Do It Old School: Why We Prefer Printed Books Over Digital Books

With technological advancements, several old school ways of doing things have nearly vanished. People rarely write letters or physically write in a journal. Assembly lines in factories consist of machines, not people. You can order anything online. More and more people are meeting online instead of face-to-face.

Yet there are a few tasks that we still choose to do manually, without technology’s aid. One is reading.

A recent study at the Pew Research Center has indicated that most readers prefer printed books over digital books, despite fears and claims that e-books would replace the printed book industry.

As much as we enjoy our technology and making our lives easier, why would we continue reading “old-fashioned way”?


Harmful Blue Light

E-readers, cell phones, computer screens, and tablets emit blue light, which interferes with your sleep, according to a Harvard study, which in turn messes with your energy and overall health during the day as well. Plus, if you’re like me, prolonged exposure to screens bring on headaches and eye strain. No, thank you.

Pleasant Scent

Nothing beats the smell of book pages. Even musty, old books have a charming aroma. Some company should make a candle and call it The Library or Book Pages. I’d buy that candle.


Source: Pinterest

Counting Pages

Although e-readers show where you are in the book with a percentage, measuring progress literally fills you with a sense of accomplishment. ‘I’ve read a half-an-inch today. I’m going to try to read an inch tomorrow.’


Printed books are easier to share with friends. Although it feels like you’re lending a piece of your soul, it is at least physically easier to hand your friend a printed book than it is to hand over your tablet, iPad, or cell phone. You might need that for other tasks (like calling them or posting on their Facebook page, telling them to return the book they borrowed).

Hand holding a stone heart on the beach. Symbol of life.

Source: Dan’s View


See The Love

Printed books show their history and the love you put into and get out of them. I still have several books from childhood and some from college 10 years ago, complete with dog ears and cracked spines. Most people update their phones and other devices every year, perhaps even more frequently. The emotional connection simply isn’t as strong with an e-book or the device you’re reading it on.

Memory Boost

You can annotate, dog ear, and manipulate printed books for your note-taking pleasure. Yes, many e-readers or reading apps have highlighting and note-taking options, but physically writing notes increases memory and understanding of the content. Research indicates that long-hand note-taking leads to more effective learning than typing notes.


Source: LinkedIn

This feud between e-books and printed books baffles me. Why not take advantage of both? We don’t have to choose one or the other.

The Pew Research Center also found in the same study that while 38% of Americans exclusively read printed books, just 6% read only digital books. Only 28% read both e-books and printed books.


Source: Buzzfeed

Why aren’t we using all available resources for reading, people?

Here is a simple solution: use whichever medium suits your specific situation.

To pack lighter on flights or on my commute, I sometimes choose to bring e-books instead, but I read a printed book at night in bed to save my eyes. I buy printed books that I think I will love and want to treasure for years to come. If I need my book in a hurry from the library, I opt for the digital version.

Sometimes the old school way is the best way, but new, useful methods are worth taking advantage of as well.

YouTube Channel: Buzzed on Books


Featured image via Fast Company

h/t The New York Times

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