Bad news for the book: Older people find ebooks easier to read than the printed page
- Ebooks easier to read because of contrast between the text and background
By Anna Edwards
PUBLISHED: 00:45 EST, 7 February 2013 | UPDATED: 05:15 EST, 7 February 201
Some have branded the ebook the death of the traditional book, while others say that the electronic device is a disaster for publishing.
But despite its criticism, the electronic reader does have one clear advantage – it’s much easier on the eye for older people.
Older people find digital readers easier to read, as the ebook allows them to read faster and with less effort than their printed counterpart.
Yet despite their advantages, the older generation overwhelmingly prefers the printed page, researchers discovered.
Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, tracked the eye movements and brain activity of 36 younger participants aged 21-34, and 21 older adults aged 60 and above as they read text from e-readers, tablet computers and printed pages, the Daily Telegraph reported.
the younger group showed no difference in time or brain activity when presented with the different mediums.
But results showed that the elderly found reading easier when using backlit electronic devices.
This is because there was increased contrast between the text and background, researchers said.
Writing in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, they said none of their results backed up the popular notion that digital reading devices are more tiring on the eyes, according to the Daily Telegraph.
In 2008 a similar study showed older people read even faster than normal on an iPad.
German researchers also from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz discovered that older people read even faster using the the iPad as it made reading easier than both the Kindle and traditional book.
The iPad’s screen was found to help them process the information on the page, even though the tablet’s LED screen has been criticised for hurting readers’ eyes if used over a long period of time.
Despite the advantages of ebooks, older people are staunch supporters of the printed book,
In September fiction e-books saw a growth in sales of 188 per cent for the first half 2012, compared to the same period last year, the Publishers Association said.
But those lamenting the death of the physical book need not worry just yet – as sales dropped just 0.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.