My Love for Real Books (over E-Books) is Now Backed by Science!

I’m back talking about books again. Did you catch my recently read reviews earlier this week?

Fact: I always prefer to read real books, you know, the kind printed on paper that you hold in your hand. I’m really against e-readers and I’m not budging. Go ahead, call me a Grandma. I get all the perks and bonuses of reading on a Kindle or a Nook like the books costs less money, you can often find the books for free, they don’t take up space in your home, and they are lighter to carry and travel with. 

But to me, nothing can replace the feel of holding that book in your hand, smelling the book, and turning those crisp pages. It’s an intimate experience and my thoughts begin to live within those words in their own little world in that book. 

I also don’t like the idea of relying on technology to read. If your e-reader breaks or your run out of batteries while traveling somewhere you cannot recharge, you are out of luck. 

I own hundreds of books, and yes, they are a pain to pack and move, and yes they take up a lot of space. But I love glancing over at the familiar titles and spines in my living room. You can’t replace picking up a copy of a well-loved book and flipping to one of your favorite paragraphs and reliving that experience over again. I look at my books as artwork or a collection, something to display. 

My family and my friends have tried to sway me to the dark side. My mom and I used to regularly swap books back and forth and now we can’t because she has a kindle. Friends who know I’m on a budget don’t understand why I’d want to pay MORE for books and others can’t see the need for owning so many physical books that “may” never be read again.

Finally I have a scientific reason to back up my love for reading and owning actual books as opposed to e-readers! 

This article states facts from studies and research that show that real books are better for us than e-books, and not just for the sentimental reasons most of us value. 

A brief summary:

Researchers are learning that real books help readers in many ways that the modern technology of e-readers simply cannot. 

Real books help us with:

Comprehension: A lead researcher at Norway’s Stavanger University has concluded “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket-book does.” With less of a sensory relationship, readers brains aren’t fully “committed” to the digital words on the screen like they would to printed words as well as reducing their long-term memory of the words. 

Focus: When we read on a screen we are more apt to skim the words. Admit it, you do it. You probably did it with this blog post. I do it too. When reading a printed book, we read in a linear fashion. On screen, researchers are learning that we read in a F pattern. We start out reading it all but then skim more and more the further down the page we go. Even if you don’t plan on skimming a book, your mind is so used to doing so on screens all day that when you sit down to read at night you find it hard to become engaged in a novel

Less Stress: Studies show that reading for just 6 minutes a day is enough to reduce your stress level. However, our addiction to screens and the need to be plugged in 24/7 make it hard to drop everything and truly immerse yourself to book. Reading on an e-reader that is also connected to modern technology makes it harder to simply only thinking about the book you are reading. It’s easy to be distracted. 

Empathy: We all know that reader makes us emphatic to others. Common sense right? Now studies are showing that readers who read an upsetting story on an e-reader are less emphatic than those who read a book. Can’t help but see how all the above is related to that test. 

More Sleep: You should not be viewing your phone, iPad, or TV for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. The lights affect your brain and sleeping pattern. Same goes for reading on an e-reader right before bed. Reading right before sleep is one of the only ways I can fall asleep easily, not about to give that up!

What do you think? Do you think e-readers are changing the way we interpret the written word? Are you a lover of books like me? Are you a die-hard e-reader? 




  • I’m all for real books too, and have no desire to get an e-reader. The only thing that would make me consider it is when I’m flying and I have to lug around a couple of thick books. But as long as I don’t have to carry it around, when I’m at home, I like turning actual pages. You know too, they say that these days, people are exposed to too much artificial light from TVs, phones and computer screens, so there’s yet another reason why real books win:)

    • kwalshmac

      Yes, I see the benefits while traveling, but I also feel comforted by my books when I’m a flight too. Also the whole not needing to worry about plugging it in, ever. And yes to the artificial light, not to sound like a crazy paranoid person but I really think all the screen time is going to effect the way our brains work over time. It already is.

  • So I have always had this opinion too. I only recently got an iPad and have started some reading on it-but I definitely can see where this study is coming from, and I also will still take a real book over an eBook any day! Especially books that are important to me.

    • kwalshmac

      Amen to real books, especially the important ones!

  • So interesting! That makes so much sense though!

    • kwalshmac

      It’s kind of sad how much sense it makes – because we’re going to continue growing into a society that mostly reads on screens. But hopefully our brains will adapt.

  • I absolutely love both. I definitely prefer my Kindle for traveling (I lost this huge box of books I sent home when I was working abroad and I still mourn those guys) and one-handed reading while eating though. I usually only read actual books at home, since I like to keep them in pristine condition 🙂 I’d heard about the F thing too, but I only do that with actual articles (in print or online), never any kind of books!

    • kwalshmac

      Oh my, losing a whole box of books must have been so sad! And I’m right there with you regarding keeping books in pristine condition. There are certain books I’d never dream of taking to the beach or letting certain friends borrow. I die when the binding gets too bent or pages get torn or bent up.

  • I love my Nook, but these things make a lot of sense.

    • kwalshmac

      They do, and I hope we don’t turn into a society of unfocused, unengaged readers that then turns us into an emphatic society that has lost all emotion and heart. But I think we’re far from that. That sounds more like a dystopian YA novel… 🙂

  • my mom and i were LITERALLY just talking about the difference and our opinions on books versus the ebook. i just can’t get away from the page turning, dogearring, underlining habit. I JUST CAN’T.

    • kwalshmac

      There’s no replacing a real book! I just feel such a connection to those printed words, the smell,and the weight in my hands! I’m reading my second e-book right now, because it’s a book I really really wanted to read and my mom had a e-book copy I could borrow for free…It’s just not the same. I love what I’m reading but I don’t feel as intimately attached.

  • Tim bought me a Kindle and I almost completely refuse to use it, with a few exceptions. I just LOVE holding and reading ‘real’ books, so I’m glad to read that real books are actually better and it’s backed by science 🙂

    • kwalshmac

      Haha that’s too funny!! I have read a couple of books on Ryan’s nook, because they were “free” copies….but I just don’t like it at all. Words are meant to be digested in actual print, in the layout that they were designed by the author. But hey, we have to remember that the letterpress was once a scary new technology that past authors were afraid would ruin the written form.

      Glad you’re on my side thought 🙂