Reading on a Kindle is quite different from reading a paperback. Although a Kindle Paperwhite is my preferred mode of reading due to its convenience and its near replica feel to paper, there are certain things that an e-reader cannot replicate (yet). The intoxicating smell of paper (yes that is a fetish for some), the rustle of pages that interrupt an otherwise continuous silence, and the weight of the book in your hands.
But if you have bought an e-reader and are looking to make it your primary mode of reading, there are certainly some tweaks that can be used to enhance your reading experience on a Kindle.
Enter the Font-a-rama
If your e-reader gives you the option to choose fonts, don’t simply use the default font. Search about the various font sites online and select a font you find suitable for long periods of reading. I feel that serif fonts (the one with the squiggly bits and curls) are more suited to long form reading. This blog, for example, uses the Merriweather font for its main content. This is one of my favourite fonts because of its clean lines and elegant type. Da Font is one of my favourite sites to find free fonts that you can load on your e-reader. Some fonts that I prefer are Georgia, Bookerly and Merriweather.
Size does matter
One of the biggest advantage of an e-reader is the ability to change the font size. It is not only a boon for low accessibility users but it can play a major role in your focus and concentration depending on what the subject of your book is. I’ve found that having a bigger font size helps while reading books that are harder to understand. For books that are a breeze to read, like fiction, having a smaller font size works well enough to keep a steady rhythm without losing your place in the text.
Reading between the lines
Just like the font size, some e-readers give an option to adjust the margins and the line spacing. Adjusting these two settings also help a lot in keeping yourself focused on the text. Wide margins and spacing for harder texts. Narrow margins and spacing for easier to read books.
Everybody move to the left
Many e-readers also have the ability to align text differently. The left and the right alignment are understandable. I’m not sure what exactly is the use of providing the ability to centre-align text. Maybe for poetry? Although justified text is the common format in paperbacks, I do not recommend having the same setting on an e-reader. The reason for this is that paper books have been typeset for a particular font and size. If you have adjusted any of the settings explained above, the justified text formatting may not be the most optimum. There would be certain lines that are crammed with words while other lines would have but a handful. That jars the reading continuity. Turn on left alignment if available in your e-reader. It may not look as pretty but will be much better for your reading.
The light in the night
Kindle (and other e-readers) have a model that has an inbuilt light that serves two major purposes. One, when you turn it to the maximum in daylight, it is supposed to simulate the color of paper, thus giving a more natural feel to your reader. Secondly, it is designed to help you read in the night without having an ambient light turned on. This is useful for those reading in bed without disturbing anyone else in the room. Now I don’t have any qualms with the latter. But I feel that having a light turned on during daylight simply affects my reading. The backlight fades out the text a bit and makes it more uncomfortable to read. So I keep it off while reading in daylight. And I don’t particularly care about having a non-white paper feel to it.
Are we there yet?
Before the advent of e-readers, the only way to know how many pages were left in a chapter or a book was to just peek a few pages down and check. E-readers often have a notification that shows your how much time is left in the current chapter or book. This helps in pacing your reading just so that you can push yourself to read a few pages more (nudge nudge wink wink). At other times, it is just a distraction. Use it or turn it off as per your preference.
Hope these tips help you improve the way you read on your favourite e-reader. Let me know if these helped you or if you have any tips of your own on how to enhance the Kindle reading experience.