Monday, October 17, 2011

4 Reasons Why a Kindle Is Good for People Over 60

The Kindle offers advantages for people of all ages. But for us older readers, there are features that are especially valuable. Here are 4 that I've noticed in the short time I've owned a Kindle.

1. It is lightweight. I just took a weekend trip by train to visit some friends. Even on a short trip, I usually take 2-3 books with me and maybe a magazine or two. It was so nice this time to replace a few pounds of reading material with a 6 oz. Kindle! Plus, I didn't have to wrestle with getting a book into or out of one of my bags. The Kindle fits easily into my purse.

The text on a Kindle can be rotated, so the device
can be held more comfortably in arthritic hands. 
Lighter weight means greater reading comfort, too. Some people talk about loving the "heft of a book" in their hands. But I have more stiffness in my joints these days and I notice that holding a book to read, for even short periods of time, bothers my neck and thumb joints. Having a lightweight reader makes it easier for me to lift the "book" to a level that is comfortable for my neck. Plus, holding a Kindle is a lot easier on my thumbs than holding onto a 350-page, printed-on-paper-novel. As an added bonus, I can rotate the text, which means that I can hold the device even more comfortably.

2. The font size is adjustable. I don't love wearing reading glasses. And with 8 different font sizes to choose from on my Kindle, I don't have to. I also have the choice of whether the type is condensed and/or sans serif; and I can adjust the spacing between lines of type. Fiddling with these options allows me to "set" the type to suit my aging eyes.

3. It soon pays for itself. Kindle books are cheaper than their hardback versions. There are no shipping costs for ebooks. You don't have to drive anywhere to buy one, so you save on gas. There are plenty of books that are free (many of the classics) or are very low cost, like these 100 Kindle Books Under $3.99. Soon we will be able to read library books on our Kindles, which will add even more savings.

4. It is a good solution for the book storage problem. I used to think of my book collection as a sign of a "rich" life, with so much information and entertainment lined up on the shelves. Now I wonder why I've held onto so many books, decades after I last read them. I've been in the process of clearing out my collection and being more deliberate in my choice of what to keep. I will always have a certain number of physical books, but there will be many fewer from now on.

For those of us who are 60 and beyond, the Kindle is a brilliant answer to the question, "If we buy more books, where are we going to put them?" Some of us are down-sizing or thinking about it. Some of us have been in the same houses for a long time and have accumulated one heck of a lot of stuff, books included. We dread the idea of moving all those heavy boxes of books. But we don't want to give up new books or reading. In fact, later life often affords more opportunities for reading than we had when we were younger and busy with careers and children. So an e-reader is a perfect solution. One book or 100 books on a Kindle still weigh only 6 oz. and take up no more space than the average paperback. How cool is that?