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Do People Read e-Books Differently than Printed Books?

Conference on Materiality of Literature on June 30 and July 1 at Freie Universität / Evening Lecture on Findings about Reading e-Books and Printed Books

№ 230/2016 from Jun 27, 2016

More and more people read literary texts with electronic devices such as Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. Does this modify their reading experience? This will be addressed in a presentation on June 30 at 6:15 p.m. at Freie Universität Berlin. The public lecture is part of a two-day workshop dealing with the materiality of literature from the 18th century to the present. Arthur Jacobs, a professor of neurocognitive psychology at Freie Universität Berlin, and Massimo Salgaro, a professor of literature at the University of Verona and a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt am Main, will describe the cognitive, emotional, tactile, and sensorimotor differences between reading on paper and reading on screen. The lecture will be given in English. It is open to the public, and admission is free.

Jacobs and Salgaro will also address the issue of how reading in different media can be explored empirically. In both formats (analog vs. digital), the researchers deal with different types of readers who have had different types of experiences with digital media, "digital natives" or "digital immigrants." Against this background, they will present the findings of a study that examined whether familiarity with digital media has an impact on how literary texts are judged. In particular, it examines the debate, whether "digital reading makes you stupid" or whether it has a positive effect on the minds and brains of readers.

The international conference at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies on June 30 and July 1 will deal with the material conditions of reading literary texts and the possibilities of digitization. The presentations will address such topics as book design, the graphic novel, weblogs, or opportunities that digital editions might offer for forgotten literary texts. The conference was organized by Prof. Dr. Anthony Enns (Dalhousie University, Halifax) and Dr. Bernhard Metz (Freie Universität Berlin).

Further Information

Time, Location, and Program

Evening Lecture

  • Thursday, June 30, 6:15 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, Room KL 32/202, 14195 Berlin.


  • Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, 2016
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, Room JK 33/121, 14195 Berlin. subway station: Dahlem-Dorf or Thielplatz (U3).




Dr. Bernhard Metz, Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-56423, Email: