Friday, February 27, 2015

Which Side Are You On?

Reading Paper Books versus Reading E-Books

Recently the Huff-Post came up with 9 studies that illustrate why reading paper books is better than reading that Dick & Jane thingy you call an iPad or Nook or Cranny.  This is partly about youth and partly about distraction.

Even the Dude Reads
  1. Younger people below 30 actually think there is more off-line than on-line to learn from – unlike those above that age.  Senility?
  2. Most students buy paper textbooks - 87% of them.
  3. Humanities students prefer buying a paper book to a FREE e-book.
  4. Teens prefer paper books.
  5. People who read stories on paper actually connect more with the stories and remember more of the chronology, per a Guardian study.
  6. A 2013 study showed the retention of information in paper books was better than e-books.  Part of the reason is the ‘flash gimmicks’ in e-reading.
  7. Parents prefer to read physical books with their children.
  8. People who read e-books before they go to bed actually take 10 minutes longer to fall asleep because of the light from the screen.
  9. Digital formats invite multi-tasking, which reduces concentration. 
This same phenomenon might also account for the surge in young people buying LPs instead of those low quality, invisible singles called MP-3s.  MP-3s are sort of like AM radio for the digital age. Even Neil Young agrees.

If you think about it, knowledge and experience come from various sources.  They are concentric circles expanding beyond yourself.  In the inner circle is your own existential experiences.   Then the oral experiences of those around you.  Beyond that is the environment of passive consumption we live in every day -  micro-bits of information from radio, internet, magazines, newspapers or TV.  Beyond that is actively interacting with longer-form artistic or informational modes - documentaries, movies, theater, dance, concerts and museums - all forms of artistic experience.  The transmitter of knowledge and experience that reaches the widest areas beyond the self?  Books, mostly because of their breadth and density.  All of these inter-relate - a book or play or song or film might get you to experience something that connects personally and deeply.  

Yes, it's a tricky ad  for the store. Mayday sells groups of books to various people too – college classes, study groups or free-standing book clubs.  Come and enjoy the widest selection of left-wing fiction, non-fiction, magazines and newspapers in the United States, at Mayday Books on the now notorious West Bank in Minneapolis.  The West Bank, where the hippies, hipsters, anarchists, Somalis, rock & rollers, lumber-sexuals, musicians, left-radicals, bar hoppers, weed smokers and drunks still hang out. 
If you actually love books – it tells by your medium.  That is the message.  End of transmission.

Red Frog
February 27, 2015

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