Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to

Students prefer print for look, feel, and font

Two recent studies shed some light as to why e-books haven’t caught on with students “ they don’t feel right, and they make the work too easy.

Earlier this month, the Book Industry Study Group released Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education, a report that claims 75 per cent of students polled prefer print textbooks to e-books, largely because of their look and feel.

A few months prior to the BISG report, a study conducted by Princeton University psychologists found students achieved higher grades when they studied from material written in difficult fonts, including the widely scorned Comic Sans. Apparently, these fonts require readers to put more effort into reading, which leads to more information retained. Easier-to-read typefaces like Arial, Caecillia, or Times New Roman “ the preferred fonts of many textbooks and e-books “ make it too easy for readers to passively consume the written word.

When we see a font that is easy to read we’re able to process that in a mindless way, but when we see an unfamiliar font, one full of weird squiggles, we have to work a little bit harder [¦] All the extra work, the slight cognitive frisson of having to decipher the words – wakes us up, explains science writer Jonah Lehrer at the Daily Mail Online.