Technology Tips to Improve the Reading Experience
This list of reading technology tips is sponsored by The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden from KCP Loft.
New York Times bestselling authors Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden have teamed up for the first time to create a novel that’s gripping, terrifying and more relevant every day. The Hive follows seventeen-year-old Cassie, who, after being “condemned” on social media, is on the run from a deadly state-sanctioned mob seeking to exact IRL punishment. Aided by a shadowy underground network, Cassie becomes an unlikely heroine, as her search for the truth makes her a threat to the entire unjust system. The Hive is a breathless race through the day after tomorrow, where online and real life are blurred beyond recognition, and social media casts ever-darker shadows.
I’ve always been a voracious reader, but reading hasn’t always been a comfortable experience. I got headaches when reading, I would read the same sentence over and over, I would cry in frustration when I wrote something in the wrong column of a chart. I had vision problems my glasses couldn’t fix. Eventually, at 18, I was tested for a light sensitivity disorder.
This disorder affects many assets of my life. I can’t look at striped clothing without feeling dizzy. Black and white print ( like newsprint) looks swimmy to me. Graphs and charts are troublesome. However, with the help of research and some technology, I’ve been able to improve my reading habits and ease some of my stressors.
I do not actually have an ereader, but I have borrowed one before for long trips and enjoyed it. One thing that really helps me to be able to read with ease is a yellow-toned background instead of stark white (think used book yellow.) Most ereaders have the option to change the background color. If yellow doesn’t work for you, try the different options available on your ereader. If I’m reading at night, especially, I prefer to dim the backlight. Play around with font, size, and spacing to find a comfortable reading font.
Currently, I use the Kindle App on my phone, which is perfect for reading in waiting rooms, on your commute, or like I do, while drying my hair. Many public libraries have their own app to lend out ebooks and even magazines, either on their app or through Kindle. My library uses the Libby app and I love it!
Without audiobooks, I don’t think I would have met some of my favorite books. I love long books, but sometimes, I just can’t read them. I find it difficult to pay attention, especially if the font is tiny and the paper is pale. I often end up skimming large sections, then wondering what happened 200 pages later. Audiobooks allow me the chance to really absorb everything. Even listening to books I’ve read before, I find something new. Audiobooks may not be for everyone, but I absolutely love them. I can read while doing mundane chores, driving, walking my dogs, and more.
I prefer to borrow audiobooks through my local library, again through the Libby app. Doing it that way is a much quicker process than my old process, which involved burning the CDs and downloading onto my phone, 2–3 disks at a time. It was a mess. Now, I just select a book, or place one on hold, let it download and go!
Adapting My Work Space
Changing the settings on my computer made a huge difference for me, not only for reading posts and digital books, but for working as well. I can work longer, more comfortably. I keep the backlight of my computer fairly low as this is easier for me to read. Depending on your browser and computer, there may be either an extension or a setting you can use to change the background color. Clear, colored overlays can also be used over your computer screen and book pages for this purpose. Mac users, Dark Mode may be more comfortable for you to use. Keep the zoom at a comfortable size for you to read. Check the adaptability features on your computer or phone, as there may be features that can make reading and working a more pleasant experience for you.
My last tip is quite low-tech, but it has become popular lately. Blue light blocking glasses for computer work. How well they work on blocking harmful blue light, I’m not sure. All I know is I bought an inexpensive pair and I’ve stopped squinting so much while reading and typing. The slight yellow tint is enough to help with the squiggling words. Is it silly to wear “fake” glasses while also wearing contact lenses? Maybe. Do I care? No, because I can read and work on computers with relative ease.
I hope my tech tips have been helpful to you. Even if you don’t have trouble with reading, it’s important to take care of your eyes, so take reading breaks and make sure you have enough light to read by. Happy Reading!
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