My Not-$40 Kindle Paperwhite Case


Thanks to increased competition from other eReader companies like Barnes & Noble and Kobo, the cost of purchasing an Amazon Kindle has decreased over the past few years. From the Kindle 1’s highball debut at a whopping $399 to today’s $69 basic Kindle, this device has gradually become more accessible to the average consumer. Even Amazon’s new flagship eReader, the Kindle Paperwhite, has a very modest price tag of $119.

While the cost of owning a Kindle has dramatically decreased since the fall of 2008, one accessory produced for it has actually increased: the Amazon Kindle case.

The prices of the first three Kindle cases varied a bit, but they could always be purchased from for around $30. The Kindle 2 case cost $34.99 at release and eventually dropped to $29.99. The Amazon listing for their Kindle 3 case shows an original list price of $34.99, but I always remember it being discounted to $29.99 (that’s what I bought it for). It was more expensive than most third-party options but the Amazon case was always the best one for your money.

Suddenly, with the release of the Kindle Touch, things changed.

Amazon’s Kindle Touch case was easily the worst one ever created for the Kindle. On its release, the price jumped $10 higher than the previous $30 price point, and build quality took a steep plunge. The product listing said it was leather, but you could have fooled me. It looked and felt like they took a thin piece of cardboard, covered it in pleather, and called it the front cover. This was attached by a floppy pleather hinge to a rubbery-plastic back. I would estimate the genuine leather content of the materials to be around 20% (it would be interesting to see the results if someone actually tested this).

The old metal hook-in method was replaced by a snap-in design that fit the KT perfectly, but the classic folio look was gone. There was also no way to keep the front of the case from falling open in your bag, so the whole point of securing your Kindle in a cover was cancelled out.

Amazon was charging $39.99 for a case that probably cost them all of $5 to make. The Kindle Touch cost $99, but its case cost $40? That number never squared with me. It seemed like price gouging to make up for losses in other areas.

The new Kindle Paperwhite case is also being sold for $39.99, so it seems that they are sticking with this higher price point. It does look like they learned a few lessons from the Kinde Touch days, (the design has been changed and they added a clasp so you can keep the front lid closed) but I am still hesitant to shell out that kind of money for a case. When a profit margin seems insulting, I will always take a pass.

The downside is: I don’t have a case for the Paperwhite.

Traveling with my gadgets always makes me nervous. I want to keep them in the best condition possible as I often sell them on eBay when I upgrade. Since I didn’t want to buy my beloved Paperwhite a $40 case, and all of the third-party options look like a waste of money, I decided to improvise for my recent holiday travels. It worked out great, and, best of all, I didn’t have to spend a thing.

It turns out that the box that Kindle Paperwhites are shipped in makes for an excellent traveling case. It isn’t a leather folio and you can’t really read with it on, but it is otherwise quite effective. The lid securely holds the Paperwhite in place with the help of a large rubber band; I could throw it in my backpack and shove it under my airplane seat without fear of scratches or scuffs. It was easy to open and close. I didn’t have to worry about the outside of it getting beat up. It worked out so well, that I have continued to use it. The box is remarkably sturdy. So, if you want to save some money on a case, don’t throw out your old KPW shipping box. 🙂

14 Responses to “My Not-$40 Kindle Paperwhite Case”

  1. When I first bought my nook and couldn’t find any affordable cases online at the time. So I went to the store and bought a Samsung Galaxy neoprene zipper case that it’s lived in it’s whole life. It’s not convenient like a folio case and the case was quite snug at first, but it keeps the device safe and clean.
    Nooks and Kindles have slightly different dimensions, but my point is that you can buy case that may have been designed for another device by happens to fit. Although, I don’t advise buying cases online, in case the given measurements are even slightly off.

  2. Well, now…
    If you do a search for Kindle cases you will find all sorts of third-part cases for all Kindle models. The prices range all over but you can find decent strap-in cases around the US$7-13 range, even for the FireHD8.9.

    Here’s a couple:

    I even found a very nice leather case for my Sony T1 for US$12 there. They had cheaper, too.

    • Thanks for the links fjtorres! I haven’t had very good experiences with third-party cases in the past, but maybe I will give one of these a try.

      Unfortunately, my OCD in taking care of my devices extends to their cases as well. They also must be kept in pristine condition for bundled resale on eBay. So, essentially, I need a case for my case.

      This box solution is a great workaround for my needs. I don’t have to worry about it getting dinged up, and it does a great job keeping my PW safe.

  3. Great article, Andrew. I have to say I’ve done the same thing myself with the Kindle Touch. The box is a pretty decent case. There’s no way I’m spending $40 for a cover. Al least I was able to shoehorn the Kindle Paperwhite into the Noreve leather cover I reviewed for the basic Kindle last year.

  4. Personally I cannot stand the cases. I had one on my Nook Color and it just bulked it up(it was a B&N case). Now I prefer the sleeves, the $2 ones from Amazon work great on any small tablet…although I got the Kindle branded sleeve for my Paperwhite. That one retails for $20 on Amazon, just do an Amazon search for Paperwhite sleeve.

    • I also should have mentioned: great article!

    • Thanks Stephen! I use a roocase neoprene sleeve for my Nexus 10 and I couldn’t be happier with it. When I had my Kobo Mini, I bought a hardshell zipper case that protected it from getting crushed in my bag. But my tablets practically never leave my house, so sleeves work fine for keeping dust off them and such. The official B&N Lautner case for the Nook HD+ adds like 5 lbs to the overall weight; my hands really got tired with that one. The Onyx cases are super light, so my M92 is the only device I actually use with the case on.

  5. I found a great sleeve for my Nook Simple Touch on Etsy by a small company called Rogue Theory. They ask you for your specific model and sew the sleeve to fit it perfectly so works on all Kindles, Kobos, Nooks, etc. It’s a great, simple solution…I love it, and love supporting a small company!

  6. I haven’t tried one of their e-reader specific cases yet, but from experience, CaseCrown makes some *really* nice & sturdy cases of various types. They’re usually really cheap on Amazon (I saw several at $2-8 last week), so not a big loss if it turns out to suck.

    I agree on B&N cases, though — the leather one I got with my used Nook Touch looked *really* beat up within a few months, and the plastic tabs holding the Nook in aren’t entirely reliable a bit under a year later.

  7. Good, cheap protection? Take an old sweatshirt, some needle and thread, and a bit of your own time and make a sleeve. Double up the material, and it works really well, especially for tablets that come in odd sizes (like the Chinese 7″ XGA tablets).

    I’ve made a couple of cases this way for what amounts to pennies, and they actually look quite nice, if I take my time doing it. The trick is to make the case SLIGHTLY too small for the tablet so that it stretches a little bit. It keeps things snug, and the material keeps the tablet clean… and recycling is certainly good for the environment. 😉

  8. Here’s a site with decent instructions. Use an old sweatshirt for your materials, and this becomes cheap and effective. Just measure about 1/4″ small, since sweatshirt material is nice and stretchy.

  9. The Paperwhite zippered sleeve case (available in all colors atm) is selling for $10 at Amazon w/Prime shipping. Now I have a case for my $104 refurbed reader. Total of 114 dollars … not too shabby 😉