Seniors Catching E-Reader Wave and Reading E-Books (Printed Books Too)

Read a good e-book lately?

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project, there has been a significant rise in the number of adults reading e-books and owning e-readers. You are probably shaking your head right now saying…”I knew that”!

In fact, the study indicates one-fifth of American adults (21%) report that they have read an e-book in the past year. Actually, it is not just books that we are all reading. According to Pew “43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone.” There are four times more people of all ages reading e-books than two years ago.

Senior Loved Ones Part of the Trend?

I loved my e-reader from the moment I charged it up and loaded in the first book. I love to read and enjoyed the opportunity to have a good book at my fingertips whenever and wherever I wanted. My e-reader was one of the first made so it doesn’t have any special gadgets or cool apps on it. As I graduated to my tablet which does give me more bells and whistles but also holds all my favorite e-book titles, I have even more options when I am ready to read a good book.

I often pass my basic e-reader to my mother who is an avid reader and can read three books a week, constantly looking for the next new title. The e-reader is a perfect option for her as many titles she enjoys are obtained free or even on loan from the library. A two week due date is no problem for her.

Yes, I don’t often see that e-reader any more.

Reading Printed and E-Books

According to Pew researchers “88% of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books” and this is certainly true of both my mother and me. Sometimes it is helpful to have a print copy of a book, such as on an airplane when an electronic device is not allowed to be used and if someone shares a copy of a book they think I will like. More and more lately, people are sharing e-books with me more than print copies. The study found that the average reader of e-books has read 24 books in the past 12 months compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer. Accessibility is likely the key to the increase in number of books read. Those reading the most books in the study were over 65 years.

Many seniors who enjoy reading and have their entire lives are finding that it is more difficult to see the printed word. Large print books are not very available and the titles are limited. Tablets and e-readers are great because you can set the size of the words to whatever works for you. I need a larger font myself and appreciate that I can alter the settings to my needs.

The research indicates that 29% of Americans age 18 and older own at least one specialized device for e-book reading – either a tablet or a dedicated e-book reader. I wonder how large that number would be if the age of the participants was higher, say 50? I think we would see that the percentage of the population that age is probably the fastest growing segment of e-reader converts but that is just my non-scientific impression from those people I observe and with whom I interact.

There are many reasons people enjoy reading including learning something new, discovering a new piece of information, escaping into a good story and using your imagination, being excited by the drama or suspense of a good book, staying abreast of world and local news, being mentally and spiritually challenged, or just relaxing.

Who doesn’t want that experience for their senior loved ones? There are many different devices that can meet the need of your particular senior and we hope you will out check it the wide range of options available. It makes a great gift for any occasion – father’s day, birthday, or even un-birthday!

We hope your senior enjoys the world that opens up to them in a good book!

2 thoughts on “Seniors Catching E-Reader Wave and Reading E-Books (Printed Books Too)”

  1. Here’s a good thing to note for our loved ones – My Father-in-law loves to read and our families gave him an ipad to load books on. Unfortunately with his Parkinson’s the shaking doesn’t work well with the touch screen. He has gone back to a Kindle that has a pushbutton keyboard. I guess before making a purchase is find out what device works the best…

    Thanks for the gr8 article as always

    • Thanks, Leslie — a great point! So often we think about what we would want to use when we should be looking at the needs of those who will actually be using devices.

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