Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty
Amazon’s latest Kindle, the New Kindle Oasis, is definitely appealing. It’s got a bigger screen, waterproofing, and Bluetooth support for listening to audiobooks. But if you consider reading to be fundamental, you’re better off sticking to traditional paper books instead of pixelated pages.
Study after study show that reading on screens is, for various reasons, inferior to reading on paper. It’s something to consider before dropping your hard-earned scratch on a New Kindle Oasis — or any e-reader.
Analogue Books Boost Comprehension
The Kindle Unlimited service lets you read over a million titles for $13.99 per month, so there’s no shortage of easy beach reads to devour at any time. Whether or not you’ll remember them is another story. Reading on a Kindle, or on any screen, has been shown to have adverse effects on comprehension. Chalk it up to the lack of tactile feedback combined with the tendency for screen readers to consume the information more quickly than they do when reading on paper. While the Oasis might make it more convenient to enjoy a digital library book on the crowded subway or on an aeroplane, you probably shouldn’t put your college course’s reading list on there if you want to recall it later.
Taking Notes Works Better With Pens
When reading on a Kindle, you can highlight key points and leave your notes in the story, or see what other readers found profound through the Popular Highlights feature. But whatever insight you were hoping to extract and apply later on would be better recalled if you took the notes yourself, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. Rather than using your digital highlighter or keyboard, using your hands and writing notes yourself boosts both factual and conceptual understanding of a topic.
Books Won’t Keep You Up
The Kindle Oasis’ LED lighting system is a step up from its previous version, boosting the LED count from 10 to 12 and including an ambient light sensor for automatic dimming. It’s perfect for reading in darker areas, or at night, when you should be asleep. Speaking of sleep, those LEDs helping you read in the middle of the night are also keeping you up. According to the Guardian, a Harvard Medical School study found participants reading on light-emitting e-readers took on average 10 minutes longer to fall asleep than participants reading books on paper. Your Kindle might be great for reading from dawn to dusk, but when it comes to literature before bed, stick to paper books and your trusty bedside lamp.