There is a very interesting article in the Washington Post on Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right.
Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally.
What’s behind this preference? According to the author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, readers tend to skim on screens so distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.
I thought this article was quite interesting and very much concur with the findings. As a law student, I much preferred print texts to electronic texts. It encourages the reader to slow down and think more critically and makes it easy to add notes and highlights for later review.
When I’m doing research, I tend to prefer the electronic for quickly locating small bits of information. However, if I find a book or journal that I want to read more critically or in its entirety, I’d rather have it in print.
I wasn’t sure if my preference was due to my own experience as a print native or if it was something more universal. I’m glad to know that it was the latter.
I’m also pleased that these findings support our collection policy at the UW Law Library. While we’ve moved electronically with many reference titles and other materials in which one may one want quick access to a section or two, we still purchase a lot of monographs in print. Journals remain somewhat of a hybrid – many of our subscriptions are electronic, but patrons can easily print out articles if they prefer.