As the world slowly shifts to relying on technology, the market for eBooks (electronic books) has grown quite a bit. The accessibility of just purchasing and downloading a book on a phone or tablet is appealing to people with busy lives or just those who find it more convenient to read on a screen. While eBooks seem like a brilliant idea on the surface, there are actually many negative effects that make reading a print book far more preferable.
The point of reading a book is to absorb the words on the page, and consume the information displayed. What is the good in reading if none of the information you’ve read sinks in? Research has shown that eBooks are not good for absorbing knowledge, as most people retain information better by reading on paper. Especially with reading nonfiction, such as textbooks, students get much more out of reading a print book than they would from an eBook. Therefore, print books should always be prioritized over eBooks whether one is reading for fun or reading in a classroom setting.
Another downside to reading an eBook is the damage it can do to a person’s eyes. According to Mayo Clinic, staring at a screen for too long can lead to strain and eye damage, as the screen causes a person to blink less. This will dry out the eyes and eventually even cause vision problems if you stare at a screen for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, eBooks can harm the eyes more than print books because screens require your eyes to focus on small pixels, which takes more strain to see than reading a print book. Screens are part of most people’s daily lives and also can be a good thing because of accessibility. However, when given the option it is best to opt for a print book to avoid the severity of eye strain that eBooks can cause.
The worst thing to be while reading is distracted. When the mind drifts off and the words start blurring on the page, there is no longer a point to reading at all. Reading an eBook on a device that has many other features comes with distractions, some that are both accidental and unavoidable. Say, a notification pops up at the top of the screen and suddenly you are no longer immersed in the book but instead scrolling on another app. This problem doesn’t affect print books, as it is just paper that can’t do anything but share the words printed onto it. Moreover, reading a print book is far more productive than reading an eBook and free of the risk of distractions.
It is no secret that the rising popularity of eBooks over the years is due to the fact that they save paper and are more accessible. Yes, eBooks may be better for the environment and have the ability to be more accessible, but these two positives are outshined by the downsides.
Even if eBooks save some trees, books will be printed on paper forever, whether people read eBooks or not. People should just read physical copies for all their benefits and also to avoid the negative effects that can come with reading from eBooks, such as eye strain and distractions. In regard to accessibility, eBooks may be slightly easier to obtain but finding books at a store or library is still an easy process and well worth it. Print books should always be prioritized as you actually retain information, cause less eye strain and risk less distraction, all things that are not possible with eBooks.