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Why people prefer reading in print

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​While paper books may face heavy competition from e-books, evidence suggests that they are still very vital in our daily lives. Interestingly enough, even for young people of the ‘internet age.’

A recent Pew research study found that over 75% of people between 18 and 24 years of age had read a paper book in the past year. Only 21% had read an e-book. And 66% of children ages 6 to 17 preferred print books.

Print still forms the foundation of people’s reading habits. What’s more, a University of Washington study of digital textbooks found that 25% of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

Concentration is one explanation. Users are easily distracted on their devices, multitasking is widespread, and screens make us skim rather than read in-depth. A linguistics professor at American University found that 92% of college students polled said they concentrated better when studying with paper books. Turning those pages provides the brain with some context, which can lead to better understanding and comprehension of the subject.

Diving into a good paper book can also boost health, happiness and IQ. Children’s books expose kids to 50% more words than popular TV, according to the University of California, Berkeley. Reading paper books regularly has also been shown to increase brain power and keep minds sharper longer. Likewise, research suggests that reading a real book can help reduce stress. Reading before bed signals to the body that it's time to wind down and go to sleep, while watching something on a screen can actually keep you awake. No wonder curling up with a good book after a long day sounds so appealing!

Sources: American University, JM Nenoen blog, Mayo Clinic, Neurology, Pew Research, University of California, Berkeley, University of Washington, Wired.

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