Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-4372
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4380
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Empirical research on the differences between digital and print reading has recently increased, mainly concentrating on informational texts while disregarding literary texts. Concerning narrative fiction, the existing quantitative studies have found no or very few differences between reading printed books and e-books. In our focus group study, we amplify the perspective on digital and print book reading through a largely explorative approach. The results gained by interviewing 34 habitual readers of e-books in six groups show that e-books complement rather than replace printed books. Crucial differences can be found in the dimensions of the reading situation, genre selection, purpose of reading, as well as literary quality and status of the text. Furthermore, our results shed new light on the importance of the printed book as an individual material object, with its own specific iconicity and with notable consequences for intellectual possession, memory, and remembrance of read books and lived reading experiences.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Andersen, T. R., Kjerkegaard, S., & Pedersen, B. S.
    (2021) Introduction: Modes of reading. Poetics Today, 42 (2), 131–147.   10.1215/03335372‑8883164
    https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-8883164 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bäcker, I.
    (2014) Der Akt des Lesens – neu gelesen. Zur Bestimmung des Wirkungspotenzials von Literatur. München: Wilhelm Fink. 10.30965/9783846756843
    https://doi.org/10.30965/9783846756843 [Google Scholar]
  3. Ballatore, A., & Natale, S.
    (2016) E-readers and the death of the book: Or, new media and the myth of the disappearing medium. New Media & Society, 18(10), 2379–2394.   10.1177/1461444815586984
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815586984 [Google Scholar]
  4. Balling, G., Begnum, A. C., Kuzmicova, A., & Schilhab, T.
    (2019) The young read in new places, the older read on new devices: A survey of digital reading practices among librarians and Information Science students in Denmark. Participations. Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 16(1), 197–236.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Baron, N. S.
    (2017) Reading in a digital age. Phi Delta Kappan99(2), 15–20.   10.1177/0031721717734184
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0031721717734184 [Google Scholar]
  6. (2015) Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Baron, N. S., Calixte, R. M., & Havewala, M.
    (2017) The persistence of print among university students: An exploratory study. Telematics and Informatics, 34(5), 590–604.   10.1016/j.tele.2016.11.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2016.11.008 [Google Scholar]
  8. Benedetto, S., Drai-Zerbib, V., Pedrotti, M., Tissier, G., & Baccino, T.
    (2013) E-readers and visual fatigue. PloS one, 8(12).   10.1371/journal.pone.0083676
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083676 [Google Scholar]
  9. Bloor, M., Frankland, J., Thomas, M., & Robson, K.
    (2001) Focus Groups in Social Research. London [u.a.]: Sage.   10.4135/9781849209175
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781849209175 [Google Scholar]
  10. Boelmann, J.
    (2009) Leseforschung. InJ. Schneider, & R. Grundmann (Eds.), Methodengeschichte der Germanistik (pp.309–321). de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110217438.309
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110217438.309 [Google Scholar]
  11. Burke, M.
    (2010) Literary Reading, Cognition and Emotion: An Exploration of the Oceanic Mind (1st ed.). Routledge.   10.4324/9780203840306
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203840306 [Google Scholar]
  12. Carr, N.
    (2010) The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. W. W. Norton & Company.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Cavallo, G., & Chartier, R.
    (1999) A History of Reading in the West. University of Massachusetts Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Chartier, R.
    (1995) Forms and Meanings. Texts, Performances, and Audiences from Codex to Computer. University of Pennsylvania Press. 10.9783/9780812200362
    https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812200362 [Google Scholar]
  15. Clinton, V.
    (2019) Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Research in Reading, 42(2), 288–325.   10.1111/1467‑9817.12269
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12269 [Google Scholar]
  16. D’Ambra, J., Wilson, C. S., & Akter, S.
    (2019) Affordance theory and e-books: evaluating the e-reading experience using netnography. Pers Ubiquit Comput23, 873–892.   10.1007/s00779‑017‑1086‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-017-1086-1 [Google Scholar]
  17. Debray, R.
    (2003) Einführung in die Mediologie. Bern, Stuttgart, Wien: Haupt.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Delgado, P., Vargas, C., Ackerman, R., & Salmerón, L.
    (2018) Don’t throw away your printed books: A meta-analysis on the effects of reading media on reading comprehension. Educational Research Review, 25, 23–38.   10.1016/j.edurev.2018.09.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2018.09.003 [Google Scholar]
  19. Dittmar, N.
    (2002) Transkription: Ein Leitfaden mit Aufgaben für Studenten, Forscher und Laien (Qualitative Sozialforschung, 10). Opladen: Leske Budrich. 10.1007/978‑3‑322‑95153‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-322-95153-3 [Google Scholar]
  20. Engelsing, R.
    (1974) Der Bürger als Leser. Metzler. 10.1007/978‑3‑476‑03034‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-476-03034-4 [Google Scholar]
  21. Flick, U.
    (2002) Qualitative Sozialforschung. Eine Einführung. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Foy, J. E., & Gerrig, R. J.
    (2014) Flying to Neverland: How readers tacitly judge norms during comprehension. Memory & Cognition, 42(8), 1250–1259.   10.3758/s13421‑014‑0436‑8
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-014-0436-8 [Google Scholar]
  23. Graf, W.
    (2004) Der Sinn des Lesens. Modi der literarischen Rezeptionskompetenz. Münster: Lit Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Hilpert, J., Benighaus, L., & Scheel, O.
    (2012) Auswertung von Fokusgruppen mit MAXQDA am Beispiel des Projektes „Wahrnehmung der Fusionsenergie bei ausgewählten Bevölkerungsteilen“. InM. Schulz, B. Mack, & O. Renn (Eds.), Fokusgruppen in der empirischen Sozialwissenschaft (pp.170–194). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.   10.1007/978‑3‑531‑19397‑7_9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-531-19397-7_9 [Google Scholar]
  25. Hupfeld, A., Sellen, A., O’hara, K., & Rodden, T.
    (2013) Leisure-based reading and the place of e-books in everyday life. InP. Kotzé, G. Marsden, G. Lindgaard, J. Wesson, & M. Winckler (Eds.), Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013 (pp.1–18). Springer.   10.1007/978‑3‑642‑40480‑1_1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-40480-1_1 [Google Scholar]
  26. Illich, I.
    (2010) Im Weinberg des Textes. Als das Schriftbild der Moderne entstand. München: Beck.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Kaufman, G., & Flanagan, M.
    (2016) High-low split: Divergent cognitive construal levels triggered by digital and non-digital platforms. Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2773–2777.   10.1145/2858036.2858550
    https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858550 [Google Scholar]
  28. Kong, Y., Seo, Y. S., & Zhai, L.
    (2018) Comparison of reading performance on screen and on paper: A meta-analysis. Computers & Education, 123, 138–149.   10.1016/j.compedu.2018.05.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.05.005 [Google Scholar]
  29. Kuhn, A., & Hagenhoff, S.
    (2015) Digitale Lesemedien. InU. Rautenberg, & U. Schneider (Eds.), Lesen. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (pp.361–380). de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110275537‑017
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110275537-017 [Google Scholar]
  30. Kuzmičová, A., Schilhab, T., & Burke, M.
    (2020) m-Reading: Fiction reading from mobile phones. Convergence, 26(2), 333–349.   10.1177/1354856518770987
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856518770987 [Google Scholar]
  31. Lange, S.
    (2019) Enhanced E-Books. Eine empirische Studie zum immersiven Erleben. J. B. Metzler.   10.1007/978‑3‑476‑04983‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-476-04983-4 [Google Scholar]
  32. Lobin, H.
    (2014) Engelbarts Traum. Wie der Computer uns Lesen und Schreiben abnimmt. Campus.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Mangen, A.
    (2008) Hypertext fiction reading: haptics and immersion. Journal of Research in Reading, 31, 404–419.   10.1111/j.1467‑9817.2008.00380.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9817.2008.00380.x [Google Scholar]
  34. (2016) The digitization of literary reading. Orbis Litterarum, 71(3), 240–262.   10.1111/oli.12095
    https://doi.org/10.1111/oli.12095 [Google Scholar]
  35. Mangen, A., & Kuiken, D.
    (2014) Lost in an iPad: Narrative engagement on paper and tablet. Scientific Study of Literature, 4(2), 150–177.   10.1075/ssol.4.2.02man
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.4.2.02man [Google Scholar]
  36. Mangen, A., & van der Weel, A.
    (2016) The evolution of reading in the age of digitisation: An integrative framework for reading research. Literacy, 50, 116–124.   10.1111/lit.12086
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12086 [Google Scholar]
  37. Mangen, A., Olivier, G., & Velay, J-L.
    (2019) Comparing comprehension of a long text read in print book and on Kindle: Where in the text and when in the story?Frontiers in Psychology, 10(38).   10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00038
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00038 [Google Scholar]
  38. Mole, T.
    (2019) The Secret Life of Books. Why They Mean More Than Words. Elliott and Thompson.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Morgan, D. L.
    (1997) Focus Groups as Qualitative Research. Sage Publications. 10.4135/9781412984287
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412984287 [Google Scholar]
  40. Philipp, M.
    (2020) Multiple Dokumente verstehen. Theoretische und empirische Perspektiven auf Prozesse und Produkte des Lesens mehrerer Dokumente. Beltz.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Rautenberg, U.
    (2005) Das Buch in der Alltagskultur: Eine Annäherung an zeichenhaften Buchgebrauch und die Medialität des Buches. Studien der Erlanger Buchwissenschaft, 15.   10.25593/3‑9809664‑5‑3
    https://doi.org/10.25593/3-9809664-5-3 [Google Scholar]
  42. Rosebrock, C.
    (2020) Netzlektüre und Deep Reading: Entmischungen der Lesekultur. Leseforum Schweiz, 2, 1–16.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Schneider, U.
    (2018) The social dimension of the printed book as a medium. TXT – The Book Issue: Social Symbolism, 4, 119–126.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Schilhab, T., Balling, G., & Kuzmičová, A.
    (2018) Decreasing materiality from print to screen reading. First Monday, 23(10).   10.5210/fm.v23i10.9435
    https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i10.9435 [Google Scholar]
  45. Schwabe, A., Brandl, L., Boomgaarden, H. G., & Stocker, G.
    (2020) Literatur am Bildschirm – Zum Stand der empirischen Leseforschung. Orbis Litterarum, 75(5), 213–229.   10.1111/oli.12271
    https://doi.org/10.1111/oli.12271 [Google Scholar]
  46. (2021) Experiencing literature on the e-reader: The effects of narrative texts on screen. Journal of Research in Reading, 44(2), 319–338.   10.1111/1467‑9817.12337
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12337 [Google Scholar]
  47. Spence, C.
    (2020) The multisensory experience of handling and reading books. Multisensory Research, 33(8), 902–928.   10.1163/22134808‑bja10015
    https://doi.org/10.1163/22134808-bja10015 [Google Scholar]
  48. Stocker, G.
    (2015) Aufgewacht aus tiefem Lesen. Überlegungen zur Medialität des Bücherlesens im digitalen Zeitalter. InH.-C. von Herrmann, J. Moser (Eds.): Lesen. Ein Handapparat (pp.33–48). Vittorio Klostermann.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Olave, M. A. T.
    (2020) Book love. A cultural sociological interpretation of the attachment to books. Poetics, 81.   10.1016/j.poetic.2020.101440
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2020.101440 [Google Scholar]
  50. Wittmann, R.
    (2010) Geschichte des deutschen Buchhandels. Beck.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Wolf, M.
    (2018) Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. Harper.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Zwaan, R. A.
    (1993) Aspects of literary comprehension. A cognitive Approach. John Benjamins.   10.1075/upal.29
    https://doi.org/10.1075/upal.29 [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error