The future of books and libraries is put into question by the increasing popularity of e-books and the use of computers as text platforms. In an effort to anticipate which reading platform—print, e-readers, or computers displays—will dominate in the coming years, recent research and experimental data on the suitability of each reading platform for reading comprehension will be considered, from the perspectives of optical issues, cognition, and metacognition. It will be shown that, while printed books are most conducive to learning from longer, more difficult texts, e-readers and computer displays offer convenience and some distinct advantages to readers in particular situations. This synthesis of current research will be helpful to librarians working in digital and print book purchasing and collection development, as well as those making long-range planning decisions.

About Author

M. Julee Tanner is currently pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science at San Jose State University. She holds a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree in art history from Grinnell College.