Ever wonder which method of reading is better for you — electronic screen or printed text?
The answer: There is no difference.
“There are no disadvantages to reading from electronic reading devices compared with reading printed texts,” according to a study by Research Unit Media Convergence of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH, operator of the ebook platform Libreka!.
The study was conducted after readers in Germany became skeptical about reading from electronic devices like ereaders and tablet PCs compared to traditional printed books.
Participants in the study read a variety of texts with different levels of understanding on an Amazon Kindle 3, Apple iPad and in print. Their reading behaviors and brain activity were examined using an EEG machine and eye tracking tools.
The study proved that reading from an electronic device instead of print has no negative effects, contradicting the misconception from German readers.
“There is no (reading) culture clash – whether it is analog or digital, reading remains the most important cultural technology,” said Professor Dr. Stephan Füssel, chair of the Gutenberg-Institute of Book Studies and spokesperson for the Media Convergence Research Unit at JGU.
Although there are no differences in reading performance on a screen or a printed book, one group of participants displayed faster reading times when using the iPad.
Even in today’s digital age, most of the participants in the study stated that reading printed text is still more comfortable than reading from a screen. But ebook use is certainly on the rise, especially now that libraries have begun checking out ebooks. One recent report found that ebook checkouts at libraries rose 200% in 2010.
I liked this article because it finally put an end to the disagreements between print and ebooks. I have friends that have refused to even consider reading books in electronic format because it was bad for your health, expensive, uncesseary and so forth. I personally read books in both formats and haven't experienced any negative reactions from either. :)