Custom Screensavers on Lockscreens – Important Feature or Not?

Kindle Paperwhite Blocks

One of the unique features with E Ink ebook readers is the fact that they can display an image on the screen while the device is turned off without consuming battery power.

It’s surprising how under-utilized this feature is. But then again considering how many people keep their ereader in a cover all the time, do screensaver images really matter?

The term screensaver doesn’t really make sense in this instance but that’s what a lot of people still call it. Others call it a sleep screen or lockscreen image.

Regardless of what term you use, all refer to the same thing: the image that displays on the screen while the device is turned off or in sleep mode.

Some ebook readers show random images on the sleep screen, some show book covers, some show advertisements, but only a few allow users to set custom screensavers.

Amazon uses the lockscreen as a source for free ad-space. Every Kindle comes with advertisements on the lockscreen, which Amazon calls Special Offers, unless you pay an extra $20 to remove them or get the model without ads.

Custom screensavers are really important to some folks. It’s surprising how much trouble some people will go through to jailbreak their Kindle just to use the screensavers hack.

Personally I really like how Kobo ereaders display the cover of the book that you’re currently reading on the sleep screen. That makes a lot more sense than showing random images of pens, pencils and block letters like Amazon does (still better than ads, though).

So what do you think? Are custom screensavers an important feature on ebook readers or not?

35 Responses to “Custom Screensavers on Lockscreens – Important Feature or Not?”

  1. I like the book cover on Kobos. But I do miss how the old Nooks would like you use your own images.

    • I think it’s quite important. I have a Kindle Fire 8 which has been showing a really ugly lockscreen for the last 2 years–dark light bulbs. I have tried to get rid of it, short of rooting or hijacking a different launcher which actually worked well on an older Kindle Fire. Is there maybe an app out there which will allow me to change this lockscreen. Regular wallpaper apps work beautifully, but not on lockscreen. Why Amazon chose this horrible lockscreen is beyond me. Maybe to induce me to spend $20 to remove it. Even ads are better.

      • I hate the lockscreen too, just a pointless extra step every single time you turn it on. The inability to disable it was one of the reasons I stopped using the Fire HD 10, that and the annoying notifications that can’t be disabled.

  2. Its a little thing, but yup, I’m one of those whose main reason for jailbreaking my Voyage is for cover image screensavers.

  3. I like Kobo’s solution of displaying the book cover. That makes the most sense to me. For other devices that do not do that (like my Onyx Boox Nova Pro) I am glad to be able to set custom images, though it would not be a deal breaker one way of the other.

  4. Especially if you are a prime member you can call customer service and they will take the ads off your kindle for free. It avoids having to swipe screen to get to your book, just,press on button and it goes directly to book.

  5. Yes, I liked how my very first ereader, a Kobo, would show the cover of the latest book I was reading. I jailbroke my Kindle DX to do the same thing. For my Nook, which I hardly use to read books, I have a large collection of images it goes through, and I really like some of them, such as the Nookronomicon.

  6. Count me as another fan of the Kobo book cover.

    Though I don’t get the point of having to swipe the lockscreen on the Forma – my old Aura went straight to the book once I hit power and that was much better.

  7. Important? No. Nice to have? yes

    Of the two readers I actually use one can’t do it (Kindle Oasis 3), the other can (Onyx Boox Nova Pro). I actually like the lock screen images on the Nova so I haven’t changed them. The Kindle ones do get old after a while, but there’s nothing I can do about it easily, so I don’t bother. Ultimately if I’m looking at either one it’s usually in a case or being used to read or take notes.

  8. I agree with Sportbiek Mike. Not *important* but nice. However, since I use a cover for my Paperwhite, I rarely notice the lack.

    I would never want the cover of my book as a screensaver. I rarely walked around with a physical book on show anyway (tote life!). I mean “The Billionaire Alien Shifter Sheik’s Secret Bratva Baby Twisted Fairy Tale Reverse Harem Cozy Mystery”?


  9. I would love to have the cover displayed. As it stands most the time someone asks me what I’m reading and I honestly have no answer without firing up the Kindle. I need the reminder that is seeing the cover each time I ‘open’ my current read.

  10. I keep my Paperwhite in a cover 100% of the time so when I am reading a book I ignore the image and go straight into the book.. Sometimes if I am near the end of a book I might take a quick look on what the book ad is on the cover to see if I’m interested. I agree with the rest of the posts on here. It would be a nice to have feature, but it’s not a dealbreaker.

  11. When I had my 1st Gen Nook, I added my own images because I didn’t like the ones it came with. For my Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, I added my own images because they looked cool on the color screen. But I’m happy enough with my book’s cover image on the sleep screen of my Kobo. My Kobo both has a cover and lives in my purse, so no one can see what I’m reading anyway.

  12. Especially when Amazon grabs an extra $20 to remove “Special Offers,” the option to customize the sleep screen is crucial.

    They know many customers would be so happy about this, it’s easy to do, and would not cost them a dime. Plus it might prompt people to be a little more excited about their Kindles, which would serve as free viral marketing.

    I really don’t get why Amazon won’t give us this option.

    • The problem is it’s a conflict of their own interests. They don’t want to give up the free ad space that directly targets millions of Kindle owners. If they gave the option to view book covers or set custom screensavers no one would want to look at their stupid ads anymore.

      • Are the ads worth more than people paying to remove them so they can change the lockscreen images?

        • Valid point, but it’s one thing to pay to remove ads; requiring customers to pay $20 extra to access a custom lockscreen feature would probably tick a lot of people off.

          • I think a lot more people would pay the $20 to remove the ads and have the possibility of their own lockscreen than just to remove the ads. For years I just tolerated the ads on the kindle until someone else told me removing them would mean my Kindle opens straight to the book. The better functionality was my catalyst to spend the $20.

          • I don’t recommend Amazon make people pay $40 for a custom lockscreen. I agree,that would do more harm than good.

  13. Would like to give news tip. You can delete this comment after. Thank you.
    Xiaomi to intruduce their own ereaders.

  14. Important, indeed. Reading on Kindle like have all the books with the same cover, I don’t understand why Amazon didn’t implemented “current book as a cover” feature or a set of screensavers yet.

  15. My Kindles are almost always in a cover… and I purchase the ad removal. I don’t need a custom screensaver. Way back, I did jailbreak my K2 for a custom screensaver.

  16. I'm Reading Moby-Dick Reply November 18, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Do any readers support just showing your current page, when asleep? Seems sensible to me, maybe say “ZZZZzzzz” at the top, so you know why it’s not responding if you try to turn the page. With larger readers, you could fit a lot on the page, and just turn it off and read it. With some technical stuff, you have to think long and hard about it, for example, if there’s code on the page, you could easily spend half an hour thinking about it.

    • That’s a really good idea that I could actually use. I frequently have to reference charts and diagrams both for school and work. Being able to ensure the screen never timed out because it was in fact off would be extremely useful.

  17. I hate having to hack my Kindles just to have this feature.
    Why don’t we have this by default?

  18. I actually downloaded a Launcher and a hijack launcher app from the net yesterday. I made it my default and it works pretty well once I swipe up that ugly old lock screen–which means that I still was not able to lose that lockscreen. Annoying.

  19. I’d love to be able to add custom screensavers and art to my e-reader

  20. I think it’s a crime that Kindles don’t show book covers as a screen saver. Covers are an important part of the reading experience, and it’s a major disadvantage for Kindles.

  21. My Kobo Aura is displaying the front page of the book i’m reading, but regularly keeping a “ghost image” (for several minutes) of it when I’m turning on the reader after a long period off.
    Is there any consequence of this for the hardware ? If yes, isn’t a “white” lockscreen the better ?