11 Apr 2015

Paper books vs words onscreen

From This Way Up, 1:25 pm on 11 April 2015

Paper books vs words onscreen

Naomi BaronDespite the challenges posed by digital books you read on screens, the printed paper book is proving to be a fairly resistant customer.

Maybe it's the appeal of reading and owning them...their smell, how easy they are to flick through and find your place. And no one's yet invented any better format than a full bookcase to show how ridiculously well read you are.

Compare that with the experience of reading the same thing on a screen using a digital device like an eReader, tablet, laptop or a smartphone. It's clearly a very different experience... but is it better or worse?

In her book Words On Screen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World linguistics professor Naomi Baron studies how students like to read for schoolwork, and for pleasure. In her research 9 out of 10 students prefer reading from a book if they need to concentrate or remember things.

She talks to Simon Morton about her research.