What Old Timey Print Ads Tell Us

E-Books and Elders

Laurie Orlov who runs the excellent blog, Aging in Place Technology Watch, asked a good question last week: Why aren't seniors wowed by tablets?

Laurie's main interest was Apple iPads and the many Android copycat computer tablets that come with e-book readers but also the stand-alone e-readers such as the Kindle and the Nook.

As Laurie noted, according to Pew's recent survey, e-book reader and tablet ownership each nearly doubled over the recent holiday season from 10 to 19 percent. But – in a big exception – when broken down by age, ownership of tablets by people older than 65 increased from only five to seven percent.

Ownership of e-readers did better with the elder age group but only slightly, going from eight to 12 percent.

Laurie suspects that price may have a lot to do with elders' apparent rejection of these gadgets:

”...median income for women aged 65+ is $15,282,” she notes. “That's a barrier, as is broadband penetration (31%), enabling and potentially costly data plans. So those significant limiting factors are big deals.”

That makes sense as does Laurie's other suggestion – that elders are just too damned smart to jump for every new electronic gadget that comes along.

Generally, I do not see the need for a tablet computer. Certainly they are cool looking and fun to play with, pushing stuff around the screen with your fingers and all. But I mostly use my laptop not to play, but to write – email, blog posts, notes to myself, edit stories, personal business, etc. – and tablets have no keyboards. Well, not real ones you could actually use.

In fact, after you've spent $500 to $700 for an iPad, if you intend to write anything longer than a tweet, you need to purchase a holder to keep the iPad vertical on your desk and then add a stand-alone keyboard. You can see what I mean here.

That's a lot of extra moolah to get an already expensive gadget's functionality up to speed with what is included in the price of even the cheapest laptop.

E-book readers, however, are a different matter. At least, I think so. Let me tell you why I believe they should be uniquely valuable to elders.

As we get older, small text is difficult to read. Although some dead tree books are published in large-print editions, not all are, they seem to be fewer every year and they usually cost more. With an e-reader, the font can be increased to any size you need with the touch a button.

For the past few years, I've noticed that large books, those that are more than 150 pages or so, are too weighty for me to hold for as long as might want to read.

I've taken to resting them on a pillow I place on my lap. Kindle and Nook e-readers, however, weigh in at about 10 to 13 ounces. Easy to hold.

Although publishing companies sometimes set higher prices by two or three dollars, the largest number of e-books at Amazon sell for $9.99. In addition, there are thousands of out-of-copyright classics that cost nothing. I had a fine ol' time re-reading Sherlock Holmes – all the short stories and the four novels - for the first time since my 20s for free on my Kindle.

I have no experience with Barnes & Noble, but Amazon holds regular sales of best-selling e-books at lower prices for short periods of time. And increasing numbers of local libraries are lending electronic books for free.

On the theory that you never know when you'll be stuck somewhere waiting for someone or something, I do not leave home without a book. In the past, that was difficult when I was reading one of those five- or ten-pounders. Now I just drop the Kindle in my handbag and I'm good to go.

Some elders have had to give up driving. Others cannot walk or stand for as long as they once could. So as much fun as hanging out browsing a good bookstore can be, it's not necessarily easy for elders to do. E-books are now here to help.

They download over the web in under a minute. No shipping costs. No leaving home. Easy peasy for those with limited mobility.

There are fancy models of e-readers that also function as tablets and are nearly as expensive as Apple iPads. But if, like me, you only want the book reading function, Barnes & Noble is selling their Nook Simple Touch for $99; Amazon sells the Kindle Wi-Fi for $79.

Given all these reasons, I believe e-readers ought to be big sellers for old people and next holiday season, I am going to recommend them as good gifts for elders.

For those on severely limited incomes, a year's internet subscription could be included and/or a gift certificate for book purchases. And don't forget that, at Amazon, at least, it is now possible to purchase e-books to be sent electronically as gifts.

I also subscribe to newspapers and magazines on my Kindle which has sharply reduced the amount of paper needing to be hauled out to the recycle bin. Because I have the least expensive, black-and-white version, images don't show well or are often omitted. So if it is an art book you want or anything in which the images are crucial, you probably need the print edition. And, in fact, I make other distinctions about which books I purchase in print and which as e-books. The goal for me is not to eliminate print book editions, but to use the ease of the Kindle when that it what matters.

Of course, there are always the Luddites - elders among them - who will insist they only want to read "real" books. Fine. But in keeping with Laurie's good point that old people are too smart, too experienced to fall for every new useless doodad that comes along, we are also smart enough, I think, to be discerning of ones to embrace when the advantages improve our lives.

It seems obvious but nevertheless, one of the small thrills about my Kindle is that the device automatically opens a book to the last page read. And now I have downloaded Kindle for PC onto my laptop and the Kindle for Android app onto my smartphone. With one click of the mouse, I can sync all three so that no matter which device I'm using, I can pick up reading where I last left off.

Not that I do much reading on a the small phone screen – but it's there if I want.

So I am wondering: do you own an e-reader? Do you use it regularly? Do you like it? Why do you think e-readers have not sold well (so far) among elders? Any other thoughts about e-readers?

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: The Way the Cookie Crumbles


I own a Kindle and LOVE it! I agree with all the reasons to love that you list but I also find the ability to get a book RIGHT NOW is quite exciting. I have always considered myself a reasonably patient person but when it comes to books, that is one feature I love.

To cut down on costs, if you buy the pricier Kindle with 3g, you don't have to have an active internet connection. Further, you can share a connection with a trusted friend. My sister and I share an account. She charges what she wants to my account and we can both enjoy them. Of course she sends me a check for her purchases. It works great.

Hi Ronni,

I have had my Kindle for about two years and I have enjoyed reading many books on it.

My son and DIL gave it to me for Christmas and at that time I was having typical old age eye trouble and could only read LARGE PRINT books. As you mentioned not every book comes in LARGE PRINT.

I also had eyeglasses for every contingency.One pair for TV, a pair for reading,and a pair for driving. I was a walking advertisement for Lenscraft.

When they gave me the Kindle, it was a Godsend. I could make the type as large as I needed it. Sometimes,when I was tired I had the type set so big it looked like an Eye Chart. You know with that giant E at the top.

Then I had Cataract surgery and I am now down to one pair of glasses (Readers from the Dollar Store) and still love my trusty Kindle. My eyes are so much better that I can now get more than 9 words on the screen at a time.

I would suggest the Kindle especially to elders. It's light,as you pointed out,and the books are delivered in minutes and at a very low cost compared to a hard cover
book. You can be watching TV and someone mentions a great book they are plugging or reading and you can pick up your Kindle,price the book,and if it is in your price range,order it sent to your Kindle. Before the TV interview is over, you are seeing it appear on your screen.

What could be better than that?

I have both a Kindle and a Nook and like the kindle best. Recently I have been mainly publishing my own manuscripts on Kindle; so haven't had the time for pleasure reading. To update my stories, edit them to get down to very few mistakes (probably never get to none), and then learn to promote them-- eek on what I now know about marketing-- hasn't left me with a lot of time for pleasure reading, but I keep buying new ones for when I will have that time.

I like eReading for all the reasons you mentioned. Weight was a big issue for me as anytime I read a hardback book in bed, it would cramp my neck and I'd end up with a migraine. Kindle is light and easy to read. I find it easier to find new books on Kindle as they are often a bit cheaper than on Nook maybe only 50 cents but every bit helps.

I think elders who have had more years loving the feel of paper books have a hard time letting go of the beloved feel. But there is no reason people can't still use paper books for some of them and base it on which is cheaper. I buy mostly books that are cheaper than a used book would be because if I have to pay more, I can't resell it, and I consider then paper to be the better deal.

When I began reading with the eReaders, I found I like them very much, and for me it's always been about the stories and words not the feel of paper. Not having more books on my bookshelves is a plus as is the ability to travel with it and not a weighted down suitcase with seven books since I don't know which I'll be in the mood to read

I have a Nook Color and a 7" tablet with the Kindle app. The Nook paid for itself within a few months. I can download the books from the library at no cost that I was buying from Amazon.

Since I only have a basic cell phone, the ability to connect to the internet with both is Nook and the tablet is very convenient even though I must find free WiFi hotspots. Our budget doesn't allow for 3G technology to connect anywhere, any time. I never leave home without one of them.

The best thing, for me, is the ability to download books at 3:00 am during sleepless nights.

It's nice that all of you enjoy your ereaders, but I'm not one of you. This is mainly because of the cost in time & money. Heck, I'd spend the money, but time is at a premium in my life, but that's another story. So enjoy. As for bookstore browsing, I have to stay away from Amazon which fills the bill for me. :)Dee

I wrote an entry about books yesterday and was surprised by the answers. Even those who do have a Kindle or Nook preferred "real" books.

I too balance a book on a pillow on my lap. Sometimes two pillows. I love large print. I'm not fond of my new laptop as the screen is too small and I hate the keyboard....but it's light.

Personally, I spend too much time here staring at my desktop monitor. I love taking a break and sitting with a book and a cuppa tea as the sun goes down.

I am an avid reader and have been all my life. My profession was computers starting in the late 60s and continuing until my retirement in 2001 so it is not a dislike of the technology that stops me. I do not have an e-reader at the present time. The feel of the books and the newspaper is an important part of my reading experience. I can still read without glasses so print size doesn't matter to me at the present time. I do intend to get some kind of reading device for all of the reasons you mentioned but I am waiting until the technology matures a little more. My city has free wifi so that is a cost that many may find unaffordable. I also agree that the price may be a sticking point for many elders.

Unfortunately, we received a Kindle as a present. We had seen them in stores and didn’t want one, but due to circumstances, we knew it wasn’t a present we could regift or return.

We found a site with free books and loaded a bunch. My husband found a few scifi novels. Our local library has current books available to load.

Font: The screen is already holds too few words. If the font were any larger, I would have about 20-words per page.

I have no problem with even the heaviest books. Usually I have them on my lap or (while reading in bed) resting on my knees. (I like the pillow idea – thanks.) Now that I think about it, I found that the lightweight Kindle slipping around was very annoying.

I don’t buy books or magazines - we have a fabulous local, county, and state library. You can’t get cheaper than “free”. Occasionally I’ll pick up a second hand non-fiction book at a garage sale for under $1. I can resell it later at my own garage sale.

I haven’t found mobility to be a problem with books. As I usually have multiple books in progress it is easy to pick out the smallest one. I am also not brokenhearted if I should misplace a second-hand paperback and sometimes I deliberately leave them somewhere for someone else when I am finished. I can leave a paperback on my beach chair while I take a dip in the ocean and there is no major damage if a wet swimmer runs by me.

If needed, we have township and county senior buses and the county/local senior groups sponsor a book delivery/pick up service.

I love the feel and smell of books, their permanence. While I use bookmarks for works-in-progress, there is something to be said for riffling through a book, reading a bit here-and-there. Looking up at my bookshelf, scanning the titles until one calls my name. Paging through a book, finding notes that I wrote in college.

I find reading off electronic screens annoying and I am often left with burning eyes. The library Kindle books apparently disappear after two weeks. After holding the Kindle for even a little while, my hand starts to ache.

And my husband the hard-core techie? He finished the scifi books and left the Kindle on his nightstand. I have dusted it at least twice.

I'm not sure I qualify yet as "elder", being only 64, but I own both a Kindle and an iPad. My motivation for getting them was to take with me when I travel. Both have worked for me for that. The iPad is a "jack of all trades master of none" device, giving me a sort-of version of a Garmin, a Kindle (actually, I prefer reading Kindle books in the iPad now), a laptop (I invested in the external keyboard, and prop the iPad on whatever's handy when I am writing longer stuff), an iPod that can be plugged into my car radio when I want to listen to my own music, and even a very awkward but usable cell phone. Of course, I bought them while still employed on full salary, but I will take both with me when I retire in a couple of years.

But I agree that if you don't need or want what the iPad does, or if you need or want the more refined actual devices and can afford all of the ones you want, then the iPad becomes only an expensive toy.

My problem with ebooks is precisely the ease of access--I spend too much on them. And I find browsing the Amazon store aggravating at times. But when I think of all those hundreds of books NOT cluttering my house, that I do not now have to dispose of or pack for moving--definitely worth it.

No, I do not own an ebook reader of any kind.
1) When I retired in 2004, I quit frequenting bookstores and re-established my link with our local library. Books are free for checkout - even if they must be "ordered" from another library in the lending system.
2) I get quite enough reading on the monitor that I am, this moment, facing. I don't have to hold it (so, no carpel tunnel danger), it is equipment that I maintain for other reasons (so, requires no dedicated maintenance), and I don't lose it.
3) I'm not one who thinks she must be doing something useful each second - while awaiting others, for instance. I may browse some files on my phone (it is a smart phone but I don't subscribe to internet service on it), but there are enough things to occupy my mind that I don't need a book.
BTW: The growing number of elders in the community has provided impetus for the library to carry an increasing number of large-print books. Since my own cataract-removal surgeries, I no longer "need" large-print books; but, I continue to use them. It seems to me that large-print is a plus for nearly anyone, and most of a book's weight is not much more (if any more) than that of a regular, hardback book because of the more efficient layouts used.
As Ronni well knows, I am not a Luddite, having worked with all sorts of computers (mainframe digital, analogue, hybrid digital/analogue, PCs, MACs, PDAs....) since 1959; so, as is true for Twin City Joan, that is not an issue.

I don't have a e-reader and don't particularly want one. I have a little 2 pound Acer laptop and can put a ebook on it if I choose to do so. The ex loaded it some e-reader software and books on it for me. That said, I still like/prefer the feel of a book in my hands.

On the cost of the books on Kindle, there are regular sales where they are often free. On mine, yet to read are books like 'Sand Creek Massacre'; Crazy Horse and Custer; and then the classics like War and Peace; the complete works of Joseph Conrad. When you have these devices, you watch the sites that have free ones listed and get many books that way. It's only expensive if you buy the best sellers. Libraries now have them also. I don't think money is the big factor. It's that people who are older have had it a certain way for a long time and they don't like to change many things. Kindle is easy on the eyes, like a book. Nook not so much. computers even less but I am using mine a lot for research or things like this. I don't like reading books on it though nearly as much as on the Kindle. A lot of elders, not those here obviously, still don't like computers either. It's just a big shift in how information is gotten. More than earlier generations had to absorb and much faster how it's come.

We have three e-readers in our house---one Nook, a Kindle and a new Kindle Fire. We both use e-readers daily for reading books and magazines, and I use the Kindle Fire for everything else, when not at my desk. Back-lit screens irritate my eyes, so I don't read anything lengthy on Kindle Fire. The regular Kindle and Nook, on the other hand, are perfect for long reads because they are not back-lit. Living in a region blessed with many independent book stores, I never thought I'd want an e-reader, but I've succumbed to the pure pleasure of keeping all my reading material in one tidy little space.

I have no e-reader of any type, yet. I can see a future advantage, if my eyes deteriorate. However, right now the library and book stores are more fun. I particularly like the library because if I don't like a book, it goes back, no cost to me. And, as others have said, I can order what's not available locally. If I downloaded a book, even a library book, I would feel obligated to read it - that would make reading less flexible and less spontaneous.

I also would fear losing it . Lose a book, even a library book, and the cost is minimal, the book can be replaced easily. And then there's reading in a boat - how many cell phones has my husband lost while fishing? - or in a bathtub, or sitting in the sand.

My daughter gave me a Nook Color for my birthday last year and I was delighted. I love it but there are a few problems that over time may be resolved.

I read 2 or 3 books a week, mostly in the evenings or in bed. The nook, while not heavy, isn't easy to handle when I'm lying on my side. My thumb on my holding hand is close to the touch screen and I'm frequently turning my page before I'm actually ready. I need a holder or cover that allows a better grip on the Nook without accidentally touching the screen.

Since I read so many books, purchasing them would be prohibitive and the library has always been my best source of reading material. They have a good selection of new books by the authors I prefer. However, not so the selection of e-books available. There are few books available by my favorite authors that I haven't already read and the very few that are available must be put on hold because the agreement with the e-library only allows 1 user at a time. I've, at times, noted up to 24 holds. We're allowed to 'check the books out' for up to 3 weeks and if you do the math, it would be a very long time before I could read it. Ever the optimist, I do make a long 'hold' list and am eventually notified when it's my turn. As more and more people use ebooks, I imagine the selection and number of copies available will improve. But it's frustrating right now.

The third problem I've found is magazines. I was really hoping to be able to subscribe to several e-magazines and eliminate the paper clutter that accompanies several hard copy subscriptions. Even using the Nook Color sideways doesn't solve the impossibility of reading a magazine like Organic Gardening or other pictorial types. The screen is just too small and while you can read the article in a reading format, you can't look at the accompanying photos or illustrations at the same time. It's either/or. All the publishers of magazines are going to have to take this into consideration when laying out magazines that are available for reading on e-readers.

I've used the Nook color for email and Facebook a time or two but using the virtual keyboard is a big headache. Too big for thumbing it and too small for quick qwerty typing. Eventually, I'll purchase a stylus for cell phones to see if that helps.

I do like watching webinars and videos on it and was delighted to download the Netflix app. Now I can watch movies (with earbuds) while sitting companionably with my husband while he watches his programs on the TV.

All in all the Nook Color is a fun and at times helpful thing but so far---not quite there yet.

I’ve learned to never say never, but for now will stick to what I have been doing.

Ordering books online from the county library system saves both time and money.

My husband and I have Kindles and don't know what we ever did without them. I was one of those who wanted the "real" book-- until my kids gave me a Kindle. I have the standard keyboard version, and love the gratification of being able to get my hands on a new book RIGHT NOW! I also subscribe to Audible.com through Amazon and enjoy the audio books I've purchased for times when it's not convenient to read print (traveling at night, for example). BTW, I'm 76 and my husband is 78, and you certainly can teach an old dog new tricks. Long live technology!!

Your post today seems liked a push for consumerism. Why do we need more stuff. Books have fit the bill since the printing press was invented and now the techie companies are sad because we as elders are not flocking to buy readers and tablets. Hold on. For once can we set aside the mad drive of consumerism.

I totally agreed with the comments Susan G made about nothing like a good book.

Let us think about what we are doing to our environment for once instead of the ease of some toxic plastic screen.

-- barbara

Excellent post. We've been thinking about buying a reader. Your facts and the good guidance in the comments have provided lots of welcome information to use in making a decision. Thanks to all who wrote on this topic.

I love, love, love my Kindle! It is one of those electronic things I hope never to be without. It has increased my reading many times over. I think the dictionary is very snazzy. Formerly,there were times when I was too lazy to go look up a word if I didn't know it. Now, just a few clicks and viola! there is the definition.

I have found that some non-fiction books like those with charts and graphs do not do well on the Kindle (even with the Kindle for PC software) - the print is just too small to be readable. So now, I purchase paper books for reading and digesting non-fiction.

My 14-year-old granddaughter received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I am delighted since it seems to entertain her more than Facebook! Our family has gently tried to discourae her using Facebook and the Fire seems to help.

My wife and I both have Kindles. My wife has difficulty holding books so for her it is a great benefit. We both use it to read things that are more ephemeral shall we say, although I've noticed that the books I buy for mine are more and more books I expected to buy in print.

I use a package called Calibre, to convert other e-books into Kindle format and like you I have installed the versions for PC and Android smartphone.

I have also downloaded the entire works of Dickens, Trollope, Conan Doyle, plus lots by John Ruskin, William Morris and others, all free.

I use the ability to download a free sample a great deal too.

The other main benefit for me is that I am literally running out of space.

I'm usually pretty much an early adopter, but I have neither a Kindle or an iPad. For the functions of the former, I prefer the public library. It's free.

For many things I might use a iPad for I use my iPhone which is also a work tool.

An iPad might be fun, but I think it is a consumer toy, and I use a laptop for work.

My partner has both a Kindle and an iPad. My observation is that she uses the iPad to read Kindle books -- and that when she is on the road, she still drags along her laptop.

I'm sure eventually I'll end up with an iPad, but I still can't quite figure out what it is for.

I have had an iPad for a couple of years and like it very much. I travel for work, and find that I'm not as comfortable with heavy shoulder bags walking through huge airports. I read a great deal, and used to always have two or three books with me for a long flight (well, what if you got stuck out on the tarmac, or didn't like a book, or finished another, hmmmmm?)

I need more than a Kindle for work on the road and the iPad fits both bills, for me.

I also have a lap top, but when I'm at home it is plugged in to a large screen and a keyboard already.

Having just spent three days dusting and reorganizing over 1000 "real" books of my own, I will never not love the feel and smell of a book. But ebooks (tens of thousands are free, and you can check loaded Kindles out of libraries now I understand) have a place.

Thanks as always for a good read this morning!

If one is looking at this from an environmental perspective than not using paper is a plus for the trees that don't have to be cut down and the pulp mills that don't spew out smoke. The thing is though for every argument like that, you can make a counter one. I don't think having a kindle or not is a choice of superior vs. not superior option. It is what suits our lifestyle and us. With five stuffed bookcases in my house, it's obvious that more books have nowhere to go and something I want to keep will have to be sold or given away. I will still be buying paper books but just less of them as now I have a choice. I do not plan to dump all the books I have though to put them all on a device. I see it as possible to do both and that is what I am doing. I do though especially like having classic collections that would have forced a new bookcase into my life if I wanted to buy them as books. Out here, of course, libraries aren't realistic although some do use the bookmobile if they are the kind who remember when it's coming-- which I am not...

I have an original NOOK and use it mostly for trips away from home, but I do take it in my purse most of the time to have it handy to read in case I'm stuck somewhere. Books are inexpensive on Barnes and Noble. I am thinking of buying an iPad just for the fun of it. But the Kindle Fire might be best because of the inexpensive books on Amazon.

Replying to others: Book publishers are resisting libraries use of free e-books. Several publishers, such as Simon and Schuster, won't publish ebooks at all. More free library e-books will not come soon, I'm afraid. In fact the opposite is likely to occur as publishers get more scared.

I had a Sony Reader back when they first came out. Liked it a lot, but then my new-at-the-time computer would not accept it, with the result that all of the books I had on the Sony went by the way.

Keeping up with the advances in technology gets costly, so that's one reason I haven't gotten another e-reader, although I would like one.

I have e-readers on my computer (such as Kindle and Nook for PC), but sitting and reading at the computer isn't the ideal way to read a book.

Besides, some books just have to be "real" books. You can't possess an e-book like you can a real book.

As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. At least at this point, we still have a choice between "real" and "ebooks."

After a couple of years hemming and hawing and generally thinking about it, I count a Nook Color last spring. There are a number of things I like about it. I like the space saving feature because I really can't get many more physical books without getting rid of some. I have reduced my library to the few I haven't read yet and the favorites I will very likely read again (and again, and again.) I do like the light weight and, since I am just in the middle of culling my collection of needlework magazines, I appreciate not having all that paper to get rid of. Most books are cheaper in the e-format but I have learned to be careful of that. I found a couple of cases where buying the physical book with my Barnes and Noble reader card would have been cheaper than the e-book. Also certain books (like craft books and cook books) work better as physical books because I frequently go back and forth in them. Like a couple of the earlier commenters I have to be careful because I can very easily over spend but then I could do that at the bookstore as well.

On the matter of the iPads and other tablets--the jury is out here. We bought our new MacBooks months before the first iPad release. We are pleased with the lap tops. When they die we may replace the with tablets but that will depend on what is available and how we think they might work with our activities. That is the key to any technology (high or low)--does it do what you need it to do and does it fit with your lifestyle. It took my three different PDAs to learn that paper and pencil was the appropriate technology for me.

My husband gave me an iPad for Christmas 2010. Although it took me a while to start using it, now I use it to read the latest books--ones I don't want to wait for--and sometimes to access the internet. When I'm reading in bed at night, I do find that it's heavy to hold after an hour or so.

However, I don't use the iPad for work. I have a laptop through my employer which is hooked to the company network (+ separate mouse and keyboard since I've never quite gotten the hang of rollerballs). I also have a personal desktop computer with a nice big screen, which is far and away my favorite!

Technology IS expensive and I'm sure I won't have as much of it once I'm no longer working P/T.

Call me Ned Ludd but I still read dead-tree books. I’m blessed with three libraries within walking distance and several more not too much further away.
And being even more Neddy, I still use a desk top computer to write most things (it also has a nice big screen) although I have a laptop for when it’s needed.

I was given a kindle for xmas, and so far I don't use it. I read mostly non-fiction and those kinds of books seem to be more expensive on the kindle, in some case even more expensive than paperback versions! Also, I live in Canada and kindle here does not allow me to read library books on it. The library is my major source of reading material. I know there is lots of free reading material for the kindle but so far I have not found anything I really want to read that is free.

It appears you hit a nerve with this post!

I'm a lover of books -- my house looks like the branch of our public library! I'm now very busy boxing up books to send to the small, impoverished library in my tiny hometown.

Meanwhile, after carrying paperbacks around with me for many years as they fit in my purse and my hands, I bought a Kindle a few months ago. Love it!

My son (the Webmaster) just borrowed it to read textbooks on new computer languages that are available for an e-reader on line. He saves a load of money that way! But I miss my Kindle!

Just found Kindle for PC online and downloaded it. Hopefully, I can upload the books I've bought recently from Amazon and haven't read yet -- because I can't get my Kindle back from my kid!!

By the way, there are quite a few free novels for Kindle on Amazon -- many of them by new or undiscovered authors -- that can be great fun to read. I usually buy the $.99-$2.99 ones. And if I want a specific book that isn't available on Kindle, I trundle off to my favorite local library! What a great combination. ;-)

I'm tapping this out on my HP mini net book, which we use when traveling. It hasn't given us an ounce of trouble so far.

Before leaving for Florida, I was considering buying a Kindle. They're cheaper in the USA.

But we bring at least 15 books for a 7 week vacation.

This time I went to a used book store and spent $20 on 15 good books.

Some were hard cover. Since we drove to F, we didn't mind taking heavy books.

So far $20 on 15 books.

Way cheaper than an e-book or Ipad.

We read all the heavy books first, and then pass them on to the next dweller of this condo.

The pocketbooks will go on to our next stop.

I will wait and see what e-books come out in the next 6 months.

Maybe I will get an e-book or Ipad, but for now, I'm good with the HP mini.

I read somewhere that publishers are going with smaller and smaller print because it means less paper and more profit. Which is fine for them, but not for me.

I read The Black Dahlia on my Kindle but the other books in the trilogy weren't available as an ebook. I went to the bookstore, found the books but could barely read what was on the page. James Elroy's other books will just have to wait.

I have an attention problem. I stopped reading for a long time because I just couldn't pay attention long enough to get through a book. I'm not sure why, but this doesn't happen as much on my Kindle. I feel a real sense of accomplishment making it through a page.

And, would you believe, I am allergic to the paper in books. Not new books, but after a while, they make me itch and sneeze. I used to volunteer at the library but cannot any more.

I've been reading books on my kindle for almost 4 years now. I have never missed paper books and frankly don't get the tactile, smelly feely thing people have with them. It's the story or information which counts to me, something I almost had to give up.

I don't have an e-reader yet but my husband does. I do prefer "real books" but can see the advantage of an e-reader when traveling. Hope wrote about audio books, can you listen to books on e-readers? I don't see anyway to do so on my husband's Kindle but he does have the basic one.

I was waiting until I could check out library books to get a kindle. I got a kindle touch in November, which is when they were introduced and about when libraries started lending kindle ebooks. I love it. I waited for the kindle because of the eInk. The back-lighting on the nook or tablets makes my eyes very tired and I would not enjoy reading a book on one.

Age 67. Have a kindle as part of my I-pad and love the whole package. Though I prefer "real" books to e-books, I buy the e-books when they're cheaper. They're more convenient for reading at night as I don't have to turn on a nightlight. Although I originally objected to having in i-pad (my super techie spouse already had one) I now literally go to bed with it! Before I go to sleep I play Words with Friends with friends with whom I normally have very little communication. If I wake up and can't sleep (happens more frequently now), I can reach over for the i-pad, check my e-mail, check the news, play another word on words with friends, or watch a documentary. And when waiting in the hospital (which has wi-fi) I can easily entertain myself doing all of the above. I take it to meetings at our UU fellowship and use it to look up needed information, like who's head of such and such a company so we can contact him? On long trips it's also awfully nice to have along, if you have an internet connection.
And, best of all, with the app "Facetime" on my i-pad, I can call my son and see my grandchildren right there as they have an i-pad too!

The Pew Research also says that only 30% of those aged 74 plus years are online, which helps explain why the increase in tablets in the 65 plus age has not increased more.

I am 83 years old, probably would not have purchased an iPad for myself, but my children gave me one for Christmas a year ago. I have always been a book lover and continue to purchase some that I want to keep.

However, now I would not give up my iPad, I use it in many ways. It is truly delightful when I am lying in bed at night reading and if the book ends. I go to Amazon and in seconds, I have another book!

Our small town library will soon have e-books available and will be able to download books free of charge.

The marvels of technology…

Ronni, I work on a computer all day and the last thing I want is to spend a lot more time reading a screen. I use the local library and read 1-2 books a week on average. They are free, easy on my eyes and I enjoy the visit to the library to browse the shelves for a new author or new book of a favorite author.


Well this post certainly unleashed a flood of very verbal responses - I have an ipad and it has been marvellous - I travel frequently by bus - 8 hours from my country home to city for grandmotherly duties and to catch up with friends - the ipad has eliminated having to drag 2/3 books plus laptop with me - it just fits into my handbag - on a recent trip I was able to email/check out Time Goes By/ watch a video/listen to music and read a book - all on this one small gadget - gotta say - some technology is just magic!

I bought a Kindle Fire over the weekend and am getting familiar with its capabilities. In addition to books and magazines, there is the ability to go on the web, and get e-mail or check up on something. The keyboard is small, but if rotated to landscape view it is large enough for comfort though I'd never type a blog post on it.

There are so many free books from Amazon that I doubt I'll ever buy one. The library keeps me well supplied with printed books or downloaded material to my laptop.

So far, the $200 for the full color Kindle Fire w/WiFi seems worth the cost.

BTW, I'm 62.

My nephew Ted,sent this Beautiful little film link to me. http://vimeo.com/35404908 For everyone who loves books!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory..... and it is up for an academy award! Go MoonBot!


I own a kindle and love it. I hate carrying heavy books and I love instant gratification. In other words, when I want a book, I love having it right there on the spot. Also, I was diagnosed with rather severe degenerative macula in one eye, and the other eye looks like it is going to follow suit. The fact that I can make the characters bigger is just great for me. So yes, I love my kindle and take it everywhere in my bag. I do read an occasional "real" book too. It's not that I don't like the feel of paper or am obsessed by gadgets (although I'll admit to being a gadget girl), but it is so convenient.

One thing I think some people have missed is that the Kindle doesn't have a standard screen. It uses something called e-paper which isn't backlit and so much easier on the eyes.

Traveling overseas or just a short trip to see my 90 year old dad, I carry my Kindle with me. Now I can decide what mood I'm in and read my book of choice. I'm 62 and a fiction reader primarily. My husband, who has a long train ride to work each day, has no interest in owning an E-reader. Is it because he's 13 years older, or because he's a non-fiction reader? I'm going to find out after reading your post's stats about elders and e-readers.

My husband and I both have Kindles. The idea was originally to share one. Since I could not get him away from reading on the Kindle, he bought me one for my birthday. We like them for all the reasons you mentioned above.

What can not be stressed enough is the tens of thousands of copyright free and cost free books out there that you can download onto your Kindle or other tablets. If you search MakeUseOf site you can find the sources of free e-books.

It is also possible to download online news articles or blog posts onto the Kindle automatically using the "send to kindle" app. This makes a Kindle part book library and part newspaper. I also listen to my audio books on it.

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