Should you invest in an e-reader?

Written by Rachel Smith for Australian Seniors.

Whether you’re going on holiday, sitting in a doctor’s surgery or sinking into a warm bath, having a good book at the ready is essential. And if you’re yet to jump on the e-reader bandwagon, it might be time to do so.

Why? Well, these powerful gadgets have come of age – they’re smaller, lighter, offer incredible functions and are a game-changer for anyone who loves to read.

Should you get an e-reader?

Even diehard bibliophiles attached to the feel of a real book could be converted due to the paper display technology. “It’s the closest electronic experience to reading an actual book,” says Frank McCready, general manager – computers, IT and games at JB HiFi. 

“Also, because e-readers can offer up to 10 weeks’ of battery life, you could potentially charge it before a holiday and not have to do it again until you get home.

Some even have cellular options, which means if you’re in a caravan in the middle of nowhere but have a wi-fi hotspot enabled, you can download new books.”

And where weight really counts – like when you’re catching a plane – you can forgo lugging a pile of heavy paperbacks. Load them all onto a 200g e-reader instead. Read more flying tips for senior travellers.

Other e-reader benefits 

These devices are also very accessible. They’re ergonomic, letting you read for hours one-handed. You can enlarge the text to read without glasses. If your eyesight’s not the best, there are e-readers with built-in text-to- speech, an assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. And many are now compatible with audiobook platform, Audible. You can even opt for a waterproof e-reader – especially handy for the bath or pool.

“Ereaders are also backlit so you can read in bright sunlight – and they’re easier on the eye than reading on an iPad or your phone,” says Frank. “Tablets and phones have LED lights, whereas most e-readers have adjustable warm light, which means far less eyestrain.”

While dedicated e-readers are arguably the best choice if you do a lot of reading, there are a range of tablet and digital notepad options that also offer e-reading capabilities – along with other functions too. With a tablet you can do a multitude of other activities such as update your social media, browse the internet and watch videos, and the digital notepads let you take notes and annotate documents.

Pros and cons


Pros: Tablets do the lot; use them as an e-reader via an app, plus view books in colour (great for grandkids).

Cons: The LCD screen is far harder on your eyes than a dedicated e-reader, you can’t read them in direct sunlight and they’re not waterproof. 


Pros: E-readers use e-ink, a technology that makes reading for long periods easier than an LCD screen; plus they are lighter. Download free samples, read (limited) free books and access features like dictionaries.

Cons: In Australia, there are just two brands to choose from: Kindle and Kobo. 

Digital notepads / e-readers 

Pros: The wave of new digital notepads can double as an e-reader and are as close to paper (digitally) as you can get. 

Cons: They are pricey compared to e-readers. 

So, once you settle on an e-reader that you love, protect it! Consider keeping the things in your home covered with Seniors Contents Insurance. Choose your own level of cover and payment frequency, add optional extras, and even set your basic excess amount.