Most adults are book readers, and most read physical books, even in this age of technology. According to a Pew Research Center study, 75% of adults have read one book of any kind in the past year, while only 30% have read an e-book.
Seniors are lagging behind a bit in e-books. Only 28% of those 50 to 64 have read one in the past year, and only 18% of those 65 and older, according to Pew. A steady 19% of seniors own e-readers, another Pew survey says. Many seniors who don’t have e-readers probably would appreciate a gift of one.
There are some advantages to e-books, along with e-readers and the other devices used to read them. Learn why you might want to consider entering the world of digital reading and find out about some of the best e-readers for seniors and other devices that can help you read digitally.
Why Seniors Might Want To Read Digitally
Although most people like the tactile experience of a book in their hands, there are a number of advantages to e-books, especially for older readers.
Here are 10 of the best reasons to start reading e-books.
- E-book libraries save a large amount of physical space. A digital library of more than 5,000 books fits into the typical 8 GB (gigabyte) e-reader. The same 5,000 books would occupy shelves and shelves of space.
- E-book options for reading are numerous. You can change the font and size to make your e-book easier to read. You can change the space between sentences. Some e-readers also will allow you to change the color of the words or color of the background.
- E-book readers are lighter than real books. A paperback can weigh up to a pound, and a hardcover book can weigh between one and two pounds. E-readers can weigh around half a pound, and can keep thousands of books.
- E-book reading can open up suggestions. Most e-readers can keep track of your reading tastes and suggest other books to read accordingly.
- E-books allow you to take notes. These notes won’t interfere with your reading, like written notes in physical book margins can. You also can mark your favorite passages and revisit them with little effort.
- E-books are more environment-friendly. Digital books require no paper and no ink, and leave little to no carbon footprint.
- E-books are more portable than print books. No matter the length of the book, they fit into e-readers, which average the size of a paperback, 6 to 7½ inches tall.
- E-books don’t take up a lot of data. The typical e-book takes up 2 to 3 MB (megabytes) of data, according to experts.
- E-books have a built-in dictionary. This makes it easy to look up unfamiliar words on the fly.
- E-books let you share your reading with a community. Community apps, like Goodreads or LibraryThing, let you share your reading progress with other friends, acting like a book club that you can take part in.
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The Best E-Readers for Seniors
There are a number of types of e-readers that seniors can use to read e-books. Amazon’s Kindle e-reader is by far the most popular, according to Tonerbuzz.com. It says:
- Amazon Kindle accounts for 72% of the e-reader market
- Barnes & Noble Nook takes 10% of the market
- All other e-readers, such as Kobo, account for 18% of the market
No matter what device you pick, you’ll want such features as backlit displays, waterproof housing and an anti-glare screen. There are many options available, and your “best” may come down to features, cost or storage size.
Here are some of the best e-readers for seniors, compiled from different sources:
This is the classic e-reader from Amazon. It has a 6-inch glare-free display, although with less resolution than more expensive Kindle readers. It also supports Amazon purchases and audiobooks. It features longer battery life and contains ads.
This Amazon e-reader is the best Kindle for seniors. It’s waterproof and features a glare-free display just under 7 inches that looks like real paper. Its display color is adjustable to minimize the strain on your eyes. It’s rechargeable and will last for weeks on one charge. It also supports audiobooks and features ads.
This e-reader gives an experience similar to the Kindle Paperwhite. It also allows you to borrow from public libraries when using the library borrowing app Overdrive.
This e-reader features a larger display (8 inches) and adjustable light temperature. It has a higher resolution and is also waterproof. Unlike the Kindles, it doesn’t feature audiobook support.
This Barnes & Noble e-reader features night mode, backlight and high resolution. It has long battery life and integrates with e-books purchased at Barnes and Noble.
Other Ways Seniors Can Read E-Books
There are other devices you can use to read your e-books. In fact, according to Pew Research, more people read their digital books on devices other than e-readers. This is the percentage of American adults who have read an e-book, and the devices they used:
- Tablet computer: 15%
- Cellphone: 13%
- Desktop or laptop computer: 11%
- E-reader: 8%
Here’s a quick rundown of the other ways to read your e-books:
Smartphones are ubiquitous, so it’s easy to have one on hand to read your e-book. You’ll need book-reading apps here, too. Many phones are pre-loaded with a reading app, like Kindle or Apple Books.
Other apps you can use for your books include:
Desktop or Laptop
Desktop reading is mainly for home use, but for portability, you’ll want to use your laptop instead. The apps listed above will work on your computers also so you can read your e-books.
Where To Download Books, Some for Free
Most books are available for purchase from their associated stores – Amazon for Kindle, Apple Books for iPads, Barnes and Noble for Nook, and Google Play Books for Android devices. Some free books are also available at these stores.
There are other sites that specialize in books you can download for free. Here are some of the top sites:
- BookBub – With a membership, you can find free and discounted e-books.
- Free Ebooks.Net – Create an account and you can access free e-books to download or view.
- Manybooks – This site has more than 50,000 free e-books in a wide range of genres that can be downloaded to a variety of devices.
- Obooko – Some recent independent e-books are located on this site. Most e-books are available as PDFs, so you’ll need a PDF reader on your device.
- Open Culture – This archive site features free classic books.
- Open Library – This site features classic and current books to read and borrow.
- Project Gutenberg – More than 60,000 free e-books are available, including books from as far back as the 17th century. They can be downloaded or viewed.
- Scribd – This sharing site offers a variety of documents, including e-books.
Find Time To Relax and Read at Senior Lifestyle
Senior Lifestyle communities offer you the safety and security that you need to relax and enjoy your life. Reading is but one activity you can take up. You’ll find a calendar full of fun activities and ways to socialize with your peers. Find out more about a Senior Lifestyle community near you or schedule a tour today.