As a sort of polar follow on from my last post (the one about eReaders in schools), I thought it would be interesting to see what is being said about the usefulness or otherwise, of eReaders for older, well, lets be honest, old people. I can say this, as I am 67 myself, and thus will be able to draw on my own experiences for this post as well as other sources.
Hunted the net, and………..
I have had a good snuffle around on the internet to see if I could find any specific references to how eReaders might be of special interest to older people, and found remarkably little, to my surprise.
I came across a number of sites dedicated to technology and old people, but these tended to be mainly concerned with computers and mobile phones, with the occasional reference to eBooks or eReaders. I did however come across several references to libraries, chiefly in Britain, who have purchased a few eReaders specifically for their older clients, but no large scale efforts in this direction really, which surprised me, since the various advantages of eReaders for older people seem so obvious to me – see below.
Why are eReaders “Old People” friendly devices?
There are a number of obvious advantages to old people that an eReader can offer:-
- Scalable font size – this is an obvious one, to be able to increase and decrease the size of the font according to one’s eye sight and the light level is a real benefit for us older people.
- Lightness – also a great benefit, not to have to hump a hefty great paper book around with one is wonderful!
- Last read page – Now this is a real bonus for us oldies, as I always forget where I was in a book, and whilst I have no problem with dog-earing the last page I was reading in my own books, one can’t really do this with borrowed books (libraries and friends), and when I have used bookmarks, the damn things are always falling out in my rug-sack when I take the books out with me.
Apart from these specific advantages for us, all the other advantages of eReaders over paper books that we all enjoy apply equally to us too, of course.
eReaders and libraries:
As I mentioned earlier in this post, an increasing number of libraries around the world are acquiring eReaders (and a good stock of lendable eBooks) specially for their older clients. These eBooks delete themselves after a couple of weeks, and apparently can’t be copied, so they function exactly as do paper library books. As far as I can gather from forum chat this is a development that many older clients appreciate very much, as well as the option to have text to voice, so when they are tired or simply can’t be bothered to actually read, the book reads itself to them. Unlike audio books (also a very good thing) eReaders can function as both audio books and ordinary books, thus meeting the changing needs of elderly readers very well.
Reading in bed:
Like a lot of people – I suspect – I do a lot of my reading in bed before going to sleep, and I find the ease of holding an eReader in bed is far greater than a paper book, not least the fact that once I am in position, I don’t have to keep changing my position as I move from the left hand page to the right hand page, if you see what I mean. This is a serious advantage for those older people who have little strength in their arms and wrists. Once comfortably established, no further moving is required, just push the advance page button as you read….
Lightness and travelling:
I know I mentioned the benefit of the lightness of eReaders above, but as an additional factor for the elderly (and to a lesser degree, the younger) readers, when traveling, having a good stock of books with one without the horrible weight of paper books is very beneficial. Since I acquired my Sony, my Take on Bag when flying has finally become manageable. No longer that standing at the check in counter with about 20 kilos of books in my bag over my shoulder, attempting to look as if the bag is as light as a feather to avoid problems with over weight………… A true blessing!
Share with us:
If you have any thoughts on this topic, I would be very glad to see them, and possibly revisit this topic if there seems to be interest in it.