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Study shows reading ebooks just as good as reading paper

Dr. Matthias Schlesewsky and colleagues at the Department of English and Linguistics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz conducted a study to compare the reading experience of ebooks versus paper. He concluded:

“Our results thus indicate that negative subjective assessments of readability for e-books and other digital texts are not a reflection of real-time information processing demands.”

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  • Its the radiation I think most people wonder about .

  • Better for the trees

  • need one(price)

  • I don't like reading ebooks at night. Dead tree books are fine, but I sleep a lot less well if I read an ebook at bedtime.

  • I'm glad they did this study. I wonder, though, if the results would differ with the type of content. For example, I prefer reading electronically as much as possible, but I struggled (and eventually switched back to paper) when I replaced my math and diagram-heavy science books with the e-format.

    • Sujata

      May be you should have referred an ePub 3 book. I am sure your experience with a diagram-heavy book would have been pleasant.

  • +Glenn Casto It's been shown over and over again that the radiation produced by smaryphones and tablets isn't dangerous.

    Also, I'd agree with this to a certain extent. Ebooks are good for novels, but they aren't very useful for informational books you won't read straight through. Health-wise, though, ebooks are better than paper books, because they don't kill trees, so more CO2 is removed from the atmosphere.

  • Strange thing is that I (as a german) never came across the prejudice mentioned in the text – in fact, many people I know actually do read ebooks, and even those who don't never told me they thought it would be harder to read or comprehend.

    Interesting study, anyhow. Nice to know 🙂

    +Hugh Tauerner Do you read ebooks on a tablet or an e-ink device? I don't use a tablet or smartphone for 1/2 to 1 hour before I go to bed – those are said to making it harder to sleep, but not e-ink displays.

  • better for trees, better for living spaces, better for wallets

  • +Alicia Feliz I think it would… I think the biggest thing I've yet to see eReaders do right is the "finger hold flip around" thing people tend to do with textbooks and refference books… IE you're reading about soemthing that makes use of another concept, so you have your finger on the section that explains the other concept, and flip back and forth every so often. You might even have two or three different sections "finger held."  eReaders and tablets don't seem to do this as easily/organically as books.

  • The disadvantages of e-books (vs. paper) are absent if they are equipped with an E-Ink screen, instead of a traditional backlit one.

  • +Jason Stewart You just listed the key problems I had when using ebook versions of my more technical textbooks. I didn't realize how much flipping, pointing, noting and checking I did for those books specifically until I tried using an ebook version of my calculus text. I switched back to the paperback before mid-semester.

  • dfdef

  • +Hugh Tauerner, are you reading them on your tablet/smart phone, or a grey-scale ereader? I've personaly found (and studies back up*) that reading on a bright screen such as a tablet can mess with your sleep patterns. I try to turn off the TV and phone about 2 hours before I hit the pillow.
    Not that it actually happens, but that would be ideal.

    *here's an infographic at +Mashable http://mashable.com/2012/11/19/gadgets-sleep/

  • fgdxc

  • e-ink is the only choice for books, I take that for granted

  • So my question is how long until we can read off a device without needing to manually do a page turn?  Is that not happening because  our fear of the requirement for a  tactile experience?

  • +John Baronian the page turn on my Kindle is hardly tactile anyway. I just slightly squeeze the side I'm holding.
     Almost subconscious.

  • I don't like ebooks as much as actual books. I like feeling the paper in my hands lol

  • My only real complaint is you can't read them in the bathtub without fear of dropping it in the tub. 🙁

  • I would agree when you are using a dedicated e-reader like a Kindle. On a standard tablet, I think reading suffers as there arw two many distractions such as games, internet, etc.

    I still prefer the feel of books but ebooks are just so convenient. I just wish more publishers gave the option to buy print and ebook for slightly more.

  • +Jason Stewart Get high-quality "zipper" freezer bags. They work excellent on ebook readers with physical buttons. They also work fine with many touch screen devices. When mine get cloudy from use, they then become bags for my various bits and pieces in my mancave and a new bag becomes my bath-enabling ebook reader cover.

  • +Chaim Krause interesting… I will need to try that! I didn't realize you could still use the touch through them. Thanks!

  • Since I got my Kindle Keyboard my book consumption has increased 10 times due to the convenience of books on demand. The space saving of ebooks vs paper is a big benefit for me as well.

  • +Jason Stewart I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus with a screen protector, inside an Otter Box, that I put in a plastic bag and use to control my music player when I am soaking in my bath.

  • Well I hate big letters on a small page, giving me only 5 sentences to read at a time… now that is awful.
    And many e-book readers have no options for font rescaling –
    that's just foolish.
    Apart from that, I actually prefer e-reading. I remember those fat,
    3-lb paperbacks and the even bulkier hardcovers… no thanks.
    They are nice to have and look at – but not nice to read.

  • I love my Kobo ebook reader with the E-ink screen with built in light if you want to read in the dark.  I find that it is easier on my eyes when reading in bed.  I also like my Kobo app for my iPhone.  I switch back and forth between the two.

    I still like print books but now I am selective in what I buy.  For example, if it is a book that I have read before and enjoyed AND it comes a beautiful hard cover edition _ I'll buy it.  If it is beautifully illustrated, then I'll buy it.

    Examples:  I bought "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" in print hard cover because of the illustrations.  I bought at Barnes & Noble a hard cover of the complete "Hitchhiker's Guides" while on vacation in the States because of the great binding on that edition.

    If J.K. Rowlings decided to put out new editions of Harry Potter but with illustrations _ I'd buy that series all over again.

    If I just want to just read the story, then ebook format is the best for me.  If I want a keepsake, I'll buy a printed version.

  • I recently starting using a Kindle Paperwhite and have read more books because of it.  My wife goes to bed before I do, so I can read using the built-in light, before the Kindle I didn't read much because I didn't like the white light of my bed lamp.

    Regarding saving trees, because a Kindle uses many electronic parts from all over, it would take hundreds of normal books to equal the impact of one Kindle.  Over a few years you may break even on the impact, but then you may get another Kindle.

  • I can't believe no one asked what app that is. Does anyone know?

  • Hi

  • +Ryan Seward This picture is the Google Books app running on a Nexus 7.

  • I totally agree with this.