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Books in the age of Digital Precedence

There has been a gradual shift in the reading trends over the years with the onset of digitalisation. Physical books have been overruled by ebooks and digital books. Yes, it is inevitable to deny that this in a way has made reading a lot easier in more ways than one. A digital book is simply an electronic format of a physical book, writers and authors gravitate towards this sort of publishing because in comparison it is a lot cheaper than the traditional way of publishing. A digital copy would take up less physical space, you have more access to reading material with the touch of a finger. But even then, printed books are still prevalent in the modern digital era.

As a child I loved the smell of old books, the air that lingered around the library, the joy of finding a new book that would tweak my interest. Scientifically it is said that most children love the smell of books because it reminds them of vanilla which is actually lignin a component found in old books that emits that smell. It is said to create an experience where one experiences a similar feeling when one smells flowers or perfumes. However, with changing times the art of reading such books has diminished. You can hardly see kids with a book on the park bench or in libraries.

From a scientific point of view there are many plus points to reading a physical book. When you read a physical book, you tend to have a more immersive experience than if you were reading the same material online. In 2014, a study conducted in Italy showed that physical book readers were more empathetic to the story and had a more comprehensive understanding of the content. It is because the actual act of holding a book in your hands, the mere tactile sensation affects the process of reading a lot more than you might think. You tend to absorb more information and become more creative in the interpretation and comprehension of the story and its characters.

Children in today’s world are brought up in a completely different way, surrounded by electronics and technology, far from the physical vitalities of the world. Physical sports have been replaced by e - gaming, books with electronic gadgets. However, kids who develop a habit of reading from a young age are said to have a better memory in comparison to the kids who do not. Kids are easily distracted by electronic devices and loose focus. Reading helps them in this aspect, and allows them to become better thinkers as well.

Another research has shown that children who have a library are much likely to do better academically. It is not so much as how many books you have but the quality of what you read. Every book contributes in one way or another in the mental development of the child. They develop better comprehensive abilities and also aid in bettering their communication skills both interpersonal and intrapersonal.

A great benefit is that it is invariably much easier on the eyes. Our jobs require us to be in front of a computer screen or digital screens most of the time and that creates a lot of stress on the eyes, which is why most people suffer from eye illnesses, frequent headaches and even chronic migraines from a young age itself. They affect your cognitive functions as well, many experience blurred vision, irritation, dryness and redness as well. Physical books do not put that kind of strain on people.

Digital readers are comparatively easily distracted and have trouble focusing and committing to a task. They lack the kind of immersive experience that physical readers are used to. Studies have shown that physical readers are better at multitasking as well. This shows that the effects of building a good reading habit helps in many aspects of your life. It makes your mind sharp and focused and makes your way of life that much easier. It is a healthy growth stimulant for the mind as well as the body.

Reading books help those who have trouble sleeping as well. A person struggling with sleeping disorders can have or develop a healthy sleeping routine just by reading. Studies have shown that being on your phone or laptop screens before bed can make the process that much harder as the blue light can affect the melatonin levels and circadian cycles. This may disrupt your flow of falling asleep as well as make you feel more groggy and tired when you wake up the following day.

It is so important that people rediscover the joy reading, in quiet evenings with a cup of tea or coffee. To be at ease and away from the daily bustle of the fast-paced life that we live today. To take a moment to feed your mind and relax your senses and body, for it is when I read that I feel more connected and one with myself.

Namira Khan
Amity University, Kolkata


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