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Old 09-20-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
kdgarris
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Cheap E-Ink reader for 8 year-old

So, my 8 year-old is a big-time reader, and keeps asking for a Kindle. I am at least considering it, although I do have some concerns about him accidentally breaking one if he had it.

Anyway, have any of you ever bought an e-reader for a young child? If so, what kind, and what were your reasons? Price is a big factor, so while the easiest thing to do would be to get a Kindle 3, since my fiance and I already have Kindles, but I want to at least consider other options that could either be cheaper or somehow better-suited for a young child.

For Kindles specifically, where would you go to get the least expensive used or refurb option?
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:51 PM   #2
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When I was 8 year old my parents got me a remote controlled car (and I think those toys were rather expensive back then) and it broke on the very first day wheel broke when it hit the road/pavement edge. Lots of other toys (expensive or not) met a similar fate in my hands.

If your son loves to read, that's great, and you should support him - get him a reader but before you give it to him, make sure he knows that it is expensive, not a toy, to be handled with care, and that he won't get a new one if he breaks it (unless the money comes out of his own pocket money).

The only danger I see with the Kindle is that there's a store built in so depending on how you set it up, he could end up spending money with it, or download books not suitable for 8 year olds. So a cheaper reader without Wifi could be better as you could choose which books to put on it (unless of course he already has & knows how to use a PC). But you'd have to be able to get DRM-free books for him as Kindle books don't work on non-kindle readers. If all you had so far was Kindle and you bought all your books from the Kindle store, you might want to stick to it if you don't want to deal with the world of non-Kindle ebook DRM...
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:56 PM   #3
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try waterstones they have a sale on their ereaders including a 5"eink model for around £80 or tft for £50.

cheers ,mick.

just noticed you live in usa so dont know if you have a waterstones

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Old 09-20-2011, 04:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kdgarris View Post
So, my 8 year-old is a big-time reader, and keeps asking for a Kindle. I am at least considering it, although I do have some concerns about him accidentally breaking one if he had it.

Anyway, have any of you ever bought an e-reader for a young child? If so, what kind, and what were your reasons? Price is a big factor, so while the easiest thing to do would be to get a Kindle 3, since my fiance and I already have Kindles, but I want to at least consider other options that could either be cheaper or somehow better-suited for a young child.

For Kindles specifically, where would you go to get the least expensive used or refurb option?
Kindle Wi-Fi SO ($114) is probably one of the cheaper options if you want an e-ink reader with Pearl screen. I've never bought an e-book reader for a child but I believe you're the best person to gauge if your child is responsible enough for an e-reader.

That said, I'm not sure if you can "child-proof" the Kindle library so you might still want to register your child's Kindle to a separate Amazon account without credit cards, etc attached and just un-DRM the books you buy for him/her from your account.

Last edited by ilovejedd; 09-20-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:05 PM   #5
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If he does have an accident and breaks the Kindle, it is very likely that Amazon will replace at least one Kindle at no cost.

Make sure you get him a good, sturdy case, and tell him to be very careful not to crush it in his schoolbag with his other supplies.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:38 PM   #6
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If your 8 year old plays with and breaks anything, he'll break an e-reader. So far, the only reader that has been offered that's even close to tough enough for a kid that ever leaves the house is being released in Russia because we keep killing the good ideas. (keep your eye out for Plastic Logic PL100, which has a screen that can take a smack and not break)
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:01 PM   #7
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Some good thoughts; thanks everyone.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Some good thoughts; thanks everyone.
I'd suggest Kindle w/SO wifi refurb - $99, IIRC. Mind you, new is only $114.

At 8 (young eyes, very good close vision) he might prefer a 5" eInk reader with the 200dpi screen. In the UK Waterstones are selling the Bookeen Opus at about £90/$150, but I couldn't find it so cheaply in the US.

The BIG advantage of the Kindle is their replacement policy. My son (22!) has had two, free, replacement kindles after his screen broke, in the original and later in the replacement. Hopefully his third will last a lot longer.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:55 PM   #9
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So, my 8 year-old is a big-time reader, and keeps asking for a Kindle. I am at least considering it, although I do have some concerns about him accidentally breaking one if he had it.
Make a good cover for it.
I would consider making a box from extruded polystyrene (normally used as insulation under the floor). I would glue a thin sheet of something (a thin sheet of plywood or a piece of laminate used for printed circuits). Then I would make a kid for the box. In such a box the device has much better chance to survive being dropped on floor.
Nice cover can be made from a hollowed our old book. You need a glue and exacto knife.
At the very least DO buy a nice cover.
For Kindle there are nice metal boxes lined with neoprene.

You can also scour ebay and craiglist for used e-ink readers.

5 inch device, such as Sony 350 (aluminium body) or PocketBook 360 (nice integrated lid) might prove to be sturdier than Kindle - they are much smaller, so twisting the device exerts less force on the screen.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:54 AM   #10
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For an 8 year old, I'd look to buy a used Kindle 2 or refurb Kindle 3.
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:30 PM   #11
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I agree with others the refurb kindle 3 is your best bet, add a hard case to it to help protect it.
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:49 PM   #12
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I bought my niece a Sony Reader (PRS-350, with a 5 inch screen, and a case as well) for her 9th birthday. I explained to her that the screen is very fragile and that she has to be very careful with it. She has had it for 4 months and has not had any problems, and I have noticed that she is reading a lot more, and she constantly using the dictionary look up feature to learn new words. I paid $105 for the PRS-350. All in all, I am very happy that I chose that gift for her.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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Does your 8 year old often break and mistreat his things, or do you say that just because he's an 8 year old? I can almost guarantee that if I had a Kindle at 8, I'd probably still have it today*. If he breaks and mistreats his things, maybe he shouldn't have an ereader at all? It's fate is almost assured. Just food for thought.

In your shoes, I would probably go for a K3 w/ wifi with ads and put it in the Amazon stock leather case. I wouldn't bother with refurb, it's like $15 difference. The stock leather case is really good and very strong. It's also the only case that I know of that actually holds the K3 by the chassis, not by weak little straps at the corners. If he drops the K3 and the case is on, even if its open, the K3 will probably be okay. it won't bounce out or skitter away like I've seen happen to people who don't have it.

Everyone drops their device at some point during its life, and they are meant to take a bit of it.

Another thought is to look on Ebay for a used Sony 505. These are metal and seem to be built like tanks. I've dropped mine on many occasions, works fine. A slight marring on the metal and that's about it.

*Yep, I know I said if I had a Kindle at age 8 it would still be around today, and then admitted to dropping the 505 on many occasions. It's still around though! lol
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:05 PM   #14
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In your shoes, I would probably go for a K3 w/ wifi with ads and put it in the Amazon stock leather case. I wouldn't bother with refurb, it's like $15 difference. The stock leather case is really good and very strong. It's also the only case that I know of that actually holds the K3 by the chassis, not by weak little straps at the corners. If he drops the K3 and the case is on, even if its open, the K3 will probably be okay. it won't bounce out or skitter away like I've seen happen to people who don't have it.
I recently knocked my K3 off a 4' high wall onto concrete, and it landed on "edge". To my relief, though, although it's knocked a small (2mm or so) chip out of the plastic of the top edge, it's otherwise unharmed.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:04 PM   #15
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He is just often careless and forgetful, with a bit of clumsy thrown in. Not a good combo for e-reader ownership, I suppose. He loves to read and really wants one, though, so I want a way to make it work. I think the combination of a hard case along with teaching good habits of where to keep the device when it is not in use, etc. may work well for him.
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