Apr 05

How Have e-Readers Reduced Our Reading Experience?

Recently, we’ve been informed that e-readers may slow down reading speed and less helpful for human’s memory than paper books.

The suspect is based on experiment of observation results and research about memory and recognition abilities. It turns out that the situational clues of the text documents can leave deeper impression for reading, and the design of physical books will speed up readers’ info extraction. Three-dimensional space and multi-layered sensibility contribute to establishment of a story background. However, e-Readers have stripped the experience of using three dimensions related contextual information thus make the human’s reading discounted.

Cover – to a paper book, one may be not able to tear himself from a beloved book and look at the cover repeatedly, and generally they will see the front cover and then back cover time and again, which is absolutely an important part of reading a really good book. You see the specially textured covers, with either knurling prints of titles or photographs of authors on or other impressive features, and feel the style of the books and grasp the designers’ intentions which have been knitted the contents together. However, one can hardly memorize the scanned covers of eBooks. Often you may take a quick glance at the cover then forget it soon later on.

Tactility – Paper books have different weights and appearances. Your reading experience certainly will be varied according to different book design. Are they made from laid paper or light paper? Have they been cut into square or rectangle? Thick or thin? All of these elements lead to unique reading experience of each book. However, e-Readers make all of the books the same texture and tactility.

Fonts – Seldom have we seen the e-Readers will adopt other fonts except for their default fonts. However, font design is a slight and subtle method to express designers’ opinions about the pages, words and stories. Fonts can form a brilliant characteristic of a book in spirit and provide a realistic contextual situation, whilst eBook has surrendered the function.

Layout – Paper books are made by specific layouts and their chapters often go from left to right. When reading, the contextual situation can be well established with folio, and undoubtedly, readers can decide whether they will read continuously or not when their eyes move from left to right. They can pause for a while on the right page and spare more time for reflection. However, without the cooperation of folio, the mono screen of the e-Readers makes it impossible, and the page-turning of each layout have decreased your reading speed as well as right of memory suspension.

Paper – To choose a kind of paper is an important part of book design. Want to use rough edge paper or acid-free paper, or any other cheap paper? Whichever papers you may choose will be expressions of which types of the books belong to or where the books will appear of sorts. Also paper can create background of the stories. The Bible has adopted a kind of paper like onion skin and it wrinkles and laps over in an extraordinary style, which of course will bring entirely different experience comparing with exquisite novels that made from heavy and silky rough edge paper. Different papers deliver different info to affect your feelings about the book. Nevertheless, the same sleek and hard enclosure of the e-Readers plus their uniform screen color let your reading experience not much difference among different contents.

Flavor – It is well known that paper books have flavors, and most of them smell really good. If you come into a second-hand bookstore, a special scents seemingly gave out from slow fire under acid environment will be smelt. Some books emit adhesives smell, some books have coating chemicals flavors, and some books bring you air breath from island. Whereas, e-Readers cannot send out smells.

To those bibliophiles who have physical shelves with tons of paper books, spatiality is significant. Although the popularity of eBooks and their loaders like iPad or Kindle Fire all convey a signal that we relay on papers no more. However, we still need traditional paper books to contribute more on our recognition and learning from books.