Friday, September 26, 2014

"Deep Reading" In Print & Marginalia

For most Americans, print still reigns supreme. The Wall Street Journal Blog noted that the American population still tends to prefer print books over e-books. "Of the people in the U.S. who use the Internet, 46% say they still only read books that are printed, according to data from Harris Interactive that was charted by Statista. Another 16% say they read more printed books than e-books."

Reading in print is still considered important for comprehension. One Chronicle of Higher Education author opines that "deep reading" is almost always best done in print. "Digital reading encourages distraction and invites multitasking. Among American and Japanese subjects, 92 percent reported it was easiest to concentrate when reading in hard copy. (The figure for Germany was 98 percent.) In this country, 26 percent indicated they were likely to multitask while reading in print, compared with 85 percent when reading on-screen. Imagine wrestling with Finnegan’s Wake while simultaneously juggling Facebook and booking a vacation flight. You get the point."

Some of the respondents to the survey about deep reading also commented that they liked print because they could write on the pages. Which brings to light another interesting crowdsourced project called Book Traces.

This project seeks books from 1800-1923 that have writings in the margins. The project organizers were concerned that this part of history would be lost as libraries move from print to digital. “[The] focus is on customizations made by original owners in personal copies, primarily in the form of marginalia and inserts.”

And there's some good news for the younger generation of readers. The Atlantic recently reported that Millennials are out-reading older generations. The article notes a study from the Pew Research Center that shows that Millennials are reading more books than the over-30 crowd. Who knows? If Millennials are reading in print and making notes in the margins, we may one day look to archive examples of their interactions with print books as some of the last.

image: http://pixabay.com/p-112117/?no_redirect

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