In this paper, we introduce a new channel model we term the q-ary multi-bit channel (QMBC). This channel models a memory device, where q-ary symbols (q=2^s) are stored in the form of current/voltage levels. The symbols are read in a measurement process, which provides a symbol bit in each measurement step, starting from the most significant bit. An error event occurs when not all the symbol bits are known. To deal with such error events, we use GF(q) low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes and analyze their decoding performance. We start with iterative-decoding threshold analysis, and derive optimal edge-label distributions for maximizing the decoding threshold. We later move to finite-length iterative-decoding analysis and propose an edge-labeling algorithm for improved decoding performance. We then provide finite-length maximum-likelihood decoding analysis for both the standard non-binary random ensemble and LDPC ensembles. Finally, we demonstrate by simulations that the proposed edge-labeling algorithm improves finite-length decoding performance by orders of magnitude.