Is Your eBook Reader or Tablet’s Battery Dying?


The great thing about ebooks is the fact that they can be copied and backed up and they don’t break down or degrade over time like paper books.

The same thing can’t be said for the manner in which we read ebooks, however. Reading ebooks always requires using some degree electricity, even just a tiny charge to flip pages with an E Ink ereader.

There’s no question that the Achilles heel of ebook readers and tablets is their batteries.

An ebook reader’s or a tablet’s battery can go bad with typical use in as little as 3 years or less, depending on a number of factors (number of charge cycles, battery level when storing, battery quality, etc).

Over time the battery starts draining faster and faster until you get to the point where it won’t hold a charge at all.

My original Nook Touch has recently fallen victim to this fate. It won’t even charge enough to turn on anymore.

Cheap Android tablets seem to be especially prone to short battery lives, but ebook readers generally seem to last pretty long since they don’t need charging as often. The Nook Touch is the first ebook reader I’ve owned to get a completely dead battery, but I usually get rid of devices after a year or two at most since there’s always new ones to review.

I imagine a lot of ebook readers sold during the big ereader boom of 2011 and 2012 are starting to go dead, like the Kindle keyboards, the Kindle Touch, Kobo Touch, Sony eReaders, etc.

Very few ebook readers and tablets have user-replaceable batteries. Nevertheless, you can often find new batteries online if you feel comfortable dismantling your device. Here’s an article about How to Replace Kindle Batteries.

Too bad batteries don’t last longer. My Nook was only a few years old. It was released in 2012, but then my first one developed a defect so I got a refurb as a replacement in 2013, then it died in late 2015. That’s not a very long lifespan.

What about you? Is your ebook reader or tablet’s battery starting to go bad? How long did it last?

13 Responses to “Is Your eBook Reader or Tablet’s Battery Dying?”

  1. I bought a used Nook Simple Touch from CraigsList as a backup for the Simple Touch I bought from B&N. After about a year, the battery went bad. I purchased a new battery and used YouTube videos to install it. I found out that while it is not difficult to take off the cover and install a new battery, re-aligning the cover and the backing is very problematic. After 3 attempts, the alignment is not as good as the original.

    About 6 months after installing the new battery, the touch screen went bad. Sometimes the touch screen works,and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Not long after I replaced the battery on the Simple Touch I bought used, the Simple Touch I purchased new went overnight from 60% charge to 18% charge- and I couldn’t open it. I tried recharging, to no avail. I let it sit for a month- this time recharging was successful. Maybe it was the cold weather.

    After nearly a year after that problem, and over 3 years after I bought the Simple Touch, the old battery is still going. When it goes, who knows?

  2. I don’t know, it may be a problem with Nook e-readers? My first e-reader was the Kindle Keyboard 3 that I purchased in October 2011. I really liked the device and it was going real strong, when I replaced it with a Paperwhite; same thing with the Kindle DX I owned that I couldn’t bear any more, due to its very limited PDF features. I made the mistake, being inexperienced at the time, that the DX’s firmware would be identical to the keyboard 3 (I also used a Nook Simple Touch for a short period, when it went for clearance, and had no problems. However, the Nook Glowlight was notorious for screen tears). Six inch e-readers are getting cheaper, to the extent that repairing them is not worth the time or cost. That is problematic, as it leads to waste – replaceable batteries, like many smartphones, would make a huge difference. Generally, my experience with e-ink devices and battery life has been very positive.

  3. My 1st gen Nook still holds a charge, but I have to charge it every day instead of every week. Or that’s what it did when I used it last. The touch screen only lights up about 10% of the time now. Sometimes I can blindly poke my way through the most common operations, but I haven’t used it since I replaced it with a Galaxy Tab a year and a half ago. The Galaxy Tab is still working fine.

    My Sony PRS-505 still works. It’s just that the screen is so terrible by current standards that I only use it as an emergency back-up reader.

    • Six inch e-readers are getting cheaper, to the extent that repairing them is not worth the time or cost. That is problematic, as it leads to waste – replaceable batteries, like many smartphones, would make a huge difference.

      According to B&N, the Nook Simple Touch battery cannot be replaced. There are videos on YouTube showing how its battery can be replaced. The same applies for other brands of e-readers.Just because the manufacturer says the battery cannot be replaced doesn’t make it so.

      As a battery costs around $15, it is cost effective to replace it, assuming you don’t count the time of your labor.

      • My 1st gen Nook still holds a charge, but I have to charge it every day instead of every week.

        The 1st gen Nook was designed with a replaceable battery, which is not the case for the Simple Touch- so getting the cover on and off should be easier for the 1st gen Nook. Replacing Your NOOK 1st Edition’s Back Cover & Battery This appears to be B&N-produced

        • The 1st gen Nook was designed with a replaceable battery

          I know the battery is replaceable. That’s actually why I bought it over other models at the time that didn’t have replaceable batteries. But by the time the battery started going, the model had been out of production for so long that I couldn’t find a replacement battery from a trustworthy source.

          • Having done a cursory search of batteries, I see what you mean. It doesn’t speak well of B&N that it doesn’t refer customers to a place that supplies a compatible battery. But having purchased and returned a Nook Glowlight Plus, your experience w B&N doesn’t surprise me.

  4. I guess I’ve been lucky with all my battery powered devices because I’ve never had any problems. My NST was still holding a very good charge when I traded it in against a tablet at three years old last year. I even have a 10 year old Zune MP3 player which keeps on working.

  5. I have an old Sony e-reader w/ a dead battery that I wish I could repair. Can’t figure out how to do it 🙁

  6. My originals — nook st & paperwhite 1 — are both 3 -4 years old & still going strong. I use them both and recharge them about once every 2 weeks.

    My 2 newer ones — voyage & nook glowlight (the 2013 model) — are also going strong. I use the voyage, mostly, and that still lasts for about 20+ hours of use. I rarely use the glowlight but charge it once a month or so.

    Not sure if this matters but I suspect that it does, I keep wifi turned off on all of them, so there’s nothing really draining them in-between uses. In the e-ink displays, I haven’t noticed any battery problems with any of them.

    I do have an iphone 4 that I use as an ,mp3 player and it’s battery *has* seen better days. I’ve extended its life with an external battery pack. They’re pretty cheap these days and they’ll power a lower power device for days/weeks; perhaps a month or more for an e-ink device.

  7. “I imagine a lot of ebook readers sold during the big ereader boom of 2011 and 2012 are starting to go dead, like the Kindle keyboards, the Kindle Touch, Kobo Touch, Sony eReaders, etc.”

    I guess mine lasted longer than many people’s because it only started failing a couple of months ago. I went online and looked at replacing the battery and found that there is a place right here in Ontario that could sell me a replacement battery. I took the back apart took seconds to get the battery out and the replacement battery looks like Danica little take me seconds to put back in. The battery is going to cost me 40 some dollars so the question is is it worth doing? It’s seven years old. But I’m just looking for an e-reader that my son can use and I don’t see why I should spend $150 to buy a new one that will basically be doing the same thing. The whole replace in 3 years? Yeah, cell phones, tablets, sure that makes sense. But if all you want is something that you can download an Epub onto and then read it, why would I need new tech for that? I guess I could almost answer my own question. If the company let me send back the battery if it doesn’t work and why wouldn’t I try it?

  8. I have an Icarus Omnia M701BK that was given to me and I had for, maybe like, more than 3 yrs. I’ve never had a problem before with my e-reader even though I often used it. But last year, I didn’t use it for more than a week or so, I decided to charge it because I know that the battery is fully depleted. It took hours for it to charge completely. I turned it on and at first, it was functioning well, but the “low battery”icon appeared. I was surprised with that because I left it to charge. And now, I cannot use my e-reader normally because even when you fully charged it, it would turn off automatically and wouldn’t turn on. I don’t know if I could change the battery or I will jist buy a brand new one.

  9. I’ve bought a new non-brand battery for my nook touch and its fairly easy to replace (watched youtube vid of how to unscrew+ open). BUT after just a year, its starting to drain too quickly after charging. I’m not going to buy a new £10 battery for it every year, so not sure what to do next to avoid sending ebook to landfill! I might get a powerbank that plugs in directly (like an iwalk docking one) that can be plugged in all the time, and when that dies I can open it up and replace the AA rechargable battery inside very cheaply (if i can open it without breaking).

    Infact, if i could just make my own docking powerbank that takes any AA battery, that would be great, since one AA will presumably last ages for the little power needed for an ebook.

    I’m gutted that the txtr beagle never made it to market. Still hoping someone will make a small ereader that takes 1 or 2 AA batteries and is eink! I’m not buying devices every 2 or 3 years and throwing away the old ones like the manufacturers want us to. Planned obsolescence is so wasteful.