Summer time and now reading is even easier

JK Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter series of books once said “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” That's good advice from someone who has sold millions of books. But what about people who'd love to be able to read but haven't found 'the right way to read the right book'? 

They might have conditions such as dyslexia or ADHD, or have had a stroke and can't hold a book in the way they once could. Technology can allow you to experience the joy of reading, even if it's not following the conventional way you 'read' the book. 

Read anywhere with an e-book

Amazon Kindle with coffee cup and chocolatesYou can read books anywhere; on your commute, on your lunch hour or even on the beach. There are many different ways to enjoy a book; you could pop into your local bookshop and buy a book in print or if you have a smartphone or tablet you could use one of the many different e-book apps to read the latest thrillers or biographies (along with the usual classic titles).  

If you are visually impaired you could connect to the EasyReader software. There are some readers who have dedicated e-book readers such as the Nook - I'm one of them! 

It is interesting to look at how popular e-books are as opposed to physical books. Earlier this decade e-books were more popular than printed books,  but now it seems to be the other way round, with paperback book sales outperforming digital titles. I must admit that I'm currently reading an e-book but my home is full of physical books and in my spare time I can be found in charity shops looking for (more) second-hand books.

Reading on your smartphone

To me, both ways of reading are pretty useful. Of course, because the smartphone is now so small we don't think twice about popping it into our pockets whereas a book, especially a many-paged book, can be quite heavy. Smartphones have changed the way that we read just as they've changed the way we stream music.

If you have an Amazon Echo device you can have books read aloud to you through technology accessed via the Kindle store and now there is a technology called WhisperSynch which will start reading exactly from where you finished off reading the last time. Let's face it, there's nothing quite as annoying as not being able to find exactly where in a book you finished listening up to last time, is there?  Currently Echo devices will also read Audible books, but not books from the Overdrive store.

Ask Alexa

Oh and if you are lucky enough to have an Echo you could always ask Alexa what books she'd suggest and she will come back to you with some recommendations. More and more skills relating to books are appearing on the Alexa skills list all of the time. If you have a Google Home device you aren't left out either - you can download books via the Play Books store on your Android phone. 

So as we've seen, you can now read on a number of different devices. Whether you're off on holiday or having a staycation or just reading on the way home from work - you've now got even more ways of escaping into a good book!

How can we help?

AbilityNet helps disabled people use computers and the internet at work, at home and in education. There are a few ways that we can help:

  • Call our free helpline on 0800 269 545 - our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. Our free helpline is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
  • Arrange a home visit - we have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone/remotely.
  • Download our factsheets - these share in detail the many ways technology might be able to help you, and can be downloaded for free. 
  • Use My Computer My Way - this shares hints and tips that you can use to make your time on the computer that bit easier.