There’s something about the tangible feel of a book in your hands that drives many people to buy or collect paperbacks and hardbacks. But that feeling comes at a cost: the need for space. One book is compact enough, but when you have physical copies of your entire to-be-read list, it starts to add up. With an e-reader, you get the same joy of reading, but you can keep all your books on a device that's only a little bigger than your phone. This can be a great advantage for avid readers who are downsizing into an assisted living community.
Another benefit of e-readers for many seniors is that you can adjust the font size. You don’t have to pay extra or go looking for a large text version of the book; you can just bump the size of the font up until your eyes don't feel strained when reading. Most e-readers also have different ways you can adjust the page for reading comfort, such as making the margins bigger, changing the brightness and altering the font style.
E-readers may also make it easy to read books, magazines and stories for free. Many authors and publishers offer free reading material via platforms such as Amazon, and you can use an e-reader to borrow ebooks from library systems.
If you're interested in saving space while building a digital library with an e-reader, here are some options to consider.
Amazon’s Kindle is the reference for e-readers. The display is glare-free and looks like real paper. The lack of backlighting reduces the strain on your eyes, and this device doesn't emit blue light, which can impact your sleep.
Kindle's e-reader has features that let you translate and define words so you don’t have to pull out your dictionary. On top of purchasing ebooks to read, you can access thousands of books free on your Kindle with an Amazon Prime membership or over one million with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. You can also sink your Kindle to your Audible account to switch back and forth between listening to a book to reading it.
The Oasis is a slightly higher level Kindle, and it’s a little smaller. The screen is 300 pixels per inch, so all the text looks tight and crisp for easier reading. It uses the best e-ink technology to render the page, so when you "turn" the page, it doesn’t take long and slow down your reading flow. You can also change the warmth of the background to suit you.
The Kindle Oasis is also waterproof, so you can read in the bath without worrying about destroying it. It can survive being submerged under up to a meter of fresh water for an entire hour. It also has an ergonomic design for reading one-handed, so you can enjoy sipping your coffee while you read.
The Kobo Libra e-reader has an e-ink screen similar to the Kindle’s. It’s also touch screen, so you can scroll through pages and interact with the interface easier. This e-reader has a selection of 11 typefaces and 40 font sizes, so seniors can create the easiest reading experience for themselves by choosing the typeface and size that’s easiest to see. You can also use the device in landscape or portrait mode.
The Nook is Barnes & Noble’s signature e-reader. It has a comfortable design and a soft finish on the front and back to make long reading sessions easy on your hands. It also has a night mode that changes the brightness and warmth of the display as it gets later. There’s also a backlight feature to keep light even across the page.
This e-reader is designed for the annotator. It comes with a pen and lets you mark up any book file with writing, underlining and highlighting. The Onyx Book Note Air is the perfect e-reader if you like to take notes in the margins as you read. You can also attach it to a keyboard and use it like a small typewriter or conduct simple web browsing with the device.
The iPad works well as an e-reader. It’s not something you would buy solely to use for reading, due to the price point, but it’s a good device if you also want to do other things like go on social media and browse the internet. Using an iPad as your e-reader is a cost-effective option if you already have one or want a tablet anyway. Seniors can save a lot of space by combining their computer and e-reader into one device. You can also get books from a wide variety of sources on an iPad.
This e-reader’s screen deals with the blue light issue differently and lets you control the levels of warm and cool light manually. That means you can adjust how bright the red and blue colors are separately. The Likebook also has enough storage to hold over 10,000 books. It’s also a touch screen, so you can use it like a tablet.
The PocketBook InkPad Color has an e-ink display but can also display full color. This e-reader is the way to go if you like comic books, illustrated books or read non-fiction with a lot of charts and graphs. It also has 16GB of storage to help store the larger files of color books.