Quite often I see children reading from tablets as I sit in the airport lobby waiting to board my plane. I have also often noticed children using their parent’s iPhone for entertainment as they ride in the shopping cart at the local grocery store.
We have all witnessed young adults whose eyes are glued to their cell phones. My own daughter, who is twenty-three years old, often tells me that she is going to spend time with me, assuring me, “We’ll watch a program together.” I always chuckle to myself, though, because I know she will be engrossed in her phone the entire time, texting with her friends. When I say, “Lena, you’re missing the show,” she replies, “Mom, I can’t ignore my friends. That would be rude.”
With the rise of digital writings and books, I began to wonder whether paper books are starting to be labeled “old fashioned” and “no longer cool.” However, I was happily surprised to discover that, although a number of Americans are reading e-books on their tablets and smartphones, print books are still much more popular and desirable than their digital alternatives.
According to the Pew Research Center, Americans read an average of twelve books a year, and they read print books more than e-books.
The statistics are interesting:
26% of Americans read no books.
28% of Americans read both print and digital books.
38% of Americans read only print books.
6% of Americans read only digital books.
Younger and older adults read both for pleasure and in order to keep up with current events. Younger adults are more likely than older adults to read for school or to research a topic for work.
A 2012 study found that students cannot connect as emotionally with text presented on a screen as they can with print books. In 2013, USA Today shared a study that revealed students retain less when they read a text on a screen rather than in a paper format. Furthermore, according to Digital Book World, “A majority of parents who read e-books to their children on their iPads believe that games, videos, and e-books do more to distract their child from reading than helping them learn to read. Nearly half of parents believe that animation is distracting, too.” The article goes on to state that both parents and children express a preference for print books over e-books.
There is something about the written word that emotionally and physically touches our senses. As Christians, we know this personally when we hold the Bible in our hands and read the Word of God.
My Christian children’s books seek to relate the Gospel message in vibrant colors while touching both the minds and hearts of children. In my personal opinion, there is something special about reading a picture book to your children while holding it in your hand. You are engaging the feeling of touch as you turn the page, and all the colors that leap off the page are a delight to the eyes.
I was happy to read the report about print books still being preferable to e-books. But, I can’t deny that digital writings are very important to all of us too. After all, this message was brought to you digitally!