Alternate Viewpoints – Paper vs. Screens

A big argument in the media technology area is which reading format is better? Screens or paper? This blog will examine several aspects of both mediums and discuss some pros and cons associated with both. These areas will cover comfort, focus, technology, and readability.



  • Paper connects the reader to the text
  • Screens allow for more file storage/less space


  • Both have environmental setbacks
  • Screens cannot be used in all lighting
  • Paper is frail and can be damaged easily

In the case of comfort, it is completely up to the user. I personally feel that it is more comfortable to read a printed book rather than read from a screen. But my personal opinion doesn’t decide the outcome. I have many friends that swear by the Kindle. They see more functionality in it. One argument, among many, is that it is a better means of conserving space while they are on the go. I, on the other hand, would rather read in the comfort of my own home, rather than reading in the brief time between class changes. I feel like there will always be a demand for both printed books and digital texts.



  • Paper books allow you to focus more on the text
  • Paper is easier to see in many circumstances


  • Screens are a digital format which reminds the reader of other digital media
  • Screens are more of a “check-and-go” media

The world has become a much more fast pace place. It seems as though “reading” in general is declining because people see it as a past-time activity. They say, “I’ll read a good book when I can find the time”. But in our ever changing world there never seems to be any “time”. The fact is that there is time. People just don’t see it because they are constantly trying to stay connected to everything happening to everyone around them. It seems that our ever changing world is creating a breed of people who cannot stay focused on a past-time activity because they are so tied into the network that they can’t just sit back and relax. When you try to read on a digital device, you are only replacing one media with another. More than likely, you are not actually focused on the words, but more on the possibility of your cell phone ringing or your laptop telling you that you have a new e-mail. However, it seems easier to escape from the technology around you if you are reading an actual, tangible book. This would allow you to really see the meaning of the text and maybe spark a little imaginative creativity.



  • New technology should be embraced
  • Paper should not be forgotten
  • Paper is a part of our history


  • Too much technology, too fast, can lead to distractions
  • Paper is becoming an obsolete form of media

It is hard to say whether or not books will disappear and be replaced by digital media. But technological trends in history tend to support this idea. Moor’s law states that “the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled every year from the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958 until 1965 and predicted that the trend would continue for at least ten years.” This theory has been correct as of our current decade, and some say it will continue like this until 2015. This essentially states that current technologies will become obsolete within 1 year of the device being created. Technology changes are occurring on an exponential trend. So, in 5 years, there will more than likely be new technologies that make this whole article and obsolete argument. Books and screens will more than likely be replaced with another technology that we can’t even perceive in our current world. So basically, if you enjoy reading hard copied books. Read them. And if you enjoy reading from an E-book, do that. It’s up to each person to decide. It’s nice to have a choice though.



  • Paper can be read in most lighting, but not the extremes
  • Screens allow for more comfort in certain lighting environments


  • Paper can become smudged and hard to read
  • Screens can break which lead to expensive repairs

It is easy to read off of a paper media. The only situations that would prove otherwise are if there is extremely bright sunlight or no light. These conditions make it impossible to read. They also put a strain on the eyes. Screens have had many breakthroughs in the past. The immergence of E-inks allows the text to be visible in most of the same lighting conditions as regular paper. If a screen uses a backlight it can be used in darker conditions. The only problem with backlighting is that it can cause irritation to the eyes.


~ by soyouthinkyouknow on November 27, 2011.

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