Sorry, technophiles. While the world may be going digital, when it comes to reading, regular books are here to stay.
In a new study conducted by American University linguistics professor Naomi Baron, researchers have found that an overwhelming majority of students prefer physical books — you know, with covers and paper — over e-books for serious reading.
For the study, Baron surveyed over 300 university students from the U.S., Japan, Germany and Slovakia about their reading preferences. When given options between physical books and electronic reading devices, 92% of students said they could concentrate best with physical books.
“There are two big issues. The first was they say they get distracted, pulled away to other things,” Baron told The New Republic. “The second had to do with eye strain and headaches and physical discomfort.”
But the love of books goes more than just reading efficiency — readers are still charmed by the presence of physical books.
“In the Slovakian data, when I asked what do you like most about reading in hard copy, one out of 10 talked about the smell of books. There really is a physical, tactile, kinesthetic component to reading,” says Baron.
But don’t worry, e-reader fans — when it comes to reading comprehension, Baron found that there’s no real difference between reading devices.
“Generally speaking, if you give standardized tests on comprehension of passages, the results are about the same on a screen or on hard copy.