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How do you like to read your books?

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“Books are a uniquely portable magic”, said Stephen King in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Nothing quite opens up your mind and fires your imagination as a good book. If you have grown up reading books or are just starting out, there is a plethora of reading options today. Whether you buy books from a bookstore or Amazon, rent out physical books from your local library or read them on a mobile device, there’s never been a better moment to read as much as you can. There is even an app, aptly named Spritz, which will help you read at the rate of 600 words per minute! You can actually finish a book in 90 minutes flat, but where’s the fun in that?

Printed Books

Ever since the advent of e-readers and tablets, people have been predicting the death of the printed book. Thankfully these ‘doomsday’ prophecies haven’t come true. Sure, there has been a drop in the number of physical, printed books being bought. BBC reported that at the end of 2013, there was a 6.5% drop in sales of printed books in the UK. Yet, the experience of a good, old-fashioned book cannot be rivalled, especially that comforting smell of paper. A book is certainly easier on the eye than an e-reader or a tablet. Its appeal transcends all ages. You don’t need to buy an expensive device to read your favourite book and the best part of all – no need for an assortment of wires and adapters to charge batteries!

E-Readers & Tablets

Having said that, have you tried lugging heavy books on your travels? Or have run out of storage space at home to keep more books? That’s where the e-reader or tablet comes to the rescue. The biggest plus point of e-readers such as Kindle and Nook is that you can carry a whole library of books along with you, without having to pay extra luggage fees. No more waiting around for a book to be shipped, just pay and the e-books are delivered right to your reader. Since there are no printing costs involved, e-books are also cheaper so you can use the saved money to buy more books! Another advantage is that you can adjust the font size as per your requirement; you no longer need to squint over books written in a small typeface. Since e-readers and tablets are backlit, you can read peacefully in the dark without disturbing your partner.

If you’re wondering whether to invest in a tablet or just buy an e-reader, first figure out your requirement. If you’re primarily interested in buying and reading books, an e-reader makes more sense. It’s cheaper, smaller and lighter than a tablet. The battery life is also better, lasting for a month or two (depending on usage). However, if you’re looking for more functionality and apps, go ahead and buy a tablet – the super-popular iPad or Kindle Fire or the many Windows and Android devices in the market.

Take a Break

Protect your eyes from straining while you read, whether it’s a physical book, an e-reader or a tablet. Make sure that you have adequate light; ideally it should come from behind you and over your left shoulder. Take frequent breaks and blink your eyes several times before returning to your reading. Better yet, get up and take a walk around the room (or the block). Take a nap if you’re too tired and after a particularly marathon session of reading, treat your eyes to a cold compress.

Remember to get your vision tested at regular intervals. Book an eye test online with Leightons Opticians, which takes no more than 30 minutes. Our qualified optometrist will assess your eyesight as well as your ocular health. If you need prescription glasses, we will guide you in choosing the frames and lenses that suit your lifestyle best.

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