Do I Still Love My Kindle?

By Marilynne Rudick on September 2, 2011

Nine months and 21 eBooks later, do I still love my Kindle?  Yes and no. On the “yes” side is the ease of traveling with it and the gratification of getting a new book instantly.

On the “no” side: my Kindle died on my recent vacation. That necessitated an emergency trip to Goodwill to stock up on some print books.

Customer Service: Yes and No

Happily, my Kindle was still covered by the one-year warranty. (In my opinion the warranty is too short.) I was pleased at how quickly the issue was resolved by Amazon customer service. After describing the problem—a corrupted screen—the rep quickly arranged for a replacement and e-mailed me instructions for printing out a UPS label so I could return the broken Kindle on Amazon’s dime. The replacement arrived in two days.

My pleasure quickly dissipated when I couldn’t download my archived eBooks to my new device. Amazon keeps a backup of your library on its server, so you don’t lose your eBooks if your Kindle crashes. I called customer service. It turns out that the replacement should have arrived ready-to-go. But it had been configured incorrectly. It took about 45 minutes for the customer service rep to diagnose and resolve the problem. The agent was pleasant, apologetic and persistent.

Escalating eBook Prices: No

Also in the “no” column is the increasing cost of Amazon eBooks. At first, most new books and best sellers were $9.95—squeaking under my $10 limit on impulse purchases. But now I’m finding that the books I want to read are $12.99 and up. The “up” includes a whopping $19.95 for David McCullough’s newest book The Greater Journey. At that price, I’ll buy the hardback instead ($21.01) and pass it on to other history buffs. (Kindle eBooks are not easily shared.)

Library Lending: Yes

My love affair may be “rekindled” by some coming-soon Kindle enhancements. By the end of the year, Amazon is planning to roll out its library lending program. Kindle customers will be able to check out a Kindle eBook from their local library. Just how will it work? Will there be a borrowing charge? Stay tuned for details.

Amazon Tablet: Maybe

Also expected before the end of 2011 is the new Amazon tablet. The buzz is that it will have fewer bells and whistles than Apple’s iPad (for example, no camera). But it will cost hundreds less. If you are still on the fence about whether to purchase an eBook reader or an iPad, wait to see whether Amazon’s tablet is a worthy contender. This could be the hot holiday gift.

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