A quick guide to buying an e-reader or tablet cover

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6-8" e-reader cover by bertiescloset
6-8″ e-reader cover by bertiescloset / Etsy
Picking up an e-reader or tablet cover is no longer easier than picking up a device itself.

So far choosing a cover for a mobile device seemed to be a less important, secondary task.

Things change. Prices of devices go down. There are more and more covers that actually cost more than devices they are designed to protect.

Soon ebookstores will be selling e-readers for a symbolic price in exchange for purchases of digital content. Then the only task will be to pick up a cover or case.

There is also one more factor that makes choosing a cover a relatively more involving challenge: there are too many designs to choose from (this applies to most popular models, though).

When you add the ability to personalize the cover (which is up only to your imagination), the number of choices is literally endless.

In this post you’ll find quick and simple tips that will let you easier choose e-reader or tablet cover.

Quick guide to buying an e-reader or tablet cover

1. Choose the kind of the cover which suits your needs

A variety of covers is enormous and it’s growing every day. There are many different kinds available. No matter how they’re called, they fall into three major categories, depending on how you apply and use them.

Case / Cover

There are many different kinds of covers. It can be a neoprene cover, it can be a case which opens like a book, or it can be a case which transforms into a horizontal or vertical stand.

What they all have in common is that you mount your device once and keep the case always on. There is no need to take the device out in order to use it.

A classic and stylish example of a case cover is Verso Prologue. This is also a good example of the cover made to fit devices with similar dimensions. The cover holds the device with corner straps, so it’s possible to put a smaller device, as well.

Verso Prologue, thanks to corner straps, is a good fit for Kindle 4, Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite, but also Kobo Touch. All these models have similar dimensions and proportions. Covers with corner straps are generally a good option for less popular models of tablets or e-readers.

Verso Prologue cover fits Kindle Touch, Kindle 4, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kobo Touch
Verso Prologue cover fits Kindle Touch, Kindle 4, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kobo Touch

Other covers and cases use a cage instead of straps. It could be a flexible silicon case. It could be also made of wood or hard plastic.

Any cover that is designed to hold the device this way can be only used for this specific device. Different devices have slots in different places.

On top of that, such cases very often offer a wake-up function – when you open a front cover the device wakes up, when you close, it goes to sleep.

Sleeve / Jacket

You may want to buy a sleeve if you need something to protect the device while on the go, but don’t always need it.

Another benefit is that you don’t need to hold an extra weight while using a tablet or e-reader.

Sleeves are also a good solution if you can’t find the proper cover for the device you own.

Any sleeve made for a bit bigger device will do the job. All you have to do is to compare the sizes and proportions. In other words: sleeves and jackets allow for some flexibility.

For example, sleeves for the iPad should fit 10-inch tablets. What you have to remember is that devices have to have similar proportions.

Moreover, if you don’t want to buy a new cover every time you buy a new e-reader, the sleeve could be a good option – on condition that it’s durable enough.

This beautiful iPad sleeve, handmade by FeltK and sold on Etsy, although named “iPad case” is in fact a sleeve – you have to take the device out in order to use it.

Felt iPad Sleeve Case by FeltK / Etsy
Felt iPad Sleeve Case by FeltK / Etsy

Skin

Skins are laminated vinyl decals which you attach to the back and front of the device. They are usually re-positionable, and won’t leave any residue after removal.

One thing to remember about skins is that there is absolutely no flexibility. When you order a skin, double-check if it’s selected for the right device. The cutouts are made exactly for specific models. Kindle Touch skin won’t fit Kindle Paperwhite.

For many people skins are just a way to make a device more enjoyable. In fact, the protection they give is somehow dubious. You have a great looking skin and you don’t want it to be scratched as well.

A great site with hundreds of stunning skin designs for over 100 devices is GelaSkins. Other sites to visit are SkinIt and DecalGirl.

GelaSkins - Intermezzo Kindle Fire Skin by Andy Gilmore
GelaSkins: Intermezzo Kindle Fire Skin by Andy Gilmore

2. Know the dimensions of your device

Selecting a cover for the most popular devices, like iPad or any of the Kindles, is pretty easy. There are several accessories which are designed to fit those models.

Things get a bit more difficult if you want to find a cover for a less popular device. First, it’s harder to find one. Secondly, if you won’t find a cover designed specifically for your model, you’ll have to browse through more general solutions.

Many covers are sold as “universal”. For instance, you’ll find “10-inch tablet sleeve” or “universal 6-inch e-reader case”. Those sizes measure the distance between two opposite screen corners. 6-inch is the typical screen size of the e-reader.

However, in many instances the screen size of your device is not enough to choose the right cover, as different models may have different proportions.

Two tablets may have the same screen size (let’s say 10-inch), but a different screen aspect ratio. As a result, you may end up with a cover which just doesn’t fit your tablet.

Tip:
Make sure to write the dimensions of your device, both in centimeters and inches, when making an order on Etsy

What’s always good to know: the exact physical dimensions of your device – height, width, and depth.

There are two more things to keep in mind.

If you want to buy a cover on eBay or any other giant online store, which is not a producer’s site, you may find descriptions that are misleading or not specific enough.

For instance, be careful if you find a sleeve that fits “iPad”. There are five generations of iPad already. iPad 1 is bigger than iPad 2, 3 or 4. iPad Air has different dimensions from iPad 4, although both devices have 9.7-inch display.

3. Decide whether you’ll need light

This topic doesn’t apply to tablets, which have backlit screens, so you’re able to use them in the dark.

When it comes to e-readers, it’s good to ask a question: will I be reading in the dark?

If the answer is “yes”, you can first choose e-readers with a front-light screen, like Kindle Paperwhite, Nook GlowLight or Kobo Glo.

There is still a possibility to buy a simple e-reader, with no front-light, and use an external source of light.

There are two options. First, you can buy a special cover, with a built-in light. A good example is Kindle lighted cover shown below.

Amazon Kindle Lighted Leather Cover
Amazon: Kindle Lighted Leather Cover

Some users decide to buy two accessories, a cover and, separately, a reading light. One advice to give is that in such a case, make sure you’ll be able to attach a light to a cover. The clip may not be large enough to hold a thicker device.

A good solution could be to buy a cover in which the device is being held by corner straps. The lamp’s bottom clip can go between the device and the back side of the cover.

4. Check different sites

Many people buy covers at the time when they buy a device, and they do it on the same website. Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire cover on Amazon. Nook GlowLight and Nook GlowLight case on Barnes&Noble, etc.

When selecting covers for our overviews, we noticed that buying an accessory for a tablet or e-reader makes 100% sense only on Barnes&Noble site. The best Nook covers are there, there is no reason to look anywhere else, you won’t find anything better elsewhere.

Switch to Amazon or Apple or any other site, and three topics appear immediately, which make it reasonable to browse the web to find other sources of covers:

  • availability
  • price
  • shipping costs

Availability

Assumption that the best Kindle covers are on Amazon, limits you to only the most popular ones, selected from preferred Amazon partners. There are many producers of covers, which are not easily discoverable on Amazon or the choice of their products offered there is limited.

Producers of covers, cases, and sleeves, run their own very well-kept sites. The ones we recommend are:

Go there and you will find great e-reader or tablet cover that you haven’t seen on a site where you were buying the device itself.

“Why should I register for another site?” – this is the question which immediately comes to mind. The reason is that you can save money.

Price

Prices at the producer’s site may be lower than in giant online retailers. Additionally, you can also find out that there are some promotions or that some models are on sale.

So, generally, if you find a good cover on Amazon, use Google to search for the original producer to check how much is the cover there – and if there are any additional color versions or extra benefits.

Shipping costs

If you buy a device and cover together on Amazon, you may assume that they will be shipped together and this can reduce costs. But it may happen that they will have to be shipped separately.

On Amazon it happens when the cover is being sold by a third-party partner. The Kindle is shipped by Amazon and you pay for shipping. The cover is shipped by a partner and you pay for shipping again. It’s not a problem in US, when it’s usually free, but if you’re a foreign customer, shipping costs from US may actually exceed the value of the cover.

There are cover producers, naming only Proporta or Gecko, which are based in Europe. Shipping costs to European countries will be lower in this case. For instance, in Proporta, there is free shipping to UK and if your order exceeds $19.95 it’s also free to US.

• • •

Choosing an e-reader or tablet cover is supposed to be fun. Let’s keep it this way.

I hope I clarified some of the issues and opportunities you may see when buying an e-reader or tablet cover. Please leave in the comments your suggestions and user remarks about the covers you own or plan to buy.

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