Paper books still offer value in face of digital revolution

Isabella Radhakisson dressed as Willy Wonka for World Book Day. Picture: Supplied

Isabella Radhakisson dressed as Willy Wonka for World Book Day. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 23, 2024


While digital documents, including books, may be in high circulation online for reading, there is still a place in the world for printed books as they offer valuable experiences and lessons to the reader, the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) said

As the world observes the 29th edition of World Book day, an annual event created by United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Jane Molony, executive director for PAMSA believes that reading printed books could help improve brain activity and focus among other things.

Statistics deduced from the National Reading survey, conducted by the private and public sector, over half of South African adults still lived in households without literature.

The survey also indicated that around 65% of children turned 10 years old without having a single picture-book in their homes.

Molony said that printed and digital books should not be looked at as competitors or rivals but as an alternative reading source if one or the other was not available to the reader.

“We believe that paper-based books are important for early readers.

“While digital formats offer convenience and accessibility, paper books give us a richer experience that many of us still find irreplaceable,” said Molony.

The four main reasons why printed books offer more value than a digital copy, according to Molony, include tactile engagement, enhanced focus and comprehension, improves functionality of your eyes and brain and lastly for its sentimental value, collectability and shareability.

Speaking on behalf of her daughter who is an avid reader, Annie Dorasamy said Isabella, 8, dressed as Willy Wonka to celebrate World Book Day.

She said her daughter, a Grade 3 pupil at Crawford La Lucia, chose the beloved character because of his kindness, which was displayed after he invited children to his chocolate factory.

“Isabella has been reading books since she was 4-years-old. It has helped her to understand every other subject at school, showing just how important it is for children not just to be able to read but to read for meaning and understanding.

“It also helped her to build her language skills and broaden her imagination,” Dorasamy told the POST.