But keeping yourself in books, especially if you're an avid reader, can be difficult these days. As with most other costs, book prices have increased steadily over the years. You might pay $15 or more for a single paperback today.
Plus, if you've downsized during retirement or moved into an assisted living community such as Hickory Villa, you may not have room in your home for a large library of physical books. That's where e-readers and digital books come in. With the right device, you can maximize your access to books while reducing the cost and space required for all your literature.
An e-reader is a device designed for reading digital books. Kindles are the most popular type of e-reader — to the point that some people call all e-readers Kindles in the same way people call all tissues Kleenex. Barnes & Noble also offers an e-reader called the Nook.
Yes, you can read e-books on almost any digital device, including smartphones, computers and tablets. Many people read on their iPad or other tablet, for example.
One benefit of choosing a dedicated e-reader designed only for reading books is that they don't tend to come with a backlit screen like other digital devices. They're designed to mimic the experience of reading from a paper page. This can help reduce eye fatigue and other issues, especially if you read frequently.
These types of e-readers also don't have all the apps and other functions that phones or computers do. That may make it easier to concentrate on what you're reading by minimizing distractions and interruptions.
Amazon's basic e-reader is the Kindle. You can get one with 16GB of storage and a front light for around $100. The battery on this device can last for weeks before you need to charge it, and you can fit dozens or more books on it.
For a bit more, you can get the Kindle Paperwhite. It has a slightly larger screen and a few bells and whistles the basic Kindle doesn't.
You can also explore a wide range of Kindle products that offer other functionality, including backlit screen tablets that provide full access to the internet, email, videos and mobile games.
Once you decide which device is best for you, it's time to fill it with digital books. You can simply buy e-books from the online retailer of your choice. But you can also use some of the tips below to reduce the cost.
You can sign up for BookBub to get regular emails about e-book deals. You tell BookBub your device and reading preferences, including which genres you read. It then sends regular emails with lists of free and low-cost e-books you might be interested in. The list often includes e-books for $1, $2 and $3 on top of free options, and you might even score popular books from best-selling authors for only a dollar or two.
If you have a Kindle, you can read constantly for less than $12 a month via the Kindle Unlimited plan. You can test out the plan via a free trial or a low-cost trial before the cost reverts to $11.99 per month.
When you have Kindle Unlimited, which many people call KU, you can check out any book in the KU program without paying for it. You can have 20 Kindle Unlimited books downloaded at any one time. When you return a book, it frees up that slot for another book, so you can read hundreds of books this way.
The only limitation is that the author or publisher must enroll their book in Kindle Unlimited for it to qualify. However, there are tens of thousands of books to choose from.
Finally, you can also download e-books from your local library or other public libraries across the nation. To do this, you'll typically need a library card in good standing with the library system in question. You may also need to sign up for an app or program, such as OverDrive or Libby. You manage your e-book borrowings through these apps.
The Omaha, NE, public library offers links to a number of reading and book resources, including Libby, to help you get started with filling your e-reader this way.
When you're equipped with an e-reader filled with digital books, you always have an option to dive into a great story or learn something in a nonfiction book. And because e-readers are small, light and portable, they make it easy to bring your library with you to doctor's appointments or when you travel.