With her new book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, brings more data to the case for print.
Baron and her colleagues surveyed over 300 university students in the U.S., Japan, Germany, and Slovakia, and found a near-universal preference for print, especially for serious reading.
(She finds that the format doesn’t matter so much for “light reading.”)
When students were given a choice of various media—including hard copy, cell phone, tablet, e-reader, and laptop—92 percent said they could concentrate best in hard copy.
Another researcher has discovered that students want books. Our students have asked over and over and over again: “Does this course come with books? “Can I keep the books? “Can I write in the books?
Digital isn’t the same as print. I have worked in both industries over the years. This study at least validates what my students already know: we need books.