Buying a Kindle? Read This Before You Buy

The author with her stack of Kindle readers and Fire tablets.
The author with her stack of Kindle readers and Fire tablets.

Welcome to your Kindle Buying Guide

Thinking of buying a new Kindle as a gift for yourself or for someone else? Smart move! Not sure where to buy a Kindle or which one to buy? Let us help you choose! Even if you're still comparing e-readers and haven't made up your mind yet, we have the information you need to know and answers to your questions about buying a Kindle.

If you're buying a reader or tablet for yourself or as a gift, we'll help you choose the best model. We'll also tell you how to buy or borrow ebooks - and where to find free ebooks. We'll offer other tips and recommendations, too, based on our experience as a long-time Kindle owner.

A new Kindle or Fire would be great surprise for a college student for school, for a frequent traveler, or for anyone who just loves to read. Any model is easy to buy as a gift and Amazon will walk you through the steps on the order page.

More questions? Keep reading to find answers. Our goal is to help make your buying experience an easy one.

Ready to Buy? Looking for a Kindle Sale?

Use this link to see which devices are on sale today.

Amazing! Look How Thin This Kindle Oasis Is

The Oasis, Thinnest Kindle Ever
The Oasis, Thinnest Kindle Ever

April 13th New Kindle Poll

Will you upgrade to the new Kindle Oasis?

See results

"Kindle" Romance with the Gift of a New Reader or Fire Tablet


New Poll: September 2014

Are you shopping for a Kindle for yourself or for a gift?

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Check the Kindle Store Daily

You'll find Daily Deals, support, and more.

FAQ about Buying a Kindle

Get quick answers to your Kindle questions here.

Where should I buy my Kindle? While it's now available in several office and department stores, you'll find all the current Kindle models, with comparison charts and a full list of features, in the Kindle Store (link is above), which is where I recommend you buy because it's where you can expect the best customer support. Amazon has a reputation for excellent customer service and if you ever have a problem, there are trained people available to help. Plus the Amazon site has great Q&A and Kindle chat areas where you can find answers or ask your own question. On each Kindle model's page you'll see a "buy" box similar to the one pictured here. Another reason to buy directly from Amazon? When your device arrives, it will be all set up for you with any books or other items that you've already purchased. There's just nothing easier than getting started with a preregistered Kindle from Amazon, and I know that from personal experience.

Where can I get Kindle gift cards or gift certificates? To give a gift card or certificate for a Kindle, go directly to the Kindle store and look in the left margin of the page. To give Kindle books as gifts, simply choose "Give as a Gift" on any Kindle book page.

Where do I go to buy Kindle books? Once again, the Kindle store has you covered. You'll find Kindle newspapers, magazines, and blogs there too. Once you've placed the order for a Kindle reader or Fire tablet you can choose books and they'll be loaded and ready when your device is delivered to your door! Of course you can add books anytime after you have your reader.

Where do I find free Kindle books? You'll find free ebooks listed in the Kindle bookstore with the bestsellers for each category.

Is it true that Kindle doesn't come with a case? Yes, and we definitely recommend a case, cover, or sleeve for every model to best protect your investment. There's a huge selection (you guessed it) in the Kindle store. Check the customer reviews then choose something you really love. You can even design a cover yourself!

So, bottom line question, which Kindle should I buy? Bottom line answer, it depends! In my opinion, if you want to simply read books and do very little online activity, you have two choices. The simple Kindle reader is an excellent bargain and may be all you need. You'll probably want to buy a light, though, so choosing the Kindle Paperwhite (see it below) might be a better choice. In fact, this model is now a hugely popular bestseller. I have one and I love it! It costs a little bit more but is still very affordable. Your budget and whether or not you'll need a lighted screen will be the deciding factors.

Now, on to the tablets, now simply called Fire. If you want to watch movies or play games and interact with others or surf the web, that's when you need to look at the new models of the Fire (also featured below). I own a new Paperwhite for reading and now three Fires (the newest under $50 model, the original 7-inch wi-fi version, and the 8.9-inch HD 4G LTE version so I can use it on the go) and use all of them, just depending on what I want to do (read, play games, check email, watch movies). My recommendation? The newest models are faster and clearer. My prediction? You're in for an awesome treat!

There's no reason to spend more to get a better Kindle model if you don't need it. The $79 basic Kindle is an awesomely wonderful reader if that's all you need. By the way, on the models where you can choose to buy with "special offers," I recommend you do that to save a little bit of money. The ads you'll see on the screensaver are often quite good, but they're also very non-intrusive to the reading experience. Might as well save a few dollars up front and possibly save more with a special offer later.

You'll meet several members of the Kindle family of e-readers and tablets and read my reviews as you scroll down this page. Also, each of the e-reader sales pages at has a comparison chart to compare Kindles. That's a great place to see exact specifications for each of the models, which will help you make the best decision.

The eReader I Use Daily

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers
Kindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers

The latest Paperwhite (which I own and use daily) is still in wi-fi only or with 3G and is still an excellent choice. Click on the picture to compare features with the new, top of the line Kindle Voyage reader. Customers love it!


The Latest Generation Kindle Paperwhite - With lighted screen.

This is the very popular, innovative model of the Kindle e-reader with the built-in lighted screen. A best-seller, the screen is actually lit from above, not backlit (like the color Kindle Fire or a typical tablet), so it's easy on the eyes. The latest generation model has a faster processor with quicker page turns, as well as a browsing function that allows you to flip through pages or chapters without losing your place. It's also available in your choice of either white or black. Cool!

The technology of the lighted screen makes it easy on the eyes, very important for people who love to read for hours on end.

Choose the wi-fi only version or the 3G version, which means you can buy and access books on the go. And, as is true with all the Kindle models, no contract required!

This is the Kindle I do most of my reading on, every day. Love it!

Which is the Best Kindle for Reading Outdoors?

If you'll be doing your reading outside, perhaps by the pool or even on the porch, choose one of the Kindle readers (the simple Kindle, the Paperwhite, or the Voyage) rather than a tablet. I've tested mine in bright sunlight and, it's true, there is no glare with the readers. Since the Fire tablets have a reflective screen, you will get glare and won't be able to read well except in the dimmest outdoor light.

Why Choose Kindle?

What about iPad? We'll help you choose.

If you're thinking about buying a Kindle for yourself or for a gift, you might also be wondering about the other ebook devices. Rather than a full-blown comparison of the Kindle to iPad or other tablets (many models seem to come and go), here are some reasons that you should choose Kindle over the other devices, as well as situations in which a different device might be a better choice.

The Kindle is small and lightweight. Many thousands of Kindle owners use Kindle to hold their vast library of books in order to free up space on their bookshelves and in their pockets or purses. Rather than hauling heavy books with them wherever they go, it's so simple to stow a Kindle for a trip to the doctor's office or a vacation around the world. The Kindle's light weight makes it very comfortable to hold and read, and the Pearl technology e-ink is crisp, easy to read, and comfortable for long-term reading. There's also no problem with glare when reading outside - at the beach or the bus stop.

What about a color e-reader? Kindle's content is displayed using amazingly clear e-ink Pearl technology in multiple shades of gray. For serious readers, we think you'll probably prefer one of the regular Kindle readers. But if you're looking for an e-reader and entertainment device, check out the full-color Kindle Fire tablet.

How about the iPad? The first issue with the Apple iPad is the price; expect to spend $600 and up without the monthly data plan (if you need that - and if you have an iPad, you probably do want internet access and, thus, a data plan). It's true that the iPad screen is beautiful and impressive, but the backlit screen is hard on the eyes, so not good for those who read for hours on end. An additional factor is the size and weight. If carrying a larger device is no problem, consider holding a heavier device while reading for a long period of time. If your eyesight doesn't fail you, the strength in your wrists might. It's hard to imagine that a few ounces can make that much difference, but one of the biggest complaints among iPad owners is that they get tired from holding it.

Need internet access and want one do-it-all device? Then the Kindle Fire is definitely for you!

The Kindle reader. A perfect holiday gift!
The Kindle reader. A perfect holiday gift!

The Latest Generation 6-inch Amazon Kindle Reader

An excellent choice for people who simply love to read.

Don't let the low price fool you. This is the basic Kindle model, but it's a beauty and is absolutely perfect as a dedicated e-reader. It would be great for a young reader, but with its adjustable font size it works well for older eyes, too. And the current version includes features such as the new touchscreen that makes navigation a breeze, faster page turns, and twice the storage as the previous version.

When you order you'll receive the Kindle and the USB charging cable. You'll probably want to add a case for safe-keeping and possibly a reading light.

Can I Borrow Kindle Books From the Public Library?

Yes you can! Well, probably.

Your library must participate in the lending program, but most public libraries across the country do. Books eligible for lending/borrowing are clearly marked on their Kindle product page on Amazon.

Here's How to Use Kindle Page Flip

See the Latest Edition Kindle Fire 6, 7, 8, and 10-inch Tablets Here

If you're looking for a dedicated reader, then my advice is to stick with the Paperwhite, the Voyage, or the simple (but awesome) $79 Kindle. However, if you want an amazing full-color display, movies, apps, games, music, a super-fast web browser, AND reading, then one of the Kindle Fire models would be my recommendation. If you love colorful magazines, children's books, or graphic novels, then this is the Kindle for you. Oh, you can also read regular books on the Fire, too!

Know what I like best about the Fire? No contracts and no monthly fees! (That's true with all the Kindle models, by the way.) For the Fire, I absolutely do recommend that you go with an annual subscription to Amazon Prime. That's the service that includes free 2-day shipping on all of your qualifying Amazon orders but also includes unlimited instant videos (over 10,000 movies and TV shows) and tons of music at no extra cost.

Quality on all of these is awesome (did I mention how much I love mine?). All of the current Fire tablet models are accessible from the product page linked below or any of the "Buy Now" buttons on this page.

Fire Tablet, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black
Fire Tablet, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black

This is the latest generation Fire tablet, the "cheap" one at just under 50 bucks, and I can't say enough about this. I absolutely love mine and use it daily. In fact, it's my favorite Fire tablet yet (I have two others). It's an awesome tablet for its size and a super buy, but don't overlook the other choices. You might prefer a more powerful tablet, especially if you do a lot of gaming. Storage, though, isn't a problem as this new version can hold a memory card to expand onboard storage.

The current models are all on display at the orange Buy Now link below. There's a features comparison chart on each product page, too, that's very helpful to be sure you're choosing the best tablet for your intended purpose.

My advice? Buy as much as you can afford in the size that you prefer. That sounds vague, but consider how and where you'll be using it and how you'll be carrying it. The large screen version is awesome, but the device is definitely bigger, so the 6 or 8-inch model might be a better choice for you. Buying for a child? Definitely consider the Kids Edition, worth the price for the warranty and additional features. Details and comparison on all of these tablets at the buy link below.


Looking for Textbooks?

Great idea and yes, Kindle does have textbooks!

Look under "Popular Features" on the Kindle store page to learn about buying or renting electronic textbooks on Kindle.

Kindle Unlimited: Recommended! Subscribe and read for free.

With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you'll be able to borrow a large number of Kindle books (including this one that has about a bazillion excellent reviews - okay, maybe not that many) to read for free - with no due date! Membership is just $9.99 a month (with a free 30-day trial).

Many of the books available for Kindle Unlimited (and there are thousands of them) also have audio narration available, a terrific feature for those who like to listen to their books while they drive or just want to rest their eyes.

It's a great program. Full details are available on the product page of any book that's included in the program.

Who Needs a Kindle?

  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Commuters
  • Game Players
  • World Travelers
  • Prolific Readers
  • Reluctant Readers
  • Stay-at-home Moms
  • Business Professionals
  • The Environmentally Conscious
  • You do!
  • Who doesn't need a Kindle?

If you've decided to buy a Kindle, you've made a fabulous choice. Tell us about it or ask a question in the comment section below.

Daisy and me with my Kindle.
Daisy and me with my Kindle.

© 2010 Susan Deppner

Are You Buying a Kindle This Year? Need to Ask a Question? If there's anything else I can help you with, please let me know! 1095 comments

SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 3 days ago from Arkansas USA Author

Judy, it's so simple I can do it! Seriously, when I bought my first Kindle I did so because I had read the procedure was easy - and it was easy, and remains so. When you open the Kindle it will walk you through connecting to your home network. Beyond that, it's very simple to buy a book either from your computer or from the device itself, then watch it arrive on your device. Don't have a home computer network? You can use a 3G network (sort of like a cell phone) and connect that way. Or you can use the cable to load the book from the computer. I'm making it sound more difficult than it is. If you have a computer network in your home, it will be super easy to get the books on your Kindle. If you don't, you can just follow the directions to upload it from your computer. Amazon is excellent in walking you through that. Hope that helps and doesn't confuse you further!

judy 3 days ago

How hard is it to upload books to a kindle? We are not very computer savvy.....

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SusanDeppner 2 weeks ago from Arkansas USA Author

Sue, absolutely you can use the Kindle on buses. You can use it anywhere you want as long as it's charged up (and all the Kindle models hold a charge well). If you want to download books you'll need a wi-fi or internet connection (or 3G/4G), but yes, you can read it anywhere. Thanks for asking!

sue 2 weeks ago

can i use the kindle paperwhite on buses

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SusanDeppner 3 weeks ago from Arkansas USA Author

Galka, I honestly don't know the answer to that. Touch screens seem to be the norm just about everywhere today (i.e. phones and computers), though, so I'd be surprised if Amazon will ever go with a non-touch screen again, though I'm sure you're not the only one who would appreciate that option. Perhaps they'll surprise us in the future. Thanks for asking!

Galka 3 weeks ago

Hi! Is there a plan to re-release non-touch screen kindle paperwhite? it is the best and the simplest!

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SusanDeppner 3 weeks ago from Arkansas USA Author

Catherine, I certainly hope I can help! With the requirement for a built-in light and since you just want to read books, and because you want a mid-range price, I'd choose the Paperwhite. I think it will give you everything you want. I'd suggest using airplane mode in order to prolong the battery life. Now, if you load up the Paperwhite before you leave home and you know you won't need to download much or anything during your trip, you shouldn't need to use wireless or 3G very much. However, it's certainly possible that you'll want to add a book while you're gone. If so, you'll have to be in a place (hotel perhaps) that supports wi-fi to do that. If there is a 3G signal but possibly not wi-fi where you're going, then I'd add that 3G option. Another important thing to consider is that Amazon makes their content available in Africa, whatever parts you'll be visiting. If they do not, then you won't be able to download anything new directly to your Kindle anyway. So do your best to load up your Kindle library before you leave. That said, if there will be a computer available and an internet connection, you should be able to download a book to the computer then upload the book from the computer to your Kindle. I hope this information is helpful and I wish you a wonderful trip!

catherine 3 weeks ago

Hi Susan

I am totally overwhelmed in trying to work out which Kindle to buy! I just want someone to understand what I want and tell me what to buy!! Could that be you?

I am going travelling in Africa, for a long time. Do I want 3G or wireless or both?

I want a built in light. I read mostly in bed at night, or in airports or bus stations! So I want that light option that's good for the eyes pre-sleep.

I don't want to do anything on it other than read books.

I want a clear screen, easy to use Kindle.

I want good quality but don't want to pay a fortune. Willing to be in the mid-range market to get good quality but not the high end.


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SusanDeppner 5 weeks ago from Arkansas USA Author

Hi John. Frankly, if you go to B&N's site and look at the Nook models there, you'll see just 86 reviews (rates 3.2 stars) for their GlowLight Plus which I would call most comparable to the PaperWhite from Kindle which has 28,879 reviews (rates 4.5 stars). I also see that B&N's tablets are made by Samsung, though you said you're looking for a reader, not a tablet. The volume of sales by Amazon and their excellent reputation for customer service speaks volumes to me, though I'll be honest and say I've never tried a Nook. Amazon also has multiple programs that are a huge advantage, such as the built-ins to GoodReads, Kindle FreeTime, X-Ray, vocabulary builder, etc. I can't imagine that Nook has anything close to those features and others, as well as Amazon's selection of books that you can read for free. As for the formats supported, Kindle supports Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion (copied that from the product page). I honestly don't know about the epub format. Obviously I'm biased, but I'd say that Kindle blows Nook out of the water (one cool feature that I'll give them credit for, the Nook reader is waterproof). Hope that helps!

john 5 weeks ago

Susan, I have a question for you.I am looking at getting a new ereader.either a nook or kindle.Far as you know how is barnes and noble doing in the ereader business and how do they do compared to the kindle?Also I have heard kindle can download out of the pdf format but not the epub format like the nook or kobo,in your opinion does that seem to be much of an issue with the kindle compared to the other ereaders that can?


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SusanDeppner 7 weeks ago from Arkansas USA Author

Daniyar, all of the Kindles come with a dictionary! As you're reading, if you come across an unfamiliar word you can touch to highlight it and you'll be given the definition. I'd suggest that you go to the Kindle bookstore and check to see if the books you're going to need for your studies are available in Kindle format. You'll probably find many but not necessarily all. Of course for casual reading, you'll find millions of titles to choose from and I think you'd really enjoy reading on any of the Kindles. As usual, I recommend the Paperwhite because it's very affordable and has the lighted screen so you can read in any lighting situation from dark to bright sunlight. Hope you find exactly what you need!

Daniyar 7 weeks ago

Hello, I am student and I am doing my muster degree in UK. Therefore I have to read many books, magazines and news. I would like to buy Kindle, but I do not know which kind of Kindle will be better for me. My English is not good and I am using dictionary very often. Now I am thinking how kindle can help me and can I download there all my sources what I need to read.

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SusanDeppner 8 weeks ago from Arkansas USA Author

Karen, great questions and thank you for asking! The Paperwhite is very lightweight and should be good for your mom to hold. When I read, I usually hold mine in my open hand, with the cover turned back, gripping it gently on the sides when I have to move it. My hands are fairly small and I have no trouble with that. The brightness is adjustable, as is the text size. She can also adjust the font if she prefers something different, though I think the Bookerly font (default) is very easy to read. She can also set bookmarks to make it easier to go back to spots she might want to reference in her book clubs. I haven't used the more expensive Voyage or Oasis readers so I can't tell you first-hand if there's anything about those that would better suit her. They both have the same ppi as the Paperwhite, so that is good. The more expensive models are lighter, though, about an ounce less for the Voyage and 2.5 less with the Oasis, but that's without the case. The Oasis is self-charging via the (included) self-charging cover, so you'll have to decide if that matters. Overall, I'm extremely happy with my Paperwhite and I can't think of anything that's missing for a senior (I'm a "junior" senior, in my 60s). I'd love to know how she likes the e-reader versus a heavy paper book. I really think she'll love it. Hope this information helps!

Karen 8 weeks ago

Great info, thanks! I don't own an e-reader but I want to get one for my 90-year old Mom. You like the Paperwhite but want to be sure it's right for her. She needs something easy to hold (lightweight), bright and still big enough to comfortably read. Mom leads 2 book groups a month and I want to ensure she can easily transport it ( a case is a must). Is there anything else you'd advise for a senior? We'll go out and have her inspect to make sure it's the right one for her. Any other choices for her to consider? Thank you!

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SusanDeppner 3 months ago from Arkansas USA Author

Great question, Evelyn! Amazon stores all of your books, photos, etc. on their cloud so that it's available across all of your devices. Since the Oasis is a reader, you'll be able to access any of your books at any time to read on the Oasis. You can do that from the Oasis by doing a search for author or title, or you can access your list of books at and load them onto your Oasis from there. It's very easy! Glad you're enjoying your Fire and hope you enjoy your new Oasis reader!

Evelyn 3 months ago

Hello, I want to buy an oasis and am using a fire at the moment. What happens to my books and photos and other data when I get the oasis?

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SusanDeppner 4 months ago from Arkansas USA Author

Thanks for your question, Onza. It's a very good idea to get a case for the Paperwhite or any other reader. I'm not aware of one that you can design yourself (there used to be one, but I haven't been able to locate it). Probably the best case is the one that Amazon makes (it's pricey), but there are plenty of other cases available that fit the Paperwhite well, which is very important. There's a MoKo case that is thin and light, has a magnetic clasp (very convenient), and has excellent customer reviews. The cool thing is that it's available in lots of patterns, so your daughter could choose a really pretty one that she'd like. Best thing is the price, around fifteen dollars. You should find it easily with a search. Hope that helps!

#onza 4 months ago

Hi,I was going to get my daughter a kindle paper white but would like to get her a case so that she doesn't damage it were you you get cases that you can design yourself?

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SusanDeppner 7 months ago from Arkansas USA Author

Thank you for your kind words, Wednesday-Elf! Indeed, I do like carrying my whole library with me when I'm away from home!

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Wednesday-Elf 7 months ago from Savannah, Georgia

I usually read paper books from my large home collection, but having a Kindle is great when you are away from home or traveling. Thanks for putting so many choices together in one place for easy access and selection.

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    Susan Deppner (SusanDeppner)369 Followers
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    Susan got her first Kindle in 2007 and her Amazon Echo in 2015. She enjoys sharing her interest in geeky electronic devices with others.

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