If you're an avid — or even periodic — reader, you might have noticed something about tangible books. Their prices have really increased in the past decade. Even a paperback can run you $15.99, and hardbacks are $30 or more. You can still find great deals on new books at outlets stores and bargain bins, and thrift stores are an ideal place to score books for under a few bucks. But another option for seniors who want to feed their reading habit without worrying their wallets is ebooks.
Get the full scoop on ebooks and how they're an awesome addition to assisted living apartments below.
Ebooks are an electronic version of books. Instead of reading the book on paper that you hold in your hands, you read it via a file that you open on a device or computer. There are usually no differences between the print book and the electronic book as far as the content goes. If you read an ebook of Pride and Prejudice, for example, you're going to read the same story that you would read in a print version.
Ebooks offer a wide range of benefits in general. They avoid the printing process, which makes them eco-friendly. Typically, they're priced lower than the print version because there's no materials cost to produce them.
But for seniors, ebooks can have even more benefits, including:
Reduced need for storage space. If you're downsizing or moving into an assisted living community, you may not have room for as many shelves or books. With an ebook reader, such as a Kindle, you can carry hundreds of books in your pocketbook.
Flexibility in font size. Those who struggle to read fine print for any reason may be used to looking for large-print versions of books. Those aren't always available and can sometimes be more expensive. But with an ebook, you can simply change the font to fit your needs. That makes every book a large-print version if you want it.
Your books are portable. You can load most devices up with dozens or hundreds of books that you can take with you wherever you go. You'll have a full personal library to select from at the doctor's office, on the bus or in the assisted living common area, which means you can read what you feel like at any moment.
Instant access to new and beloved books. If you suddenly remember a book you loved or get a recommendation for a new author from a friend, you don't have to hope you remember it once you're within a bookstore. And you don't have to wait a few days or weeks for a book to arrive in the mail after you order it online. When you purchase an ebook, it's immediately delivered to your device. For seniors who deal with sleep issues or have odd sleep schedules, the ability to get a new book at any hour may be appreciated.
Enjoy free or low-priced books. Many authors and publishers run specials when some of their ebooks are free. Others might discount the books so they only cost 99 cents or a few dollars. They do this to attract new readers, and it's a great way for seniors to test out new authors before buying books or ebooks at full price.
You can read most ebooks on a variety of devices, including your smartphone, tablet, computer or dedicated reader. Each has its own pros and cons.
Pros: You already have the device with you almost all the time, which keeps your books handy. Kindle and other reading apps tend to be free to download.
Cons: The screen may be uncomfortably small for long reading sessions, and the light of the screen can cause eyestrain and interfere with sleep if you read at night.
Pros: You can use the same free apps as you might on a phone, but you get the benefit of a bigger screen.
Cons: Tablets tend to emit blue light as well, making them less ideal for reading at night. You also have to make sure to charge your device regularly. If you also play games or use it to access social media, you might run out of battery right in the middle of the best chapter.
Pros: If you invest in a dedicated ereader that's designed to mimic the look of a real page, such as Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite, you don't have to worry about screen light that might interfere with your sleep. Because these devices don't draw a lot of power, their batteries typically last for a long time as well.
Cons: The screen isn't lit, which means you'll need to read near a light source just as you would with a print book. Your device is only for reading, which means you might have to carry more than one device with you.
You can buy ebooks from most online bookstores, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Some libraries also include ebook lending.