Posted October 23, 2015
Since the first eBook was introduced in 1998, literary experts have debated the pros and cons of books in paper vs. electronic format. Some people like to read a book they can feel and hold in their hands while others enjoy having access to hundreds of book titles at the touch of their finger. Some researchers believe spending excessive time on screens can affect kids’ brain development and reading comprehension. Other studies refute this finding, saying the devices engage kids’ minds and expose them to material they may not read normally.
Digital devices have changed the way people read books. Readers tend to skim content vs. reading every line on a page. They are more distracted by multiple apps on their eBooks, too. As a result, authors have adjusted their writing style to accommodate readers.
Consider five other ways digital books have changed literary habits:
- Discussion – Book clubs have been a popular format for people to get together to discuss their impressions of literary works. Now people write about books in booklogs, referencing favorite or perplexing passages.
- Access – People used to make special trips to a bookstore or library to browse the shelves for interesting book titles. Now they review content on computers, tablets and smartphones.
- Note taking – People reading a printed book used to write notes in book margins or attach sticky notes with comments or questions. With digital books, people write comments in an annotation application.
- Feedback – In the past, people contacted an author by mail with comments on a book. Sometimes they received a response, but often communication was not reciprocated. Now people write comments on the author’s Facebook page or website, prompting additional messages from other readers and the author.
- Definitions – Historically, when readers found an unfamiliar word in a book, they marked their spot on the page and dug out a paper dictionary to look up the meaning. With digital devices, readers can highlight and click on a word, and the definition is displayed.
Explore additional ways digital books have changed the literary word by reading this article from The Denver Post.
Kids using digital screens need to give their eyes frequent visual breaks. Watch this video for tips on helping kids develop healthy vision.