Will Physical Books Become Extinct?

Ashleigh Hollowell, Editor

For centuries, man has documented our history, told stories and recorded newly discovered information on paper and in books. Now that technology is advancing more rapidly every day, will these documents, stories and recorded information all become replaced by digital copies of themselves?  The answer is no, the benefits of physical books far exceed the benefits of digital e-readers.

Unquestionably, e-readers do have many perks. They provide the user with unlimited access to information, almost entirely eliminating the need for libraries. If there is a word the reader does not understand, with merely the tap of a finger, the definition arises within seconds.  Offering a multitude of options to the reader while simultaneously having the capability to preserve great literary works for generations to come is precisely what makes the e-reader such a marketable product.

Despite all the great advantages of having an e-reader, if you are faced with a choice between an e-reader and an actual book, choose the book.  In fact, a survey conducted in 2007 showed that 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical books as well.  Clearly, each method of reading provides a different experience. Physical books give the user content related action and don’t have a multitude of options to distract the user from their reading such as e-readers often do. In a study conducted by Guardian UK, children reading e-books recalled significantly fewer details than children reading physical books. Perhaps this is because physical books appeal to more than one sense. They offer a tactile experience in addition to a visual experience; e-readers reduce the experience to just words. Turning a page allows the reader to interact with the story and delivers a positive physical stimulation allowing the reader to focus more easily.  Since it does provide such a positive stimulation, naturally reading physical books is a very effective stress reliever. In addition to the benefits listed above, physical reading has been statistically proven to increase memory on highly notable levels.

Physical books have so much more to offer intellectually, yet they tend to get overlooked often for a “new and improved” way of reading; when really, it isn’t improved much at all. Even though e-readers offer convenience to the user, physical books offer a greater experience, which has no comparison.  With the numerous benefits that come with reading physical books, it is no question that they will be around in the future.