This last week we have seen another huge phenomenon in action. On July 31, 2016, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released and with it came the same hype and excitement that came 9 years ago when the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released it sold extremely well, but with each book a new type of hype took over making it one of the most talked about and sought after book series of the decade. Even after the series ended it continued to be part of pop culture with many people taking quizzes online to find out what house they would be sorted into at Hogwarts and filing in to watch the movies that were breaking blockbusters sales.
So interesting that a simple book would create such a phenomenon. Especially when we have been told over and over again that print is dead. The simple truth of it is that print is not only alive, but doing well. Especially when it comes to printed books. Studies are showing that the printed book gives a huge advantage to story and plot recall over an e-reader. Studies have shown that when a sample group was given a 28 page story to read on an e-reader, and was asked to recall 14 events chronologically, they did worse than the other group who was asked to read the same story on the printed page. Students are also more likely to chose a printed textbook over their e-book equivalent. Some college students have even gone so far as to print out their textbook if the book was only offered in an e-book version. In studies done with younger students they found that these children were sometimes distracted by the enhanced options in the e-book that gave them multimedia and interaction options but kept them from reading the written words.
Of course, only time can really tell us how greatly we will be affected by the digital readers, but it does appear that the printed book is doing very well. Does that make print a lot like the boy who lived?