Easy to Read books are mainly connected with paper books, but how do Easy e-books function? Do they offer the same reading experience? What are the challenges for the reader? What kind of new possibilities can digital books offer?
The question about paper book versus e-book is mostly a matter of taste, yet for weak or unfamiliar readers it might be difficult to decide.
Paper book or e-book?
A paper book feels differently than an e-book, but in an e-book the reader can enlarge the text to the desired size. It is easy to turn over the pages in a paper book and quickly see how long the chapters are. In an e-book the reader must click back and forth to grasp the length of the chapters.
For a person who mostly reads on the Internet, an e-book may be the first step to read a whole book. Pedagogical Easy to Read books have been available as e-books since 2016. Experience during the past years show that e-books create the same emotional reactions and reading experiences as paper books. Depending on previous skills and technology, some time for practice might be required, but also readers unaccustomed to paper books need time to adapt to them.
Bokpil has decided to make Easy e-books mainly in PDF format. Other formats are not as useful for Easy to Read texts. In PDF format the short lines, line distances and breaks, font and other important elements that make the text easy to read are kept intact. The page looks like the one in a printed Easy to Read book with much white space. In formats like EPUB these specific Easy to Read characteristics are lost.
Digital books offer new possibilities such as links, extra information, word explanations and multimedia. These extras can however disturb the reading process and the concentration is channelled away from the text. If the extra materials and tasks are published at the end of the chapter or separately from the text, the reader has the possibility to improve both reading skills and text understanding.
Books: Villa Bokpil
Materials and tasks: Edu Bokpil
The project LäsLätt (‘ReadEasy’) 2020 for increasing and distributing information about Easy to Read is realised by Bokpil and Colorit ry.rf. and supported by The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.