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March 10, 2024

The Timeless Appeal of Printed Books in a Digital Age

Despite the convenience of e-books, many readers continue to embrace the tactile experience of holding a printed book. A new study by Stora Enso1 has found that 65% of people around the world prefer reading physical books, as opposed to 21% who prefer e-books – that is over three times the number of people. The poll also included the youngest group of 16-24 year olds where quite an astonishing 70% indicated they preferred
physical book over e-books.

This enthusiasm for books among Gen Zers, who are more likely to be the digital disrupters, seems partially fuelled by the manga-book craze, driven by Netflix anime series, as well as a recent explosion in top-selling teen romance books1. For older age groups,­­ physical books have been outselling e-books in areas like human potential and mindfulness – think colouring books for grownups – particularly during the pandemic as people took pause
to look inward1.

Exploring the underlying reasons behind this preference, let’s discover the reasons why printed books are still preferred.

The Sensory Experience

Printed books offer a multisensory experience that goes beyond the mere act of reading. The feel of paper beneath fingertips, the sound of pages turning, and the distinctive scent of paper contribute to a unique and immersive reading experience. For many, these sensory elements add an extra layer of enjoyment that digital screens simply cannot replicate.

Eye Comfort

One of the key advantages of printed books is their inherent eye comfort. Unlike screens, which emit blue light and can cause eye strain and fatigue, printed pages tend to be gentler on the eyes. Readers often appreciate the respite from constant screen exposure, especially those who spend long hours in front of computers or devices for work.

The Uninterrupted Reading Pleasure

Printed books never need recharging. There’s a certain peace of mind in knowing that a printed book won’t suddenly power down in the middle of a captivating chapter. Readers can read the pages of a book without the nagging worry of a low battery or the need to find a power outlet.

Collectible Appeal

Printed books contribute to the creation of personal libraries that tell a unique story about the reader. In fact, the same study by Stora Enso also reported that 42% of readers said they like to keep books when they finish reading them1. Book lovers often take pride in building collections that reflect their interests, preferences, and intellectual journey.

Aesthetic Pleasure

Printed books are not just vessels for words; they are also works of art. The cover designs, typography, and bookbinding contribute to the aesthetic pleasure of owning and displaying printed books. Readers appreciate the visual appeal of a well-designed book on their shelves.

While e-books have undoubtedly brought convenience and accessibility to the world of literature, the enduring preference for printed books is a testament to the irreplaceable qualities they offer. The sensory experience, reduced screen time, and undisturbed connection readers have with physical books continue to make them a cherished part of our cultural landscape.

#paperstillmatters #printinspirestrust #smallstepsbigimpacts #powerofprint