With National Handwriting Day just around the corner on 23rd January 2017, you may be wondering if, in this digital age, whether handwritten letters and printed books are as popular as they used to be.
After all, we do so many other things online that it seems an obvious point of progress that books will be online too.
And, of course, they are. E-books on a variety of tablet devices are the ideal solution for many people. Instead of carrying five weighty novels in your bag, you have one electronic device with hundreds of books on it.
For many people, however, after spending an entire day sitting at a computer screen, the last thing they want to do is crawl into bed and stare at another one. Hence, they curl up with a good book just like they used to.
Creative writing and proofreading courses are also just as popular as they once were before the digital age was thrust upon us. For many people, the pen is still mighty and this is why they think that printed books are just as good, if not better, than an e-book.
#1 It’s Tactile
For some readers, the act of reading is a physical one. There is something about holding a book in their hands, turning the pages, the smell of a new book, and the creak of the spine as you open the cover for the first time. It is an activity associated with relaxing. Does curling up with an e-book feel the same as curling up with a printed book?
Possibly because reading a book uses the sense of touch more, a study found that people who read a printed book could recall more information than if they had read an e-book on a tablet or other device. If you want to follow the plot, your best bet is the printed book.
#3 Visual and Retainable
Go on, admit it. Lurking somewhere on your shelves is the first book you truly fell in love with. And you’ve read it more than once. Like other readers, you have probably made some notes in the margin. You probably go back to it and finger the turned down corner pages and reminisce about where you were when you read it. There is something simply delicious about a book on a shelf. Maybe you will eventually feel this way about your Kindle… or will you?
We’ve just touched on this but we think it is worth expanding on it further. With printed books, there are memories intertwined with the reading of it. For example, the novel you read whilst travelling across Europe, or the novel you read on a trip of a lifetime. Or the novel that made you cry or laugh. Or both.
#5 Easier to Share
We’ve all done it. Popped to see our old aunt and lent her a couple of books we think she will enjoy. And she has returned the favour. They are lent with love and the best of intentions but sharing an e-book is not quite as easy. Nor does it have the same impact, somehow.
#6 Make Your Mark
With online proofreading courses, you will be shown the marks and symbols of the profession. Proofreaders mark manuscripts as they read through them and you may do the same. You may make notes in the margins; fold the page over so that you can go back to your favourite bit time and time again. This is about engaging with the story, with the novel and to a certain extent, with the writer and their characters.
How do you choose a book? Like most of us, you probably look at the dust jacket graphics – if it strikes a chord, you pick it up, maybe read the synopsis on the back cover or maybe you live on the edge, and just choose it without any pre-information to guide you. Others can see what you are reading. It’s just so much more visual and appealing, than staring at a device.
#8 Support Writers
The Author’s Guild have, for a long time, been telling readers that publishers give less royalties to writers of e-books thus making it harder for authors to etch out a living. Printed books fare better and so in some ways, the best way to supporting the writing community – the authors, the editors, the proof readers – is to buy a printed book.
#9 Helps you Relax
There are various research papers telling us that the blue backlight of mobile phones and other devices interfere with sleep. The printed word has the opposite effect. It allows your brain to slow down. How many of us have fallen asleep with a book in our hand?
Kindle or other device on the car seat in full view: perfect for opportunistic thieves. Book left on the car seat: thief not interested. And, if you drop a book in the bath, dry it with a hairdryer to live another day…