Amazon Kindle 2
Photo: J Muckle/Studio D
The Amazon Kindle 2 hit shelves with much fanfare in late February, but even the most passionate and tech-savvy readers might have decided to pass it up—the $359 price tag was a tall order in the midst of a wintry economic climate. But now spring has sprung, and vacation plans—along with vacation-reading stacks—are being prepared. Lazy days, sandy beaches, and (alas) cramped airline seats are calling to you and your must-read books: all 1,500 of them, if you've got the new Kindle. Who wouldn't be a little curious?

No thicker than your first Golden Book, the Kindle 2 is slimmer and faster than its predecessor: It weighs less than most paperbacks and can deliver entire books to you—some 240,000 to choose from—in less than 60 seconds; page-turning is speedier, too. (And since Kindle font size is adjustable, you might be able to leave your reading glasses at home.) Yes, there's still a certain uniform sterility to the gizmo that bibliophiles might lament: no fresh-cut pages, no penciled-in marginalia, no new-book smell. But while first-generation Kindles shipped with a standard-issue black case, Kindle 2 shows up naked, which means you can dress it up the way you stock it up: any way you please. We're partial to M-Edge's peppy, sturdy jackets.
 Kindle cases

Protect your Kindle 2 from the elements with an M-Edge leather case, which comes in 12 colors ($45;

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