Print vs. Digital – Surprising Findings

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I’m a big reader. I read dozens of blogs, hundreds of articles about business and marketing, and 23 books every month on my beloved Kindle. Many friends tell me they prefer actual books over electronic media like ereaders, tablets or cell phones. It appears there is science to back up their preference.

A recent Washington Post article, Why digital natives prefer reading in print was completely fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised by baby boomers preferring traditional books, but millennials?
Here’s a summary of what I read:

  • Comprehension; digital is loaded with distractions, so reading print tends to result in better understanding and remembering
  • Recall; digital readers tend to skim
  • Effortless; reading printed pages required much less straining
  • Touch; the tactile experience of feeling paper textures enhances reading pleasure

In our rush to embrace “advanced” technology, there’s no question that we sometimes sacrifice benefits unknowingly.

Why is this important to your practice? Keep in mind that maybe (just maybe) rushing to move all communication to electronic web based media (usually in an effort to save money) might have unanticipated negative side effects:

  • replacing your practice brochure with informational web pages may result in patients retaining less important information
  • eschewing targeting mail pieces for email communication may make recipients less likely to remember your message
  • printed collateral may be better able to convey important emotions


Maybe being oldschool is occasionally a good thing!

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