One of the best sources for one-of-a-kind cases for your Kindle (or Nook, Kobo, etc.) is Etsy, the handmade items retailer. Etsy’s particularly great for padded sleeves, because you can choose from a hundred different fabric patterns instead of four manufacturer colors, or even request fabrics. However, you can also find some pretty sophisticated leather and felt designs, as well as quirky cases made from old books.
Here are a few of my current favorites from the site. Just remember to check the seller ratings and shipping times before you order, especially if it’s supposed to be a gift; this isn’t Amazon and every seller operates differently.
Rogue Theory offers lightly padded fabric sleeves in a huge variety of patterns. Best of all, at $20 ($15 + $5 shipping) they’re among the most affordable Kindle accessories around.
Sakizome’s Kindle sleeves are slightly less tailored looking than Rogue Theory’s, and tend to come in more offbeat and retro fabrics. They’re also incredibly affordable at just under $20 after shipping, but because the maker lives in Singapore they may take longer to arrive to U.S. addresses.
If you prefer a hinged cover but still want the appeal of printed fabric, try CW Creations. These cases are $30-$40 with shipping (more to non-U.S. addresses), and come with simple corner flaps to hold the Kindle in place. If you want a leather look but don’t want leather, the designer has a couple of distressed brown vinyl options that might appeal to you.
Or maybe you want real leather, exotic leather, like from a giant crazy bird that can kick you in the face. If so, try GardenourLeather. The red ostrich case pictured here is one of their most expensive sleeves at $85 (shipping included, U.S. and Canada only), although there are other options in the $45-55 range.
Another option for leather lovers is the office of minor details, which for $65 ships anywhere in the world. (See photo at the top of this post for a better look.) Their leather cases with flaps are some of the most elegant Kindle sleeves I’ve ever seen.
If you’re not into leather but still want something that’s elegant, the $40 wool felt sleeves from CaseClosedUK are pretty striking, but in a sophisticated way that subtly tells people, “I like felt.”*
Update: Six minutes after I posted this, most of the felt cases disappeared from CaseClosedUK’s Etsy shop. I’d like to think that my post helped them sell out, but it was more likely just weird timing. Fortunately, there are still other vendors on Etsy selling felt sleeves in a variety of patterns.
And finally, we come to the cases that I love best of all but will probably never personally use: repurposed vintage books, like these from spoonfulofchocolate. I love them in concept because frankly they look awesome–who wouldn’t want to be seen reading a Lassie hardcover? Still, I worry that after month six, people might start talking about my apparent inability to finish a kid’s book about a dog and a mountain cat. Prices run approximately $35-45 depending on where it ships.
If you’re somewhere in Europelandia, a country I just made up that’s not the U.S. (see, we do know our geography!), you might want to also try out DaWanda, which is sort of an EU version of Etsy and may offer better prices and shipping fees.