Print versus Digital

Everyone has an opinion about the print vs. digital debate. Facts and figures can be quoted on both sides, making a compelling argument for each. The argument can go on forever because the truth is, neither platform is inherently bad or good. Both have unique pros and cons. This makes the decision about which one to choose nearly impossible

In 2013, a survey in Brittain was conducted by the National Literacy Trust. Almost 35 000 students ages 8 to 16 took part in the survey. According to their findings,, over 52% preferred to read digital compared to 32% of students who preferred print. This is said to be because the students who preferred digital were more likely exposed to technology.

While they concluded with a call for more research, the researchers wrote, “It is fair to say that reading digitally is part and parcel of living and learning in the 21st century ………. No matter how complex the question of reading across mediums may be, teachers and students must understand how and when to employ a digital reading device.”

Since research indicates that the majority of teachers/trainers rates themselves low when asked about their skill in digital content evaluation, teachers should be trained in how to select digital content.

While certain students prefer the feel, smell and idea of old school print, tech-savvy students tend to go for the digital version. But a 2017 research shows that while students may read digital books faster, they don’t read them as closely, meaning retention is less.

Advantages of printed material

For more then a decade now, people have predicted that print would die. However, these rumours have been circulating for years; and yet, print remains.

  1. Print books are often easier to share. It’s as simple as lending the book and getting it back, whenever. Sharing digital books is a work in progress.
  2. Print books can be read anywhere — in sun, shade, inside, or outside. Digital devices with reading apps often suffer glare on the screen or dim to unreadability in full sun. While this isn’t true of many dedicated reading devices, it is true of all reading apps adapted to Chromebooks, tablets, and smartphones.
  3. Digital books often require their own proprietary program. For example, Kindle books can’t be read on iBooks. RAZ Kids books can’t be read on a Nook, and many textbooks require a publisher-provided reader. That means students have to get used to the intricacies of many different readers. For many who are not technically inclined, that can daunting.
  4. Print books don’t require electricity, batteries, Internet, or WiFi. They don’t rely on websites that could crash or complicated steps required to open a book. Even better, there is no person anywhere that can’t show a child how to read from a print book.
  5. Digital ebook files are fragile. They can be corrupted or lost.
  6. Reading print books has fewer distractions than reading on a digital device. Even if students are on a school site, the very nature of a digital device with its one-click access to millions of activities is distracting.
  7. The studies showed students read digital formats faster — at a cost. Students gleaned the main idea from digital texts as well as they did from print. But they absorbed fewer details, which suggests students are much better off reading print for, especially, in-depth, university-level study.

Advantages of Digital?

Those in favour of digital have numerous arguments to support their choice:

  1. Digital books are lighter to carry. More than that, if students have their digital device with them, they have all the books needed for classwork and homework. No forgotten books. If the Internet connection works, the books are available.
  2. Digital books are easily and cleanly annotated with notes that are quickly erased at the end of the school year.
  3. Many teachers and parents believe students prefer digital. That means they will more eagerly open an ebook than a print book. (However, one 2016 study showed that 92 percent of students prefer print to digital.)
  4. Digital books can be interactive, allowing students to access videos, audio clips, images, slideshows and more from within the ebook. In many cases, students can even take a picture of the class screen or a sample project and insert it into the digital file. These can be shared with classmates without finding a copy machine.
  5. Digital books are more affordable.
  6. Where print books might be out of date because they are only printed every decade (or so), digital books can be updated immediately.
  7. Digital adapts to students who are reading challenged by providing larger fonts, unique fonts, and color changes that work better for unique needs.
  8. Digital readers make it easy to look up unknown words, copy-paste portions of what’s being read to a notetaking tool, and dig deeper into a topic that encourages interest.
  9. Dedicated education sites make lots of digital resources and curricula available to teachers as they plan their lessons. This is not only convenient but more affordable than all those extra textbooks.

Courseware 4u and Digital

Although many readers and learners still prefer physical print books, eBooks do have some distinct benefits and offer versatility that print cannot. While print books aren’t going away anytime soon, there are many situations in which eBooks provide an advantage over traditional paper media. That is why we at Courseware4U have decided to also give our customers the option of buying our excellent courseware in eBook format.

There are many reasons why readers may want to give eBooks a try. They provide more versatility than print and have many advantages that make the reading experience easier and more enjoyable.

All our customizable manuals are written in Microsoft Word and sold in digital format. It can therefore be completely customized and re-branded by license holders using Microsoft Word or any other word processor. What is more, Coursewae4U training material is sold with a “lifetime license” that does not require annual license renewals. And important! Our authors, writers, editors, designers and compilers have more than 15 years’ experience in the field op courseware production.

Although we specialise in editable, customizable courseware, we also provide the same training material in print format. The printed copies are identical to the digital (customizable) version of our course material because as was pointed out above, there are many trainers and students who still prefer the printed format.


On balance, there are more pros for digital than print, but that doesn’t tell the full story. You may consider “Easily carried” (for digital) as ten times more important than “Can be read anywhere.” It really depends upon the needs of your students. What are your thoughts on this topic?