It's easier than ever to get your hands on a good book thanks to e-readers. You can buy and read almost anything from the comfort of your living room. But, a new study suggests that easier might not be better. In fact, it shows that e-book readers might not be absorbing information as well as people using traditional paper books.
The study tested 50 people, half using Kindles and half using books. They each had to read the same short story and then take a test on it. It showed that readers using actual books related better to characters and became more immersed in the story. Kindle readers also didn't seem to grasp details of the story as well as others.
"The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, ie, when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order."
Researcher Anne Mangen thinks the difference might have something to do with the feel of a book and its pages. She believes that Kindles don't physically stimulate your senses like a real book. Turning the pages and feeling your progress through a book might actually help you remember important characters and ideas.
"We need to provide research and evidence-based knowledge to publishers on what kind of devices (iPad, Kindle, print) should be used for what kind of content; what kinds of texts are likely to be less hampered by being read digitally, and which might require the support of paper," said Mangen.
This could be a big deal because more and more schools are using e-readers and iPads to teach students. That could change if we find out that students don't read as well using digital books.