Lots of articles about how e-readers make for poorer retention and recall, for example here, here and here. It comes down to spatial memory: We remember or recall things based where they’re located in the physical world. In a book, we still have a sense of where in the book we are based on how thick each half is. And a sense of where on the page things are. With e-books, that’s all fluid.
What’s your experience? I have to say, that I agree. Since beginning of 2011, I’ve been almost 100% e-book. And the convenience is absolutely awesome. But I have to agree, I don’t think I have as good a recall as I did with physical books. Could just be my imagination, could just be me getting older. But my experience matches the research.
I love the combo of physical book and e-book. With the e-book, you can search, and it’s always with you. With the physical book, you can read and remember.
Then there are the reading-one-word-at-a-time technologies. Most recent one I heard of was Spritz. There’s an article about it here. I tried it out. It’s really neat. It doesn’t have the spatial orientation. It doesn’t let you scan. But for reading text, it’s really fast. I like it for what it is.
What’s your experience with e-reading? Would love to hear from you. It’s an area that I’m very interested in.