I think everyone, especially authors, writers, and readers nervously anticipated the death of the hard copy novel the last few years. But according to this study, the consumption of printed books continues to thrive with no indication of decline any time soon.
I have my own thoughts as to why people will continue to turn to printed books and novels in this extremely digital world. Reading a tangible book is so different from anything that can be read digitally. Being able to feel, smell, write notes on and turn the pages of a book makes it seem as though you are apart of the story. Its almost as if you are keeping the book alive and sharing in its earthly experience.
“Humans seem to read differently when given the same text on a screen instead of on a page – and are distracted more easily – so less of what we read sticks,” (Frank Catalano, Paper is Back: Why ‘Real Books’ Are On The Rebound-Geekwire).
Hardback/paperback books also have aesthetic quality to them. They can be displayed in the home as a work of art or as part of a rare collection.
“Having a hardcover on my shelf is like having a print by one of my favorite artists on the wall,” Jack Cheng (web designer and author, quote taken from Mashable article).
Printed books serve as a non-traditional journal of sorts; a reminder of memories you have that are attached to those books; where you were when they were purchased, where they were read, why you read them, scribbles of thoughts you had in the pages while you were reading, who you discussed your books with, or what you learned from each book.
“People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred,” Author Joe Queenan (quote taken from Mashable article).
I’ll admit that I own a Kindle, but it is mainly used for convenience. E-readers are great for traveling. You have the ability to load many books onto one device instead of packing books that will take up space in your suitcase and add to its weight. But again the reading experience on a device does not compare to that of reading on paper.
One day printed books may become as rare as a cassette tape or floppy disk, but until that day comes I will cherish and honor the beautiful, tactile, and unique experiences provided to me through reading on real pieces of paper.