By Kathy Cooper
Are you ready to start eBook-reading or are you holding out? Do you simply like the experience of reading a “real” book, holding it in your hands, marking it up, turning the pages … maybe even prefer hardback books? I read an article this week that says the ebook readers are better for those of us who are Baby Boomers and older. They are easier on your eyes, believe it or not, according to some recent studies.
I have to admit, however, that I have been slow to adopt the iPad for reading novels although I consider myself moderately tech-savvy. In a previous career, pre-Cooper & Adel, I was deeply involved in technology. Today, I am involved with technology in our firm but I also spend a lot of personal time thinking about, reading about and generally messing around with the internet, my iPad and my iPhone.
I have been reading news articles and short subjects on my iPad for some time now. Pleasure reading was my last hold-out, like many of you. What are the benefits of e-reading? There are several:
You can decide the size of the font. I find it easier these days to have a little larger font.
You can choose the background color. That may sound strange, but contrast makes it easier to read as your eyes age. Also, the background color can help you read easier in all kinds of lighting conditions.
It's easy to get definitions. Thom and I always had a huge dictionary, and sometimes an atlas, close by to look up words while we read. Today, we just tap-tap and the definition is there along with the ability to jump to the internet to answer a question or look at a map.
Then there is the obvious benefit of reducing the “stuff” we all have. I love books, but I have a lot that I have not picked up for several years. They have become part of the “stuff” that I am slowly giving up to Goodwill or to my hardback book lovers as I try to lighten my load. eBooks sit on a virtual shelf. When you are ready to read them, you download them. When you're done, you click delete. No stuff.
Oh, and you don't have to give up your notes. Thom has always written all over any book he reads. This is part of the reason we each have copies of our favorites – I don't. However, eReaders allow you to add notes, highlight and even see what others have noted or highlighted. Now, this I have found helpful. If I later want to look back on a particular passage that I marked, it's easy with an eBook.
Finally, eBooks are just lighter when you travel. Thom tends to read 2 or 3 books at the same time. I am not a multi-tasker in this regard. I start a book, at least novels, and I read from page one to the end, straight through. Ebooks accommodate both our styles, no matter where we are in the world.
It is interesting that the study I mentioned previously found that older folks have less eye strain and read faster (not a benefit in my opinion, necessarily) on eBooks than real books. However, many these same folks described the experience as “harder” even though they told abut the benefits. But you know, eBooks are here to stay and paper may not always be an alternative. It's probably time to give them a try. You might find that it is worthwhile.
I think this is how we all are when we are forced to consider a new way of approaching a task or problem in our lives. It's easier to just keep doing it the way we have always done it. It's easier to avoid hard discussions about life issues, to postpone that trip to the attorney's office to get our ducks in a row. The problems will come to you, in some form or another, so it's better get your planning done BEFORE you have a crisis. So my message: Get your planning done and think about reading about on your eBook – give it a try!
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