The next generation of Kindles should have in-built plastic covers. I think it's bad design (well... from the non-financial side of things) if 90% of users need to buy what should be an optional accessory. I know some people don't use covers, but if you're ever going to take the Kindle on a trip, the risk is just too great.
The other electronics I have do not have this issue:
- ipod - had a case on my 4G, didn't both with the 5G. The screen isn't too bad. Not new looking, but with the backlight you can't really see the scratches
- laptop - cannot directly damage the screen if you have it closed.
- cellphone (capacitive touchscreen) - Has a screen cover over it because I don't want the screen scratched, but otherwise unprotected.
I can't imagine just tossing my kindle into my bag with all my other stuff like I can with my ipod and my phone.
A couple of suggestions:
1. The normal clamshell design. Eg. laptops, cellphones. It can probably utilise the current side hinge system, tho the Kindle will probably have to be flat (no curves) for this to work.
2. The type of slid on/off covers used by calculators. When not in use slide it to protect the screen, then slide it on to the back when you are using it. I'm sure they can find a way to design it so that the back/forward buttons aren't affected