Once Again, Print Proves Its Worth

Perhaps it’s ironic, but the more time I spend as a digital librarian, learning and exploring new technology, finding new and better ways to provide technology to our patrons, the more I find myself passionately advocating for the importance of print and the necessity of its continued presence in our reading culture.

Once again, print proves its worth:

Reading Books Instead of Kindles Can Improve Your Memory, Concentration and Good Looks by Jon Levine (posted on Arts.Mic on August 20, 2015)

Nothing in this article surprises me (although I get frustrated every time someone implies that ebooks aren’t books). It all pretty well stands to reason:

Our brains—like every other part of our body—are the product of millions of years of evolution. Evolution has wired us to experience the world primarily through our five senses. Since before we were people, since before we were apes, even since before we were little rat-like things scurrying between the legs of dinosaurs—our physical senses have been what tie us to our surroundings. Our survival has always depended on our ability to perceive the world around us via our senses.

Anything that stimulates more of our senses, and/or stimulates them more deeply, will necessarily dominate our conscious attention. The more sensory stimulus an experience provides, the deeper an impression it will make on us.

Print books offer greater sensory stimulus than ebooks do. Ergo…

Listen, I love ebooks. They’re the most convenient reading format ever devised. Digital versions of books are cheaper than print. They take up less space. They’re even more user friendly. They have multimedia capability. You can get new ebooks without the need to ever leave your home or wait for them to be delivered. They’re instant gratification.

I do about half of my reading in ebooks, now, if not a bit more.

I don’t sing the praises of print in order to demean or devalue ebooks. I’ve believed from the beginning that this isn’t a competition between the two.

This also means, though, that ebooks don’t devalue print. Print, digital, audio—As readers, we have all these tools at our disposal.

Why would you ever want to deny yourself the use of any of them?

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