Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't abandon paper just yet

Which will it be?
Send an email or publishing an ebook is much easier, quicker and cheaper than using paper. And so we tend to default to digits.

This, I believe, leaves an opening for those who wish to be different and stand out -- by sending an old-fashioned business letter on actual paper.

But is there any real difference in effect? Apparently so. Ferris Jabr, a science journalist and associated editor of Scientific American has a must-read article in that magazine that surveys what we know about reading on paper versus reading on a screen.

For many purposes, paper is still better, he says.
Evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension.
Some studies indicate that screens reduce comprehension and long-term memory of what is read. It may be that people take reading on a screen less seriously.

When it comes to intensively reading long pieces of plain text, Jabr concludes, paper and ink may still have the advantage.

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