It's apparent there's a difference in how people react to reading paper versus an electronic screen, and the way consumers are reading their Twitter feeds and Facebook messages has highly affected the way they comprehend text.
According to Public Radio International, there are two types of reading approaches – scattered reading and deep reading. Deep reading is the immersion one feels when they're entirely consumed by the topic. Whether that be a novel or essay, it's more typical for deep reading to occur with printed products rather than electronic screens.
Deep reading vs. scattered reading
Scattered reading is more common on the Internet. The Web is rife with text that is disjointed and causes the reader to read rapidly without going into that deep thinking mode. Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, said to PRI that she's worried the Internet will cause too much stimulation for the public and make it more difficult to access deep reading processes.
"They call it a 'bi-literate' brain," Manoush Zomorodi, managing editor and host of WNYC's New Tech City told PRI. "The problem is that many of us have adapted to reading online just too well. And if you don't use the deep reading part of your brain, you lose the deep reading part of your brain."
The way to avoid this dilemma is reading the printed word at least once a day. Deep reading requires a text that doesn't allow the reader to become distracted, and this slow style of reading is encouraged by books and text on paper, according to PRI.
"The implicit feel of where you are in a physical book turns out to be more important than we realized," Abigail Sellen of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England and co-author of The Myth of the Paperless Office, told Scientific American. "Only when you get an e-book do you start to miss it. I don't think e-book manufacturers have thought enough about how you might visualize where you are in a book."
The security and benefits of paper
The Financial Times discussed the concern about the public adapting more to the scattered technique and how the psychology of reading is changing. Since "screen culture" has become prominent, the brain is changing to adapt to it. Evidence has shown that reading digitally may disrupt comprehensive skills and affect sleep patterns.
The print industry has the ability to use this information to reach its customers. The benefits of reading on paper will always be there, the public actually prefers print over digital in regard to books, and offices still feel more secure using paper products.
In an office environment, employees still fear how secure electronic filing cabinets are in keeping sensitive information safe. When the system unexpectedly shuts down or is destroyed, those files risk being lost forever.
Using paper keeps brains on task and also, according to The Financial Times, encourages children and adults to read more. The Internet has influenced many to read in a more scattered way, but the printing industry can encourage deep reading and the benefits of paper documents over screens.