There are plenty of e-readers to buy new and you have to pay full price. There are a growing number of companies that are offering refurbished e-readers. These are often returns, where customers either used them for a brief amount of time or had buyers remorse and sent them back immediately. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo all sell refurb devices, either directly or via their websites. Would you buy a refurbished e-reader?
Amazon sells a fair number of refurbished Kindles on their website, but they call it renewed, which I guess sounds better. In order to find a renewed Kindle or if they are available you have to visit the Kindle page for the device you are looking for, in whatever country you are located in. Under Add to List is normally an option to buy renewed or it will say no renewed options are available. You can checkout the new Paperwhite 4 on the US version of the site to see that it is in stock for $79 and it is $89 new.
Barnes and Noble sells refurbished models directly on their website. They normally have the previous generation Nook Glowlight 3 always available. The normal price is $119 and the refurb price is $89, so this is quite the savings if you want to buy it used. The new Nook Glowlight Plus 7.9 is occasionally available, but not always. I guess the bookseller normally waits until they have a bunch of returns in stock and then updates the listing. B&N also sells the Glowlight 3 on Amazon as a renewed product.
Kobo has just launched a new refurb section on their website , they used to sell them on Ebay, but shuttered the program a few months ago. They also sell them on Amazon, you can often find the Kobo Aura available and other models are only occasional availability. Some retailers that do not go through the Amazon fulfillment center also sell used Kobos, you can normally find the Kobo Clara HD available used. If you live in the Netherlands, you can find them for example on bol.com. Also Mediamarkt.nl and BCC.nl sell refurbished Kobo e-readers.
The Sony Digital Paper can normally be purchased used by other retailers, but you don’t get the same warranty as the Amazon renewed program. The 10.3 inch Sony Digital Paper DPT-CP1 is normally available for $398 and you can get the refurb for $339. The 13.3 inch variant normally is sold for $598 and it sells used for $501, so almost $100 off.
Onyx Boox and Boyue normally sell their e-readers directly through various Amazon websites, but there are no refurbs available.
The one thing I like about buying used or refurbished e-readers is the sustainability factor. Fewer new products have to be made and fewer raw materials are needed. Reuse of devices also contributes to reducing electronic waste.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.