With the rising popularity of electronic reading devices, such as Kindle and Kobo, and the array of eBooks available for free nowadays, you may be wondering if digital is the way to go for your children’s reading. But there are few fatherhood activities that are as enjoyable or as important as reading a good old-fashioned paper book to your child.
As a father, reading stories to your child is not only a great bonding experience, but it also helps build their imagination and language skills. Despite the growing uses of electronic reading devices, reading hardcover and paperback books are still relevant and important in this day and age of technology.
The Growth Of The E-Reader Industry
An E-reader or eBook device is a handheld mobile device that is made primarily for the purpose of reading digital e-books and periodicals via the internet.
These devices have been around in their modern form since the 1990s, but with the development of ‘electronic paper” by the E Ink Corporation, which enabled e-ink colored displays on the background of e-readers, this caused an expansion in the usability and application of the device.
In November 2009, after Sony Corporation had introduced two major models in the market, Amazon Kindle entered the marketplace, allowing users to buy, browse, download and read eBooks, magazines and newspapers via the Kindle Store. It was so high in demand that it ran out of stock within 5 and a half hours of its initial release, and was not restocked until April 2008.
Amazon Kindle has remained the market leader in eBooks ever since. Today, there are nine generation of kindles, the last of which is water resistant, has ambient light sensors so that the page illuminates the correct brightness, and has a text-to-speech affability via an adapter.
Why Choose Paper Books Instead of eBooks?
Despite all the advantages of eBooks, it does not seem to be as effective in putting children to bed compared to paper books. Paper books provides a tactile experience that can’t be replaced by technology. A physical book with a spine can give you a visual indication of how thick is the book and how many pages are left.
Books are far more valuable when they are perceived as physical objects rather than data stored in an eReader or tablet. A child can see a book for all its distinct features, shown through its cover, spine, material, font, and condition, whereas eBooks are less memorable and don’t show these unique qualities.
As well, especially when it comes to children’s book, it’s important to show beautiful illustrations to help capture your child’s attention and help them visualize the characters and setting as they develop their imagination. Drawings are best seen on printed pages where children can appreciate the artwork rather than on artificial digital displays.
Below are other advantages of paper books:
1. Valuable interactions – that arises naturally from turning a page in a paper book. A research report in the Independent newspaper demonstrated that children tend to hold the devices down in a one-player gaming position. This causes parents to “shoulder surf” in an attempt to see the page. The research stated “when parents read to their children on paper, they often held the book out to support shared visual engagement, tucking the child cosily under their arms. Some children just listened without trying to see the book, but instead curled themselves up comfortably on the sofa.” So there is much greater intimacy between parent and child.
2. Children read less frequently and for less time on devices – research by Science Direct shows that devices create more distractions, and require digital skills that they may not have to operate a device in order to understand how to use them properly
3. Children prefer to read paper books rather than eBooks – this is contrary to the myth that they are drawn to reading devices. This myth has been debunked by research from the book, “Do Adolescents Prefer Electronic Books to Paper Books?” by Margaret K. Merga
4. Children learn more effectively from paper books – this conclusion was reached by a Norwegian study published in the International Journal of Educational Research, for three main reasons, namely that:
● the physical act of touching a page and locating text improved retention
● electronic screens are harder on the eye and the children tired more quickly
● the scrolling effect is distracting and breaks concentration
5. Lower cost of paper books – always a consideration for a growing family. Many people assume eBooks cost less than their paper equivalents because there are few physical costs in making them. However, many popular eBooks are equivalent to, or even higher in price than paper book versions, especially when there are convenient paper book outlets where book lovers can buy books for discount prices.
6. You can’t own or share eBooks – Many people are unaware that when you buy an eBook you are only getting a license to read it, which can be revoked. Not only is the eBook not yours, it’s less likely you’ll share it since that would mean lending your expensive devise to someone else.
The Paper Book Industry’s Future Looks Bright
So what is the good news for paper book lovers? The younger generation (otherwise known as Gen Z) in have shown their love for paper books. Here are the numbers:
● The Publishers Association in the UK found that digital content sales had fallen from £563m in 2014 to £554m, while physical book sales increased from £2.74bn to £2.76bn.
● According to Nielsen, more than 360m of books were sold in the UK 2016 (a 2% jump from the previous year).
● Bricks-and-mortar bookshops saw a 7% rise in purchases across the UK while ebook sales declined by 4%.
● In the US, eBook sales declined for the first time. Sales for the first nine months of 2016 were down 18.7% , and the share of the total market declined to 17.6% from 21.7% within that same time frame. In 2016, print books outsold eBooks for the first time in 5 years.
Despite the rise of digital reading devices, Paper books are here to stay. These books will continue its rich history which was first established in 2400 BC! You can easily go book-hunting for sale price books online with your children and find great deals on paper books which you can pass down to future generations. Happy reading!