Technology is meant to make our lives simpler and the last decade has seen a digital boom. Most people can agree that a larger part of their life is spent online in 2020 compared to 2010. Moreover, digitisation has transformed the way the entertainment industry functions as consumers find themselves spoilt for choice. In most instances, the advent of new technology is supplemented by older technology becoming obsolete. However, while the advent of electronic reading resources has certainly been appreciated, print books are far from obsolete. Unlike cassettes and satellite television, print books are important for more than just the nostalgic value they provide.

Reading is an immersive activity and has the power to transport you into a different world. Does the physical copy of a book have any part to play in this? Let us find out what scientists have to say about this.

1. The Mind
Where is the proof?
According to healthline, “Studies have shown that people who read print books score higher on comprehension tests and remember more of what they read than people who read the same material in a digital form.”

Where is the science?
A physical book plays an important role in transporting you into the world of that story. With digital devices, there are several distractions, especially if you are reading on a device with other apps installed. However, with a print book, it is just you and the words on the page, so you tend to concentrate better.

2. The Body
Where is the proof?
Chris Winter, M.D., medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center, believes that incorporating reading into your nighttime routine can aid falling asleep.

Where is the science?
Dr Winter believes that setting up a nighttime routine trains your body to assess that it is time to go to bed soon and hence, prepare for the same. In this sense, reading is a definitive activity and adding it to your routine can help set a sleep cycle for your body. However, the light emitted by the screens on our devices directly contradicts this. It is meant to keep us glued to the device and continue using it. Moreover, a recent study conducted by Harvard University found that reading e-books before bed reduces the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Print books, on the other hand, do not have ulterior motives and you can use them to serve you in your pre-bedtime rituals.

3. The Soul
Where is the proof?
According to Medical Daily, “When researchers measured heart rate and muscle tension, they found that people relaxed just six minutes into reading… much like listening to music or taking a walk.”

Where is the science?
Reading allows us to disconnect from our daily hassles and seek refuge in a make-believe world. The physical copy of a book plays a huge part in making this possible. Holding a book in your hands can allow the reading experience to feel a lot more personal. Moreover, since most jobs today involve looking at screens, the impact of an e-book can be reduced as the lines between personal and professional are blurred. Reading an ebook feels like taking a break during work whereas reading a print book feels like going on a holiday.

Buying an e-book certainly reduces your carbon footprint as a consumer. Hence, the key is to find a good balance between e-books and physical books. If you are reading a new author or a book that was recommended by a friend or anything you are unsure of, an e-book may be a good route to take. However, if there is a book you truly adore and it acts as your safe haven, a physical copy is worth the purchase.