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Five Reasons to Pick Up an E-book Reader

We list the advantages of electronic book readers over paper books

En Español | Whether you spend time in your favorite coffee shop, in airports or on public transit, you no doubt have seen a good number of people flipping through digital pages on an electronic book reader or touch-screen tablet.

Despite their popularity, you can't help thinking "that's not for me" as you clutch a new paperback or hardcover under your arm. And perhaps your kids or grandkids have also suggested an e-book reader to you, but you brush off the trend as something limited to tech-savvy folks.

Sound familiar?

You're not alone, nor are e-book readers for everyone, of course. But perhaps you're not exactly sure of the benefits of one over traditional books.

See Also: Which tablet is right for me?

Before we dive into five advantages e-book readers offer book lovers, keep in mind a tablet, such as an iPad, also makes an ideal e-book reader — but they can do so much more, hence the $400- or $500-odd price tag. Tablets, which often have a color and glossy screen, are also built for reading email, browsing the Web, playing games, listening to music and watching video. Less pricey e-book readers — usually between $100 and $150 — have an anti-glare, black and white screen (ideal for reading in direct sunlight) and are primarily designed for reading e-books and other material.

Perhaps it's also confusing that some companies offer both a tablet and a dedicated e-book reader, with Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble as key examples.

OK, so if you need further convincing on why to pick up an e-book reader for yourself or a loved one, consider the following five compelling advantages over its paper counterpart.

E-book readers have many advantages for older adults including different font sizes and portability-a man holds an e-reader at the Frankfurt book fair

E-book readers have many advantages for older adults including different font sizes and portability. — Photo by EPA/Frank Rumpenhorst/Corbis

1. Size Matters

E-book readers are smaller, thinner and lighter than most paperback books, yet they can hold many hundreds — or even thousands — of titles at a time. Having so much material at your fingertips, wherever life takes you, is incredibly convenient. This is especially true for travelers who'd like to switch between e-books, digital newspapers and magazines on one device. Personally speaking, I also keep a half-dozen free classics on my e-book reader for whenever I'm in the mood for them, be it Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or Dracula by Bram Stoker.


Next: More reasons to get an e-reader. >>

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