By 2ndactt/ Photo by Ahmet Polat on

Nothing enlightens the mind like reading. And nothing fantasizes people more than reading. I remember losing myself in the novel Journey to the West when I was little as I imagined myself traveling with Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang and his entourage on their way to India to obtain their sacred texts. I have been to places I would never be in the real world while reading novels. 

Not just me. Many would agree that reading is part of their life. And not just me. Many found themselves reading less and less as printed words became blurry before their eyes. But thanks to ebook readers, or e-readers, we are able to bring that joy of reading back. If you have yet to know about an e-reader, the following is a quick introduction and why it is friendly to older adults who read. 

To begin with, what is an e-reader? An e-reader is a tablet-shaped reading device that uses E ink electronic paper technology. Introduced by Amazon Kindle some 15 years ago, the E ink display is a non-reflective white-paper-like screen. When you look at the display, you feel as if you are looking at a non-glossy piece of white paper. Some devices adopt touch screens, and others have physical buttons at the bottom or on the side of the devices. Back in the day, when e-readers were first introduced, the device’s storage was 8G. Today, many models boast 32G of storage space, allowing people to keep thousands of digital books. 

Now, here are the reasons why an e-reader benefits aging eyes.

An e-reader does not use an LCD screen 

While people can download reading apps from cellphones or tablets, long hours of reading on those gadgets can cause eye strain. They can dim the screen or turn to night mode and still get straining eyes easily. It is fair to say that phones and tablets, both of which come with LCD displays, are not made for serious reading, and it will be nicer for your eyes if you read novels and non-fiction books on an e-reader. 

It allows you to adjust fonts the way you like  

One of the inconvenient things about having presbyopia is that people either switch to another pair of glasses or grab a magnifier, reading line by line and paragraph by paragraph. But with an e-reader, all they need to do is enlarge the font size. Although most e-readers sport a 6- or 7-inch display– the size of a pocketbook, people can still get huge print while they read on the device. You can also adjust the styles of font to your preferences.

You can do highlights and bookmarks as you would with a real book

An e-reader allows people to mark up sentences and paragraphs and bookmark pages, doing what they would do to an actual book. As most e-readers now come with touch screens, you can make highlights and bookmarks using the tip of your finger. And using your fingertip is a lot more intuitive than using a highlighter. 

Lightweight and portable as a pocketbook and yet holds the whole library

A standard 6-inch Amazon Kindle weighs 158g (5.56 oz), while the larger 7-inch Kindle Oasis weighs 188g (6.6 oz). Rakuten Kobo Sage, which sports an even larger 8-inch screen, is 240.4g (0.53 lb). However you choose it, an e-reader is as lightweight as a pocketbook. And yet, with an e-reader, people carry with them not only one book but a whole library.

Equipped with built-in reading light for more comfortable reading

Several e-readers are now fitted with built-in LEDs to give extra luminance to the e-ink screen. Kindle Paperwhite and some Kobo e-readers, to name a few, now give users full control of the brightness of their screens. These tiny built-in LEDs are like a reading light in the front of the screen, making it brighter without emitting the eye-hurting blue light like the LCD screen does. 

But there is no denial that there are times an e-reader cannot compare with a paperback book. First, many who read have a habit of writing notes, especially on those books they tend to read repeatedly. While I am used to typing notes on the QWERTY keyboard on the e-ink screen, I acknowledge that many people won’t get used to that.  

Secondly, most e-readers won’t show different highlight colors because of their gray-scale screens, and people won’t be able to do colorful highlights on their e-books since every highlight on the e-reader is gray. And thirdly, cross-referencing is not that easy with an e-reader, although Kindle has been giving it a nice try. Last but not least, who can resist that page-turning sound as they venture into their next chapter?

But you know what? The author of this article still recommends that people, and you, get an e-reader for their next reading. Yes, there are inconveniences, and yes, there are things that an e-reader is just not up to par with a book made of paper. But seriously, we cannot afford to cut more trees, and we still need forests to regulate things we hold dearly– the air, the ecosystem, and temperature. We need forests to cool the earth down. 

We may be aging, and our eyes too. But we can still do something for the earth so it heats up less. Get an e-reader, and your children and children’s children will thank you for that.

Recommended products>>

Amazon Kindle

Kindle Oasis

Rakuten Kobo Sage

Kindle Paperwhite

Kobo e-readers

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