The 8 Best E-Readers to Buy for Seniors in 2017

With large fonts and simplified menus, these e-readers are perfect for seniors

While there’s always a time and place for paperback or hardcover books, e-readers have stolen the limelight with their fast downloads and ability to store thousands of titles in a slim package. Whether you’re looking for the latest James Patterson thriller, a romance novel or an autobiography of your favorite star, there’s no better way to store everything than an e-reader. With large fonts and simplified menus, seniors will love the lengthy battery life and ease-of-use. Here’s our list of some of the best e-readers for seniors to consider.

Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is the latest in the company’s line of wildly successful e-reader products. Available in both black and white, the Paperwhite offers a beautiful 300 pixel-per-inch (PPI) e-ink display that’s clear and easy to decipher. Seniors will take special note of the ability to increase (and decrease) font size to assist while reading and the lack of glare on the display directly in sunlight with the e-ink screen that reads like paper.

At just 7.2 ounces in weight, the Paperwhite is easily held in one hand and its six-inch display is more than large enough to read dozens of words on a page, no matter what font size you select. With battery life that can last up to six weeks on a single charge and a display light that won’t fatigue your eyes in the dark, the Paperwhite is an outstanding e-reader choice for seniors.

While Onyx may be a name that doesn’t offer the same recognition as Amazon’s Kindle line in the U.S., the BOOX N96 e-reader offers a whopping 9.7-inch e-ink display. For seniors, this easily equates to larger fonts and more reading done on a single screen. Beyond reading various e-book formats, the N96 has the capability to hold audiobooks as well since it comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack. The N96 takes things up another notch with the inclusion of some Android-specific features, including an email app, photo gallery, clock, calendar and Internet browser that might not be as functional in black and white, but it’s a nice addition regardless. The N96 also includes a stylus for writing directly on the screen for taking notes while reading or for use with other apps downloaded directly from Google's Play Store. With battery life that can last for weeks without a recharge, the N96 might be small on name recognition, but it’s big on both display size and features.

The least expensive Amazon Kindle, properly known as the Kindle, removes the display light that assists with reading in the dark, which leaves a bedside lamp necessary for nighttime reading. Fortunately, daytime reading is just as easy as ever with a no-glare screen that works perfectly even in direct sunlight.

The six-inch display pairs with sharp, dark on-screen text that reads exactly like a newspaper and reduces eye-strain, which is ideal for an older community that might already be suffering from reduced vision. Furthermore, the Kindle can store thousands of books with the ability to download new books in under 60 seconds wirelessly through its on-board WiFi capability.

The crème-de-la-crème of Amazon’s current Kindle lineup, the Kindle Oasis is a six-inch e-reader with a high-resolution display, WiFi and a fresh design. The big price tag is courtesy of a truly thin design measuring a nominal 3.4 millimeters at its thinnest point while still offering physical page turn buttons. While that alone isn't enough to justify the price tag, the inclusion of a battery cover that can extend the total battery life of the Oasis to more than two months on a single charge might convince your wallet. For seniors who might forget to charge monthly, this is without question a beneficial addition. With more than 4GB of onboard storage, there’s enough room for thousands of books and they all can be read through a varied set of font sizes and types to find which works best with a diverse degree of eyesight.

Kobo’s Aura H20 waterproof e-reader is another great e-reader choice and with a 6.8-inch display, there’s extra real estate for larger fonts and easier senior reading. The Kobo itself is IP67 compliant, meaning it can stand be in the water  (one meter deep) for up to 30 minutes. The front-mounted lights will make nighttime and daytime reading a snap and still protect against eye fatigue. Purchasing books from a computer, loading up from a local library or purchasing directly from Barnes & Noble offers a library size that rivals Amazon’s own Kindle e-book offering.

Both ad-free and waterproof, the real highlight of the Barnes & Noble NOOK Glowlight Plus e-reader is the six weeks of battery life on a single charge. Paired with a 300 pixel-per-inch display and glare-free screen even in direct sunlight, the GlowLight Plus is the pinnacle of Barnes & Noble’s e-reader experience that has long competed against the Kindle giant. First released in 2015, the aluminum-based, 6.9-ounce GlowLight Plus is more than light enough for one-handed reading. Unlike Amazon’s plastic build, the aluminum material can be a little slippery, but that’s OK since this waterproof device can survive a quick swim in a pool, ocean or bathtub. Turning on the light for nighttime reading is easily done by holding the “n” button on the bottom of the device, making it ideal for seniors to read in the evening. Capable of holding thousands of books, loading can be directly from the device, a computer or inside one of Barnes & Nobles brick-and-mortar locations.

For e-reader lovers who want something with a little more behind the proverbial wheel, the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet is the right choice. More tablet than e-reader, the Fire HD provides all the benefits of a dedicated Kindle with storage for thousands of available books and a large display for reading in any font size. The Fire HD diverges from dedicated e-readers with just 12 hours of mixed-use battery life and a color display that doesn’t offer the same benefits of reducing eye fatigue as e-ink e-readers.

One divergence that seniors will love from Amazon’s Kindle lineup is the addition of Mayday customer support that links directly to a customer service agent who can walk you through your tablet’s features directly on the device itself. That benefit is an Amazon exclusive and a truly exciting customer service feature, especially for first-time buyers. If full tablet capabilities are desired alongside 90 percent of the perks of a dedicated e-reader, the Fire HD is a great option.

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