How to Remain an Avid Reader & Book Lover
If you are a bibliophile as I am, you know there is more to reading a printed book than following the words. There's the feel of it, how it looks on your shelf with other books, and even the smell of it. One thing I often hear from people who are recently diagnosed with macular degeneration is, "I hope I can continue to read!" where reading means holding a printed book in their hands. Many people can, but it depends on the level of central vision impairment. When printed pages become too difficult to read, there are alternatives to access what's in them.
In this article, I'm referring to books, but many of the same options are available for other printed materials such as magazines and newspapers.
Some people, especially in the early stages of macular degeneration, notice a need for better lighting. You might try sitting near a window, try different types of or higher wattage bulbs, or find a desk or floor lamp that you can focus on the printed page.
There are many types of magnifiers that may help. My advice is that if you are going to buy a magnifier for reading, make sure it's a lighted one. Of course, there are handheld lighted magnifiers, but many people find that it's tiring to use them. Instead, you might look for a lighted magnifier for the desk, for the floor, or to put on the page itself. If you’re going to buy a magnifier, I’d recommend making sure that you have the ability to return it for free so that you to avoid extra charges if it’s not the one for you.
There are other magnifier options such as ones you can wear on your head. To find ones that you wear on your head, you might search for 'lighted magnifier hands-free.' If you search 'magnifiers for reading,' you will get articles as well as examples of products.
You can find large print books wherever you find books in stores or online. The standard size is at least 18 points, but there are other sizes as well. Other things to look for are whether the spacing between words, the spacing between lines, and the layout of the pages work for you.
There are many sources of large print books. You may have noticed by now that I love to do searches! You might try a search for 'where can I get large print books.'
Free loans of large print books
One of the issues with large print books is that they are often more expensive than regular print books.
You might check with your local public library to see if they have a collection of large print books that you can borrow.
In the US, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped offers free loans of large print books and other materials through a network of libraries. If you qualify, there are 2 ways to receive and return the books: 1) if there is one of these libraries close to you, you can pick up and return the books there; 2) large print books can be received and returned by postage-free mail.
Used large print books
There are many places you can find used books including large print ones:
- Used book stores near you. You might search for 'used book stores near me'
- ThriftBooks online store
- Online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AbeBooks. Did you know that in addition to new books that they sell, often you can find used copies at a lower price?
- Book sales at your local library
- You might search for 'borrow large print books'
Love of books
I said I was a biliophile which literally means a lover (phile) of books (biblio). You may be one, too, if you love the smell and look of a used book store, if you have a small (or large) library in your home or wish you had one, or if you have a line item for books in your budget.
I hope that better lighting, lighted magnifiers, and large print books allow you to not only read more easily but also to maintain your status as a bibliophile.
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