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From the Kindle Nation Mailbag: "Six of One" When It Comes to Kindles That Die

I get emails from Kindle owners every day, and I love to read them. But two I received today were about problems  people were experiencing with their Kindles, and they got me thinking about the possibility that Amazon’s amazingly good Kindle Support could actually lull people into thinking they do not need to protect themselves and their Kindles. Au contraire.

The first email came from my older daughter. You can poke fun at me about this, but yes, I gave Kindles this Christmas to both of my daughters and my son-in-law. That’s not the surprising thing; the surprising thing is that I waited until 2010 to do it.

Anyway, all three of them are loving their Kindles, but late last night my older daughter wrote that “today the screen on mine went a little batty, as if it was broken, but I can’t figure out how to completely turn it off. I did the restart but that didn’t work.” Based on a couple of Kindle 2s of my own that had to be replaced back in 2009, I told her, “if you have any kind of shadowing or remnants of earlier screens they should send you a replacement.”

Within few moments she was on the phone with Kindle support, and she’ll be receiving a replacement Kindle in a day or two. During the conversation she wrote me that “it’s the best outsourced customer service I have experienced so far.”

Just so.

But here’s the problem. The response on these things is so great, when your Kindle is covered by the initial standard warranty, that you might get lulled into assuming you never have to take the next step and get the extended warranty. You might assume the folks at Kindle Support (1-866-321-8851) are always going to solve any problem whether your Kindle is five weeks or five years old.

That’s why it is important that I share the other email that I received this morning from Kindle Nation citizen Grace:

I’m wondering if you can help me.  Last night I dropped my Kindle on the floor.  It’s a  marble floor, ouch.  It landed on the screen but it didn’t break or crack. Two-thirds of the left side of the screen shows the words of the book I was reading the right side just has some distorted white, gray, and black lines.  Is this thing toast or can it be brought back to life?  I’ve turned it off and on, recharged it overnight, but nothing has changed. 

Thanks, Grace

Thanks for writing, Grace. Usually I have to ask a few more questions before I can answer, but this is a pretty vivid picture, and I think the answer is pretty clearly “toast.”

So, the death of a Kindle is far from being the biggest tragedy any of us will ever experience, but it’s a drag. If you happen to have protected your Kindle with an extended warranty either from SquareTrade or from Amazon’s own subsidiary Service Net Warranty Solutions, it’s a lot less of a drag. The warranties aren’t all that cheap, but they are a lot cheaper than a new Kindle, and they cover accidents, spills, and drops, even on a marble floor. They are all listed on the Kindle Nation Warranties page shown in the screenshot at the right, and you can check them out by clicking here or on the screenshot.

The alternatives, I guess, are either to “self-insure” or to just, well, hope for the best. Which I suppose are six of one, half a dozen of the other.

But if you do go that latter route, all may not be last, as noted in this comment from Jim S:

Jim S said…

Even then call Kindle support. They will still replace the broken Kindle out of warranty, but for a fee. Replacing my US K2 was about $130 last Spring. The new screen was much better than the replaced one had ever been, so it seemed well worth the cost.

January 6, 2011 12:55 AM 

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