Paper books are cool again, thanks to digital natives

Cover source: Pexels

Cover source: Pexels

Young adults, born between 1980 and 2000, are not going to forget about paper books.

A study at the University of Washington revealed that a quarter of college students still prefer printed books over digital ones while only nine percent of them rely on e-books.

This is what Deloitte, one of the “big four” accounting firms, calls “the paradox of paper.”

In the next 18 months, worldwide, traditional books will outsell e-books by five times, which will result in an 80-percent increase in profits.

According to analysts, the paradox is caused by millennials. Young people are loyal to the past when it comes to books, the study showed.

American linguist and professor Naomi S. Baron, author of “Words Onscreen,” said that on a PC, tablet or smartphone, people tend to read the text more quickly, with the risk of getting distracted and thus missing out significant passages.

This tendency found its confirmation in an experiment conducted by the Norwegian University of Stavanger, which analysed a group of students with similar literary tastes. Half of them received the printed version of a 29-page mystery story, while the other half was given the digital one. As a result, those who read on digital support were the worst when it came to rebuilding the plot. In fact, not having to turn pages causes the perception of the plot structure to weaken.

“There is physicality in reading,” explains Maryanne Wolf, author of the essay “Proust and the Squid.” When we are engaged in the act of reading, we automatically build a mental representation of the text, in which the meaning is strictly anchored to the structure.

“Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail,” according to Ferris Jabr in an article for Scientific American.

Another survey, carried out by English company Voxburner, showed that, in the U.K., 62 percent of young people, ranked between 16 and 24 years old, still buy paper books because “they love the smell of paper and shelves full of books.”

Book covers are just as relevant, because they convey a message about the type of person a reader is.