Over the last few months of lockdowns and isolation one of the bright spots for me has been how much more reading I am doing. I have returned to reading printed books and have been reminded of a whole host of benefits of physical books over their electronic counterparts. Today I thought I’d share some of them with you!
Doesn’t add to screen time
Given the amount of time I am spending staring at a screen for work and video catchups with friends I wanted something that didn’t add to that. Reading printed books was the perfect solution. It ensures I give my eyes a rest every day which is always important, but especially so at the moment.
I don’t have a dedicated e-reader, so when I used to read e-books I just used my iPad. This meant it was easy to be distracted by notifications, other apps, multitasking and the like. There’s no way to do that when I’m reading physical books – it’s the story in my hands and nothing else. Sure, I could be more disciplined when reading an e-book, but it’s easier just to remove the option!
Trade with others
One of my favourite things when I have finished a book I love is being able to share it with friends and family, and vice-versa. That’s not something you can do with e-books! Picking up books from secondhand stores and markets is another excellent option that only works with physical books too!
Take in the content more
This might tie to the point about less distractions, but I definitely feel like I retain the content better when I’m reading printed books. I find I can more fully immerse myself in the story, and don’t have to re-read passages to make sure I have taken it all in. So often I will not realise how much time has passed while reading a physical book because I’m completely engaged with the content. Not having a clock to look at on the top of the screen probably helps with that!
Helps me wind down and sleep better
Sitting in bed with a printed book and reading a few chapters (or more!) every night has become part of my nightly routine. It definitely helps me wind down, which in turn helps me sleep better. Much of this is also tied to it not being another screen in my day – no blue light to mess with my melatonin levels. It’s become an absolute non-negotiable for me.
Feel of holding a book
I love the feel of holding a physical book in my hands so much more than just another device. There’s something about the weight, and sometimes the smell, of a printed book that can’t be beaten. Plus, you can much more easily track your progress through the story as you move through the pages. There’s something about feeling how far you are into a story that really helps me dive deeper into the content.
Using a bookmark
This one might just be me! I love using a bookmark in a physical book, because I love that they can be a reminder of other excellent times as well. Recently I re-found this bookmark that I bought in 2000 on my first trip to the UK as a 13 year old. I remember spending ages picking which one I wanted, and have used it on and off in the 20 years since. Seeing it every night when I open my book brings back excellent memories of our first big family holiday. Sure, not all bookmarks will come with 20 years of history, but they can be pretty, or funny, or given to you by someone you care about. An added bonus of reading printed books!