Reading Paper Books Isn't Just Nostalgic: It Has Academic Benefits Too

2 Minute Read

When some of us were kids, we relished going to the library to read books. The internet, let alone Kindles, was unheard of. Who would have thought that one day we would read books on small handheld devices? That is the beauty of technology. But research suggests it comes with a price. 

Many people have made the shift to e-books in recent years, touting convenience and cost as the reasons. However, some paperback die-hards refuse to move on to electronic books, and with good reason. According to Statista Advertising and Media Outlook, printed books are still doing well. In 2021, 45% bought printed books compared to 23% who bought e-books.

Most importantly, reading paperbacks is not just a nostalgic pastime, it also comes with educational benefits.

You Absorb A lot More Information

You absorb a lot more information when you read a paper book than an e-book. A study in 2014 suggests that people using an e-book reader were significantly disadvantaged at remembering what they read. Paper book readers also score higher in areas such as book immersion, empathy, and narrative comprehension.

Something is exciting about thumbing through the pages of a book and seeing the progress you make. The fewer unread pages, the more you know you are getting to the end of the story, which adds to the excitement.

Children Become Better Readers

Studies reveal that children between three and six years old had a lower story comprehension if the parents or guardians read to them from a Kindle instead of a paper book. The studies theorize that the device distracts them from listening to the story.

When parents read to children from paper books, they also read the same and read better as they have better comprehension.

Better School Performance

When you read and have a library at home, your kids are also significantly more likely to become readers. It almost goes without saying- kids who read do better in school. Children who have books at home are more informed and find it easier to understand things in school. Their vocabulary improves, making them less likely to refer to their dictionary or ask questions when studying.

Printed Books Enhance The Love For Reading And Stir us into Action

In a study by students in the U.S, Germany, Slovakia, and Japan, 92% preferred to read printed books to e-books. The students reported fewer distractions when reading printed books.

Students from Slovakia said they loved the smell of books (don't we all?) Interestingly, scientists who analyzed the composition of old books discovered that the pages almost smelled like vanilla. This vanilla small came from lignin, a vanilla-like paper component; thus, the feel-good sensation we get when we smell old books.

Studies show that books make us feel better, happier and encourage us to do things and make life-changing decisions. 

Print is Forever

Paper books are not going anywhere just yet. It reminds me of Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The protagonist reads a book, which awakens magic in him, and he discovers a higher purpose than himself. That's the magic of paper books.

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