What e-book reader would be best for an older adult with macular degeneration, requiring large type?
December 12, 2010 1:12 PM   Subscribe

What e-book reader would be best for an older adult with macular degeneration, requiring large type?

I have plenty of ideas actually but they are all pretty expensive so I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something.
posted by chesty_a_arthur to Technology (12 answers total)
Not the Sony Daily Edition - I, for the life of me, can't figure out how to change font size.
posted by bibliogrrl at 1:15 PM on December 12, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry that this question is a grammatical mess, by the way.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:21 PM on December 12, 2010

The kindle allows a pretty wide size selection and the wifi one is only $139. I have the DX which is bigger and more expensive but like it a lot (though my boyfriend's wifi kindle is faster and has better resolution and the text size selection). If not being able to (simply) use ePub books isn't a concern it doesn't seem a bad option - kindle doesn't really support the ebook type that most libraries use for their ebook collections).
posted by R343L at 1:25 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

I know this does not answer your question, but have you thought of audio books? That is what I get for a relative who has macular degeneration. Less strain on the eyes and you can get good deals on audible.com. The library also has plenty of audio books available. You can listen to them with a CD player (easy to use for an older person) or an iPhone/iPod.
posted by serunding at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2010

I think the ipad / ipod touch has a accessibility option that reads out ebooks for you. Combined with audible...
posted by stratastar at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2010

There are lots of great articles that talk about how super accesible the ipad is. D give that a look. It had reader apps from amazon and indigo (Kindle and Kobo), plus iBooks, Stanza, etc.
posted by chunking express at 1:54 PM on December 12, 2010

If you find, as I do, that a reflective screen causes less eyestrain than a backlit one when you're reading a book, then an e-ink reader like the Kindle is the best choice. You can choose from a variety of font sizes on the Kindle, but if you maximize the size, you'll be turning the page every ten or fifteen seconds, an annoyance. If I wanted to read books in large type, I'd go for the larger Kindle DX.
posted by markcmyers at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2010

I recently bought my 80 year old grandmother a Kindle because (1) she was having a hard time finding the books that she wanted in large-print and (2) she was having difficulty lugging around large-print books anyway. She has very poor vision, but the Kindle on the 2nd largest type setting works fine for her. She loves it. We tried out a Nook, too, but it was much harder for her to navigate than the Kindle. If she gets lost, she knows that all she has to do is press the "Home" button and she's back to her book list. I linked her Kindle to my account so I could add books to it easily from my home. All she has to do is call me and tell me what she wants. It's really worked out great.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:45 PM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

The Nook does large text just fine. There are five text sizes to choose from. In fact, I've found that I keep most books on the extra small setting, because even medium text is quite large. The extra large setting is almost absurdly huge, and will fit only about 15-20 words on the whole screen. So there should be no visibility problem. I got my nook for about $150, and that was in summer. It's a price war between all the makers, so prices are dropping fast.

One thing to note is sometimes the reader isn't so much a factor as how the ebook file was formatted. Some files are ineptly put together and the font size can vary, even within the book. Try to get epub files, and avoid pdfs.
posted by zardoz at 4:02 PM on December 12, 2010

The Kindle DX is the way to go. It can display a whole bunch of of font sizes on a large screen, is very easy to get books for, a wide selection of books, fairly durable, lots of accessories for, a long battery life, not too heavy. The other readers are mostly smaller or way more expensive. A small screen is a huge pain when you have a large font size.
posted by bartonlong at 5:38 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

My 72-year old mother started experiencing macular degeneration last winter. She went and tried out a Nook and a Sony e-reader (not sure which one), and couldn't read with either because the contrast was too low. She was very disappointed, but decided to wait until the iPad came out. That has been perfect for her because of the backlit screen. She uses other apps (Instapaper, Netflix etc.) as well as e-books on it. It has a lot of accessibility options in addition to large text. Really the iPad is all she talks about these days it seems. It's changed her life.

Not the cheapest, I know, but I wanted to let you know that e-ink readers were unusable to her.
posted by bwanabetty at 7:33 AM on December 13, 2010

My legally blind coworker loves his kindle.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:27 AM on February 10, 2011

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