Many avid readers love the sensory experience of reading a book, from the texture of the pages to the scent of pressed ink to the sound of closing the cover.
But books do have downsides. They can be cumbersome and even cause physical strain if arthritis affects your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders or neck. For these reasons, e-book readers, or e-readers, might be a great alternative.
We’ve highlighted some arthritis-friendly features to help you decide.
Lightweight. You can carry an entire library in your hand at a fraction of the weight of a single novel. Amazon’s newest Kindle (starting at $139, www.amazon.com) is a mere 8.5 ounces, and more than 725,000 books are available to purchase, with another 1.8 million out-of-copyright titles that are free.
Easy to use. Turn pages with the push of a button, or by swiping your finger across the screen on those with touchscreens, such as the Sony Reader (starting at $149, www.sonystyle.com) and Barnes and Nobles’ Nook Color ($249, www.barnesandnoble.com). Plus, there’s no spine to hold open, and most e-readers can be held with one hand or simply propped up, which reduces neck strain from looking down for a prolonged period.
Text-to-speech feature. A few e-readers, including the Kindle, have an option that “reads” the text aloud, so if you’re on the go or need to give your eyes a rest, your ears can tune in to your favorite tale – audiobook-style.
Large print option. If you have a visual impairment, you can easily make the font size larger or, on e-readers with touchscreens, zoom in on text with a few finger moves.
Interactive. Some e-readers, such as the Nook and Pandigital’s Novel, offer advanced features, including wireless Internet browsing, GPS navigation and built-in applications.