To protect your $359 investment in Amazon's Kindle 2, I suggest buying a cover. The first Kindle shipped with one; the new version does not.
Apple used to include a hard case with the iPod when the music player first came out. No longer. Now there is a billion-dollar market to dress up the iPod.
Kindle accessory-makers should be so lucky. Of course, there is only one place to go for Kindle 2 accessories: Amazon.com.
I've been testing Kindle 2 accessories that fall into three basic categories: book jackets, reading lights and power charges.
• Book jackets
There are four I like; three include the special cover hinges for the Kindle 2.
The first case is the Amazon Kindle 2 leather cover, $30. It's a simple design that fits snugly and doesn't add much heft or size to the Kindle 2. It looks good too.
Similarly, M-Edge's Prodigy Jacket, $45, includes the hinge mechanism in a slightly thicker case. Finished in leather, the jacket has a "closure tab" to keep the cover shut. It has room for business cards and a notepad too. It's a more stylish version of Amazon's offering.
Another cool M-Edge cover is the $45 Platform Jacket, which snugly holds the Kindle in place with four corner straps, not hinges. But the best part is the front cover doubles as a bookstand.
For road warriors, the Travel Pouch for Kindle by Octo is terrific, despite its $95 price tag. The Kindle 2 sits in the front compartment. A second compartment holds credit cards, pens and travel documents _ a small MP3 player may fit too. Octo also makes leather "sleeves" ($22) for the Kindle 2 and a leather slip cover ($10) for the original Kindle.
My least favorite book jacket: the $40 Patagonia Book Case for Kindle 2. The Kindle 2 doesn't fit snugly, the zipper sticks and, for a polyester case, it's overpriced. But it is made of recycled materials.
• Reading lights
The Kindle 2 doesn't include a backlight. So if you want to read at night, you may need a light.
I was using a $5 reading light from Target, which worked fine. Then I received a trio of Mighty Bright lights _ boy, are they good.
My top choice is the $13 XtraFlex 2. You can choose two different brightness levels, and the gooseneck allows for easy adjustment.
The $13 TravelFlex has a smaller gooseneck and one light level, while the $14 PocketFlex might be better for a paperback than the Kindle.
• Power chargers
The Kindle 2 uses a mini-USB port for charging, but it also can be charged via USB through your computer.
But road warriors may want to consider a third-party adapter. I've used the Powerstick to charge the Kindle 2, which won't fully charge the device but provides enough juice to get you through a long plane trip. At $60 from Best Buy, the Powerstick might sound pricey, but it can charge a phone, an iPod and other gadgets.
If there's an accessory you'd like to suggest, please post a comment at chicagotribune.com/eric
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