As an early adopter (November 2007) of the Kindle I have been a rather ardent fan of what could now be considered the forerunner of e-readers. I recently downloaded several titles that I wanted to read. I opened my Kindle the other night to see some odd horizontal lines across the entire screen yet the device was in the off position. After charging and recharging with no change in the display it was obvious that the flame had gone out on my Kindle.
Out of warranty (this one was more than a year old) apparently I am out of luck. So now I have several titles in my account that I cannot view unless I purchase a new Kindle or I guess return my Kindle to Amazon (at my cost) and hope that they can somehow repair it for less than the cost of the now reduced price of $ 259. I paid $ 399 for mine and it does thrill me that not once did Amazon offer me some sort of discount on purchasing the latest version which apparently is superior to the one that I have. Of course mine now does not work at all so a book with no printing is on a par.
A little history – the first one I received did not work and I had to send it back. Amazon had me check a bunch of things prior to agreeing to replace it which they did with no questions asked. Then I had another one which after several months also went dead. Again through the checklist that Amazon has you do on the phone (a half hour or so) with their tech person before they assented to my sending it back for yet a third which I received and has been working fine for more than a year.
I have been (and remain) a fan of Amazon in general. Jeff Bezos is a smart guy and has defied his critics in managing a company that has a stellar reputation for customer service and intuitive product offerings. But I really don’t understand the idea of not offering a replacement for a broken Kindle ANY TIME a customer asks. After all aren’t I going to use that platform to purchase e-books for the foreseeable future? And I buy a fair amount of books. I can ‘return’ those titles that I downloaded but have not read for some sort of rebate but that really does not solve my problem. I love e-readers (as well as traditional books) and think they will only get better (how about color folks and a back-lighted screen option?).
So now I have to reconsider my entire relationship with Amazon’s Kindle. Maybe the Sony Reader, or the new device from Plastic Logic, or maybe even the new Barnes & Noble device. What a shame, the Kindle had me at hello.
If you have iphone/itouch you can access your Amazon ebook account that way. An itouch isn’t a bad short-term device until Bezos, having seen Kindle sales plummet in Q2 2010 with introduction of Apple tablet, opens his platform to other devices.
Thanks for sharing the story — a good reminder that even in a virtual world we consume content on physical devices that can fail us.