Ereaders and the growing number of textbooks available in digital form have transformed the way students study, and with them come many perks: digital books are often cheaper than their physical counterparts, and an entire semester's materials can be toted around on a single light tablet. The perks may end there, however, according to a recent study.
A new study from Europe sought to evaluate how well someone retains information when reading from digital books on a Kindle rather than physical books, and the results were underwhelming. A total of 50 readers were tasked with reading a short story 28 pages in length, with half reading on the Kindle and half in a paperback.
After reading, all of the readers were quizzed on elements from the story, and while many results were "largely similar," it was discovered that reconstructing the order of events was far more difficult for those who read the story on a Kindle.
The reasons are likely due to the nature of a digital book -- rather than having a visible size and requiring users to flip through physical pages, an ebook presents only one page at a time. Said lead researcher Anne Mangen, "When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right." This could explain why those who read the paperback scored better.
SOURCE: The Guardian