Reading on-screen can be daunting for some individuals compared to reading in print.
Although I spend a lot of time on screen researching and working, I focus and gain more in-depth knowledge when I grab a physical book.
The epic experience of holding a physical book in one’s hand, flipping and feeling the pages has been challenged since the ascent of digital reading platforms such as e-books, online articles, and audiobooks.
While these have their advantages, have you ever observed how you tend to skim through online materials, particularly looking for the keyword that brought you there in the first place? Do you notice how your attention is divided when you read from a screen, resulting in distractions from your phone’s notifications and subconsciously scrolling?
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of on-screen and print reading, and throw light on these two experiences.
Advantages of Reading On-screen
It’s agreeable that access to resources and books has been made easier through the digital space. You can easily get access to a variety of content with e-books and online articles. In the absence of bookstores or libraries in remote areas, fellows who live in distant places or have mobility issues can readily obtain any material they desire.
Digital reading offers the ability to move around with a whole library in your pocket. Devices like tablets and smartphones make it easy to bring a bunch of books wherever you go. This is an ideal choice for travellers and commuters.
One good thing about digital books is the ability to customise them to your taste. You can enhance your reading experience by adjusting font sizes, background colours, and lighting, which can be particularly useful to people with visual impairments. There are other features like built-in dictionaries and highlighting options as well.
Finding specific information in a printed book can be time-consuming. Digital reading, on the other hand, allows for quick and efficient searching, making it an excellent choice for reference purposes and academic research.
Advantages of Reading in Print
You know the sweet sensation of a unique and satisfying experience that comes with the smell, feeling, and weight of a physical book. Flipping the pages, underlining passages, and feeling the paper go a long way in connecting the text and the reader.
2. Eye comfort
For long reading sessions, reading from a printed page can be easier on the eyes. It relieves eye strain caused by screens and background lighting, which is a common concern associated with digital devices.
Except you have an explicit way to turn off distractions such as phone notifications, ads, and the urge to switch to unrelated apps (which is quite far-fetched), printed books are the best option. This is because they are free from these temptations and create a serene and immersive reading environment.
Printed books are often cherished collectibles. Many people especially book nerds take pride in building personal libraries and displaying their books as a reflection of their interests and knowledge.
Drawbacks of Reading On-screen
1. Screen fatigue
Extended exposure to screens, which is unavoidable in digital reading, can lead to eye strain, headache, and difficulties sleeping. Due to such issues, some readers are hesitant to embrace the idea of digital formats of reading.
2. Loss of tangibility
Some people like the tactile pleasure of handling a physical book. To them, the loss of this sensory connection is a significant drawback.
3. Battery dependency
Tablets, smartphones, and other devices require a power source, which is necessary to keep these devices active and functional. It is inconvenient and uncomfortable when the power supply in some areas is not reliable and consistent, as the battery of the gadget can be used up while reading.
4. Potential for distraction
Digital devices are often associated with multitasking and distractions. You can hardly hold your device without having the urge to check a notification or swipe to another app. This makes it easy for readers to get distracted and disrupt their reading.
Drawbacks of Reading in Print
1. Limited accessibility
Printed books are harder to obtain for those with limited access to bookstores or libraries, as well as limited copies available for sale.
2. Lack of customisation
Printed books offer no customisation options in terms of font size, background, or lighting, which can be problematic for those with visual impairments.
3. Limited searchability
Finding specific information in a printed book can be time-consuming and less efficient compared to digital search capabilities.
4. Environmental impact
Unlike digital publications, the production of physical books requires the use of trees, which results in cutting down trees and often promotes higher carbon emissions.
Though some individuals prefer reading in print over reading on-screen, but the choice ultimately comes down to personal preferences and needs.
Although both formats work for some people, there are underlying strengths and weaknesses that help each reader to make informed choices that relate to their habits, health, and lifestyle. This is because both digital and print publishing have a place in the modern world.
Researched By Olukotun Joan