Older Folks Love the Kindle

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Older folks love their Kindles. Yes, they do.

Last week, Kindle Culture crunched the numbers from an Amazon forum thread called Average Kindle Owner's Age, and determined that the unscientific poll showed that around 70% of Kindle users are over 40. Half are over 50.
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The blogosphere as a whole was astonished. People over 50 buy gadgets? Use gadgets? LIKE gadgets? Many speculated that the results are due to the fact that older people can afford Kindles better than young people. And they tend to read more books. Some didn't even believe the results, since it wasn't exactly a scientific poll.
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Some figured out the real reason. Or learned from what older people actually said.

First, presbyopia. It literally means "old eyes." It can take many forms, with the most common symptom being trouble reading small print. First you get bifocals, then you get books with larger print. And that brings us to the second reason, arthritis. Large print books are, well, large. And heavy. Even normal-size books can be tiring when you feel pain turning page after page. The Kindle has adjustable text size that doesn't add any weight to the unit, which is pretty light (10 ounces) compared to most hardback books. And you don't have to turn pages.

Even when the Kindle was first introduced, the adjustable text feature was supposedly for different "preferences".

Kindle has six adjustable font sizes to suit customers' varying reading preferences.

Was it possible that even Amazon didn't see how useful this would be to someone suffering from arthritis or presbyopia? The adjustable text feature and the Kindle's light weight together can make the difference between reading and not reading for someone my age or older.

Mother's Day is this Sunday. If your mother or grandmother has given up reading for pleasure because of arthritis or failing eyesight, a Kindle might bring back the joy she's been missing. Even if it is expensive.

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May 4, 2009 - 4:09am
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