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Technology Books for Seniors

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Computers aren’t just for kids anymore. More and more seniors are turning to computers and other technology for both work and play, and they need help figuring out how to do what they want to do. To that end, Que has published a variety of technology books of interest to older users. In this article, Michael Miller previews these books for seniors — and recommends specific books for specific users.
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If you’re an older computer user, you might find all the new technology somewhat confusing. (Heck, younger users find some of it challenging, too.) There are lots of resources out there to help you learn the new technology, but not all of it is geared towards the way seniors actually use computers. It’s true; those us over 55 use technology in a much different way than our children or grandchildren do.

When you want to learn more about computers, find the solution to a vexing technology issue, or just discover what you can do with your new hardware and software, the solution is as near as your local bookstore — or online bookstore, if you’re comfortable shopping on the Internet. Que Publishing has a variety of books targeted specifically at seniors — any of which will help you get going quickly with today’s technology.

What makes me an expert on these books for seniors? Well, I do qualify for AARP membership, if that matters. More important, I wrote a lot of these books — so I’m familiar with how seniors use technology, and the issues they face. So read on to learn about my favorite Que books for older readers. There’s a few of them!

My Series... For Seniors

The most obviously useful books for seniors are those in Que’s My... For Seniors series. These are books written specifically for older users, from the first word to the last screenshot. These books not only cover topics of interest to seniors, but also feature larger type and big full-color pictures, so you don’t have to strain your eyes reading them.

The My... For Seniors series covers the most popular technology topics among older users — Windows, Facebook, and the iPad. Each book covers only the most important tasks, so you don’t drown in unnecessary technology overload. The focus is on how seniors use the technology – for example, using Facebook to share photos with your grandkids, or using Internet Explorer to search for seniors-specific websites and information. Just as important, each task is approached in a step-by-step fashion, using plain English and lots of four-color screenshots and illustrations. They’re the perfect books for seniors who need to use the technology but don’t want to learn all the techie details.

There are currently three books in Que’s My… For Seniors series, with more to come. I’ve written two of these books — My Windows 8.1 Computer for Seniors and My Facebook for Seniors. I may be biased (okay, I am biased), but I think these books are perfect for older users who don’t need to become tech experts but do want to use Windows and Facebook to perform essential tasks. My Windows 8.1 Computer for Seniors shows you how to use the Windows 8.1 operating system for work and play, and also covers computer basics — how to choose and set up a new PC. My Facebook for Seniors is all about using that popular social network to keep in touch with family and friends, without giving up too much of your hard-earned privacy.

The third book in the series is My iPad for Seniors, written by Gary Rosenzweig and Gary Eugene Jones. A surprisingly large number of seniors are using tablets instead of or in addition to traditional PCs; if you’re an iPad users, this is the book for you. It covers iOS 7 on the iPad 2 and third and fourth generation iPads, as well as the iPad mini. You’ll learn how your iPad works, how to find the best apps for seniors, and how to use your iPad to communicate with friends and family. It’s a keeper.

In addition to the For Seniors books in the My series, there are lots of other My books that cover topics of interest to seniors in a user-friendly, visual fashion. While they may not be seniors-specific in their coverage or approach, seniors should still find them useful for what they want to do.

I find the following My series books to be of particular interest to older users:

My Windows 8.1 (written by Katherine Murray)

My Google Chromebook, Second Edition (written by yours truly)

My Pinterest (also written by yours truly)

My Samsung Galaxy Note II (written by Craig James Johnston and Guy Hart-Davis)

My iPhone (written by Brad Miser)

My iPad (written by Gary Rosenzweig)

My iPad mini (also written by Gary Rosenzweig)

My MacBook (covers OS X Mavericks) (written by John Ray)

My Samsung Galaxy S 4 (written by Steve Schwartz)

My Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (written by Eric Butow and Lonzell Washington

Easy Series

Older readers tend to like a visual approach to topics — which is just what you get in Que’s long-running Easy series. The Easy series was one of the first four-color, visual series on the market, and it’s achieved remarkable acclaim over the years. I’ve been a fan of this series from when I wrote one of the very first Easy books (Easy Internet, long out-of-print) almost two decades ago.

What you see when you open an Easy book is a series of two-page spreads. Each spread covers a single topic or lesson in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format – complete with big four-color screenshots and illustrations. There’s not a lot of reading involved; you can pretty much figure out what to do just by looking at the pictures. It’s an “easy” approach for any reader, but particularly appealing to seniors.

There are lots of books in the Easy series that a variety of topics, but I’ve identified three titles that cover those topics of most interest to seniors:

Easy Computer Basics, Windows 8.1 Edition, is another one that I wrote; it shows you how to set up and start using a new PC, focusing on Microsoft’s new Windows 8.1 operating system. (Older editions of this book cover older versions of Windows, if that’s what you’re using.

Easy Windows 8.1, written by Mark Edward Soper, skips the general PC stuff and focuses exclusively on Windows, in more depth than what I cover in my book.

Easy Office 2013, written by Patrice-Anne Rutledge and Sherry Kinkoph Gunter, walks you step-by-step through all of the Office apps – including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Easy OS X Mavericks, written by Kate Binder, provides a great introduction to Apple’s updated operating system for Macs.

These — and other — Easy books will show you how to do what you need to do. They truly are “easy” books for technology novices.

Absolute Beginner’s Guides

When you want a little more (but not too much) in-depth information, turn to Que’s Absolute Beginner’s Guides. These are traditional one-color books without a lot of pictures, but still written with the needs of everyday users (and seniors) in mind.

A typical Absolute Beginner’s Guide book presents essential tasks and features in practical, easy-to-understand terms. These books help you get the job done without a lot of hassle or unwanted technical gobbledygook.

While the Absolute Beginner’s Guides aren’t written specifically for seniors, I can tell you from my experience that they’re aimed at just the right level for most older users. In fact, I use a lot of seniors-specific examples in the Absolute Beginner’s Guide books that I write, because I know a lot of seniors read these books.

What are the most popular Absolute Beginner’s Guides for seniors today? Here’s a short list to check out:

Windows 8.1 Absolute Beginner's Guide (written by Paul Sanna and Alan Wright); covers everything you need to know about using Microsoft Windows 8.1; there are also older editions available that cover older versions of Windows.

Computer Basics Absolute Beginner's Guide, Windows 8.1 Edition (written by yours truly); covers how to purchase and set up a new desktop or notebook PC, as well as how to use Windows and the Web; there are also older editions available that cover older versions of Windows.

Fixing Your Computer Absolute Beginner's Guide (written by Paul McFedries); covers how to keep your PC in tip-top condition and how to troubleshoot any problems you may encounter.

Wireless Networking Absolute Beginner's Guide (written by yours truly); covers how to set up a Wi-Fi home network and connect all your devices – including your PC, smartphone, tablet – to each other and to the Internet.

Office 2013 All-in-One Absolute Beginner’s Guide (written by Patrice-Anne Rutledge); an oversized edition that covers all the apps in the Microsoft Office suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

iTunes and iCloud for iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch Absolute Beginner's Guide (written by Brad Miser); it’s a long title, but this book covers the iTunes software and store, plus Apple’s iCloud service, on all these popular devices.

As the series tagline says, there’s “no experience necessary” to learn from these books. When you want a quick and easy read about a vexing technology topic, there’s an Absolute Beginner’s Guide for you.

Other Useful Books for Seniors

In addition to all the My, Easy, and Absolute Beginner’s Guide books previously mention, Que also offers a handful of other books that cover topics of interest to seniors in a way that older users will find useful. Let’s take a quick look at some of these titles.

PCs for Grown-Ups, written by Paul McFedries, shows older users how to get the most out of their Windows 8 computers. It gets right down to those tasks common among older users, in a friendly, relaxed tone. Plus, this book features larger-type and zoomed-in graphics that many seniors are sure to appreciate.

Facebook for Grown-Ups is yet another book that I wrote. In fact, this was the first seniors-oriented book that I wrote and that Que published, so it kind of set the mold. The focus here is on how adults use Facebook different from the way do younger users. (And there’s a big difference, believe me.) If you have kids or grandkids on Facebook, this book is for you.

I also wrote Selling Your Crafts Online. A lot of older users make their own crafts, and online marketplaces such as Etsy and eBay make it easy to sell those crafts online. Pick up a copy of this one if you want to make a little money selling your crafts over the Internet.

Talking to Siri is all about the voice technology built into Apple’s iPhones. Authors Erica Sadun and Steve Sande are Apple tech experts, and their books shows you how to get the most out of Siri on your iPhone.

Finally, Windows 8.1 on Demand, written by Steve Johnson, is a four-color book that’s a little like a hands-on course in a book. You get a mix of step-by-step tutorials, in-depth workshops, and real-world projects – an approach that many seniors will find particularly useful.

Where Can You Find These Wonderful Books?

These and other Que books can be found wherever books are sold. That means your local independent bookstore, of course, as well as Barnes & Noble, Crown Books, and other national book chains. You can also find the books at Amazon.com and other online retailers. And Que has its own website (where you are now) where you can buy both print and electronic versions of all these titles — look for the Shop Now link at the top of this page. Whether you like reading a traditional printed book or on one of those newfangled e-reader or tablet devices, Que has a version just for you.

Wherever you like to buy your books, make sure you check out the titles I mention here. The authors — myself included — do a great job presenting information that all seniors should find useful and interesting. There’s a lot you can do with your computer or tablet, so read up and learn all about it!

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