It appears that many people over 50 have overcome their initial prejudice about e-books. Many of them already own one or are considering purchasing one. I was one of those who resisted the idea of using an e-reader, despite pressure from my children to buy one. I have loved reading books all my life – examining the cover and feeling the pages is part of the experience. And then, of course, there’s that lovely book smell! My son was insistent that I was missing out on many benefits but I wasn’t convinced.
It was only when I was about to go on a trip to France that he managed to persuade me that taking an e-reader with me was a good idea. He bought me a standard Kindle and downloaded a number of books written by my favorite authors. When I travel, the weight of the books I want to take along is always an issue. I saw the advantage of being able to carry my slim, light Kindle filled with interesting e-books in my hand luggage.
I experimented a bit with my Kindle before I left and when I pulled it out on the long flight to Istanbul, I was already familiar with the basics of how to use it. I remembered a flight overseas when I was seventeen and had forgotten to pack any reading material in my hand luggage. That flight was interminable! Now, I had more than enough good books to keep me happy for the long flight.
Today’s best e-readers can match (and even beat) the print book experience. Clear, crisp text, long-lasting batteries, waterproofing, integrated backlights, and best of all, being able to have a library at your fingertips. I have discovered that it is dangerously easy to buy new books!
When picking out an e-reader, one of the main considerations is how easy it will be to find the books you’re looking for. With my Kindle, I have access to a huge selection from the Kindle library with extras like Kindle Unlimited, a million free classics and Goodreads recommendations. If you want to purchase a newer product or an e-reader from a smaller brand, just make sure you’ll be able to download books by your favorite authors.
I have the original Amazon Kindle. It is small, very light at 161g and does most of what I need it to do. The battery lasts a long time and it has 4GB of storage. This standard Kindle is a beginner-friendly basic option. I’m glad I started off with this version but I am likely to upgrade in the future.
Pros: Affordable; light; accessibility to many books
Cons: No built-in light; no waterproofing; basic styling
The Kindle Paperwhite
This is the bestselling e-reader for good reasons. It is not the cheapest but it probably the most affordable for what it offers.
The curved design with a soft matte finish is great to hold for long reading sessions. It is not the lightest option as it weighs 205g but it is still quite light enough. It has a sharp 300ppi touchscreen display and a long battery life. It has a built-in front light which is great for reading in bed at night.
The latest version of the Paperwhite is waterproof, has an improved design and allows you to listen to audiobooks over Bluetooth. I can’t read in the bath with my Kindle and this is one reason I would consider upgrading to the waterproof Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon has said that it can be submerged in water for up to 60 minutes – so it’s safe to read in the bathtub or on the beach!
Pros: Good value for money; waterproof; built-in reading light
Cons: No color temperature controls
The Kindle Oasis
The Kindle Oasis is the luxury option in the Kindle series. Instead of the functional, plastic look, you get an anodized aluminum face and ergonomic, asymmetrical weighting that allows you to hold it comfortably in your hand. At 194g, it is light enough to use on-the-go and has handy page turn buttons to the side of the 7-inch 300ppi touchscreen display. It has an adaptive light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness. The base model gets you 8GM of storage. The Kindle Oasis costs nearly twice as much as the Paperwhite but it is a beautiful accessory that is likely to be on your wishlist.
Pros: Sleek design; more storage; waterproof
Cons: Expensive; no light color tweaking
The Kobo Clara
Amazon may dominate when it comes to ebooks but Kobo is a strong competitor. Kobo’s e-readers do have some features you won’t find on Kindles: the ability to borrow books from the Overdrive library system directly on the device and native support for Pocket articles.
The new Kobo Clara HD is similar in size, dimension and weight to the standard Kindle and it is a little cheaper than the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s not quite as ergonomic as the Paperwhite but more pleasing to handle than the standard Kindle as it has curved corners and a textured back. It has a 6-inch 300ppi touchscreen and the library and store setup is similar to the Kindle.
An advantage is that you can adjust the brightness and the color temperature of the built-in front light. Set your usual bedtime and the Clara HD adjusts the color of the light gradually from a bright white to a color rather like candlelight. It’s ideal if you’re worried about the impact of blue light on your sleep. It has 8GB of storage, a week long battery life and plenty of opportunities for customizing your reading experience.
Pros: Great features; light and portable; color temperature controls
Cons: Not quite as good as Kindle store for books; no water resistance
There you have it! Three choices of e-readers from Kindle and one from Koba. I must say that the option I favor is the Kindle Paperwhite and I don’t think it will be long before I decide to move on from my standard Kindle.