call us romantic, nostalgic or even old-fashioned, but as practical as e-books might be, nothing can ever replace the real thing and here's why.
1- Tactile sensation
Let's face it; e-books have their advantages. You carry them wherever you are, you can upload hundreds of books with a mere click and they don't take up any space on your shelves or your luggage. But to some – including yours truly – the capacity to handle a book with your own hands, the opportunity to make notes or underline your favourite parts or even that strangely satisfying book-smell gives is something bookworms like us don't even realise we miss when it comes to an e-book.
2- Less Distraction
If you're reading off your tablet, chances are you will be getting tons of notifications from different social media platforms – something that will almost certainly disrupt your reading and your general focus. Printed books create what is called 'singularity of focus', which helps you absorb the text you're reading and ensure an uninterrupted concentration.
3- Printed Books Contribute to Better Sleep
A Harvard University study demonstrated that reading off of a screen right before going to sleep decreases the production of melatonin, which affects your ability to fall into a deep sleep and makes you feel fatigue in the morning. The study went on to conclude that reading a real book before calling it a night helps clearing the mind off the daily hassles – see singularity of focus above – which in turn affords you a better sleep.
4- Printed Books are Anti-Stressors
Another research conducted by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex on a group of researchers revealed that subjects felt relaxed six minutes into reading a printed book, whereas after reading an electronic book, their stress levels were negatively affected. The study also suggested that the shining light coming out of tablets or phone screens provoke stress hormones, while the low lights reflected off printed book pages, helps in creating a stress-free reading atmosphere.
5- Printed Books Don't Need to be 'Recharged'
If you happen to think that e-books are more accessible than printed ones, think again; because the second your tablet or e-book reader's battery dies, you'll need to find the closest socket to continue reading – and because life is unfair, it'll probably happen when you're at your most engaged.
Guess what? Your printed books will never run out of battery.