Easy Reading: Paper vs. Digital Books

How do you like to read a book? Do you favor holding the physical book and flipping its pages, or has technology swayed you with the birth of digital readers?

Surveys indicate people, no matter their age, prefer reading paper books over e-readers or tablets. But new research shows that older people, though they have an attachment to traditional printed books, have more difficulty processing information read in them.

German scientists measured eye movements and brain activity as study participants read paper books, tablets and e-readers. While readers aged 21–34 were equally adept at reading in each format, readers aged 60–77 required less time and brain activity when using a tablet computer as compared with other media.

Why the difference? Older readers may benefit from the backlighting and, therefore, the enhanced contrast on electronic reading devices, researchers suggest.

So what will you go for now? The ease of reading, or the pleasure of tradition?


Tablets, wonderful for personal uses, like reading, are also crucial for small business-operations. Explore the communication revolution—the benefits of tablets.

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