Amazon Kindle Lighted Leather Cover hands-on

It's true of other portable electronics and it applies here, too: if you own an e-reader, there's a strong argument to be made that you need a case. Sure, readers are a little more scratch-resistant than smartphones, but a little bit of backpack trauma can do some nasty things to an e-ink display. That could be Amazon's elevator pitch, anyway. Introduced at the company's launch event last week, the Kindle Lighted Leather Cover comes in various sizes, with versions for the Kindle Touch and fourth generation Kindle. We spent some hands-on time with the latter over the weekend and have to say: we're liking what we're seeing so far. Read on to find out why.%Gallery-135517%

The Kindle Lighted Leather Cover is quite nice looking, with a glossy leather exterior available in four colors, and visible stitching around its border. Open the front flap and you'll be treated to a a soft, suede-like material, which should prove gentle on the reader's six-inch display. And really, at $60, it ought to be well-designed. After all, at that price it's almost as expensive as the $79 ad-supported Kindle. The case also adds considerable weight to the product -- at 4.8 ounces, it's nearly as heavy as the 5.98-ounce Kindle. Most of the weight is located toward the rear of the case, which also adds a bit of thickness, as you'd expect. There are plenty of Kindle cases that are cheaper and lighter -- heck, Amazon makes a few itself.

But what the case lacks in relative affordability and portability, it makes up in glorious light. It has a built-in reading lamp, which connects to the two metal tabs on the rear of the new Kindles, letting the reader power the light. The light is located on the top of the cover, a little arm that, once swung out, lights up the screen. It's small but powerful, and can handily illuminate the front of the reader, even in total darkness. Check out the pic below if you think we're exaggerating!

The Kindle slips into the cover quite nicely. The chances that the device will fall out of the case while you're reading are quite small -- in fact, once it's in, it takes a good deal of prying to get out. Once you've got the reader nestled in there, you can flip the front cover around and out of the way.

The Kindle Lighted Leather Cover is currently up for pre-order from Amazon, with the fourth-generation case expected to ship November 15th, followed by the Kindle Touch version a week later. Both will run you $60, which, again, is a smidge pricey -- particularly for the $79 reader. Still, it but it may be well worth the investment for those of you who tend to give your gadgets a beating. Given the delayed shipping time, though, it can't hurt to kill some time looking into cheaper, third-party cases, right?