Print vs. Digital

Reading print is a very different experience from reading something digitally such as on a computer, phone or other device. When you sit down to read a book, you know that you’re in it for the long haul. You expect that it’s not going to be a quick experience, and you have a way of escaping reality for the time being. It is just you and the text, nothing else but your own thoughts to distract you. On the other hand, when you’re reading digitally, such as on a computer, there are many more temptations to distract you. Just by the click of a button you could be on a different website or application. Having so many other things so easily accessible makes focusing a lot more difficult.

When I began reading a book, it took a few minutes to accept that I could not look down at my phone and needed, for the time being, to disconnect myself from the world around me. Once I got past this stage, I almost forgot where I was as if everything was frozen in time. I was reading in class and completely forgot that I was surrounded by other students. I think that the initial struggle of forcing myself to read a book stems from the fact that I barely ever read for pleasure anymore, and beyond that rarely read print. As soon as I was once again in that world, all my attention was on the book. Another benefit of having a physical copy of a book is the ability to annotate. A lot of people enjoy taking notes in the margins as they read a story, or an article for a class, and having a printed version makes it that much easier.

Social Media is always a distraction

Reading on my computer was a different experience entirely. I was so tempted to click on the bookmarks at the top of my browser and easily check facebook, twitter or others. A notification could at any time pop up on the upper right hang corner of my screen and my focus will immediately be lost. For me, when I’m on the computer I immediately think about social media and connecting with others through the internet. Everything is in real time and immediate, which makes me want to stay constantly updated in order to not miss something. Because of this, I feel as if I am missing things as I spend time on my computer simply reading. Further, when I read things on a device it is usually short and to the point, never very long. So having to sit down and force myself to read lengthy articles seemed more difficult than simply reading them on print when you know what you’re getting into and can physically see the size and length. Lastly, the experience of reading on a computer is not as enjoyable because it simply hurts my eyes to stare at words on a screen for long periods of time and I can’t imagine reading an entire book like that.

There is something more authentic and special about being able to physically hold a book and turn each page that you just do not get from reading digitally.