By Meredith Sheldon
E-books, Nooks and Kindles let you access books at the swipe of your fingers. With the advancement of technology, books are leaving the shelves and are shifting digital. Whether you are a traditional paperback junkie or a digital book lover, there are a wide variety of formats to get yourself reading. But, is there one that is best for reading?
No. Erin Phemester, the youth services senior manager for the Alachua County Library District, said there are perks to using all formats of books. It all depends on you. “The best style of book for reading comprehension is one that will actually be read,” she said. “If you prefer audiobooks or E-books and will finish a book in that format, that is the best format for you to read.”
Instead of searching for the right book in a store, you can easily find an electronic book with the tap of your finger. The biggest benefits to these books, Phemester said, are convenience and accessibility.
Electronic books are more accessible to people who might have some form of visual impairment as it allows them to increase font size and change background colors, Phemester said. These books are also interactive. Readers can also highlight words they do not understand, click on words they do not know how to pronounce to hear it spoken aloud and they can click on links throughout the story to connect to the web for more information.
While it is different than actually reading words off a paper, an audio book is a great way to keep you reading when you do not have time to sit and read a book. Audio books are great for travelers, busy parents or even family activities. Pop an audio book on your bluetooth while in the car driving to work or sitting in carpool. Phemester said it is also a great family activity. “Here at the Library District, we often see families selecting audiobooks for long car rides so that they can all listen to a great story together,” she said.
People with vision problems can also use audio books as a way to listen to books without any need for the written option, Phemester said. And audio books can also be a great accompaniment for readers with dyslexia.
We cannot forget traditional, paperback books. One of the best benefits to a physical book, Phemester said, is the experience. “As a parent, I enjoy the tactile experience of sharing physical books with my children,” she said. “There is still great joy in sharing a large picture book and turning the pages to discover where the story will take us next.”
If you have a hard time sleeping at night, a physical book may be your best friend. Reading from a screen right before bed can negatively affect your sleep patterns, according to a Harvard Medical School study. The light stimulus from the electronic book can affect your melatonin production interfering with your sleep cycle.
How to Find Your Fit
To find what format works best for you, Phemester said to visit your local library to try out all of the formats. Between audiobooks on CD and MP3, regular print, large print, paperback, hardback and electronic books, there are so many options to satisfy your reading needs.
Readers may find that they enjoy a variety of book formats to suit their various needs throughout the day, Phemester said. There is not one format that is best for everyone, and reading in multiple formats can actually help improve literacy and reading skills. “Reading in multiple formats helps them to learn the visual and auditory code of the written and spoken language,” she said. “For other readers, reading in multiple formats may be preference and we here at the library are happy to help fulfill this preference.”
Need help finding your fit? Visit your local library for advice and access to all of the reading resources you need.