In an increasingly digital age, having everything on one device is becoming more and more useful. However, the rise in electronic media should not completely eliminate reading paper books.
Heavy textbooks have become an issue for students of all ages, filling up backpacks and causing back pain at a young age. While these textbooks can cause some trouble while transported, the benefits of physical textbooks are noteworthy.
In a study comparing reading trends from 1992 and 2017, print was found to be more effective for comprehension than digital reading due to the absence of scrolling. In a follow-up study, researchers found that college students said reading digitally was faster and made comprehension easier, yet their comprehension from reading print versions was higher. Although young people prefer digital books, they are not always the best resource for truly understanding information.
A potential solution to the problem of heavy books is making both digital and print versions more accessible. In many classes, students can purchase the digital version only and bring that to class, or they can buy the paper one with digital access included. Having both options at a more affordable rate would give students options for accessing material in the format they prefer.