Last week I traded in a few pieces of camera equipment for the new Kindle to really see if I could just whip through books at lightning speed and to my surprise, after about 2 days of use, I managed to mess up the screen. I am in the middle of doing an in depth review of the Kindle 2 that I will post at a later date, but after having the Kindle 2 for about 2 days, I seems that the screen on the Kindle 2 was damaged beyond a simple fix. The reason for this post was really to show what the customer service representative at Amazon did to fix the problem.
For those who don’t know, I really missed my calling in life to be a product tester. No matter what the product, I can an uncanny way of being able to break the unbreakable and find problems or issues that manufactures somehow seem to miss. I was told that the Kindle 2 was tested for durability and could withstand a drop from a two story building, but 2 days in my backpack managed to screw up the top of the screen.
Once I went through the normal troubleshooting that I knew how to do, I called the customer service number for the Kindle. She walked me through a few other tests, had me “reboot” the system (you can hold the power slider over for 20 seconds and that will initiate a reboot on the Kindle 2). After that (all of which took about 2 minutes total) Amazon told me they would just ship me a new one overnight. No questions asked, they just shipped me a new one. They paid for the shipping to return the old one, and I transferred all my book from the old kindle to the new kindle. It was easy as it possibly could have been.
As for what I did to the Kindle, I have no idea. I did put it in my backpack (in its own case) and perhaps to much pressure what applied to the top of the screen somewhere. I am not sure about the 2 story drop, didn’t try that, but I will be a little more careful with it in the future regardless. I was totally and completely thrilled with Amazon’s customer service on the kindle.
That doesn’t really have anything to do with the practicalities of the Kindle, that will come later, but as far as their customer service goes, it was great. Having also sold on Amazon for years, I can say that all of Amazon’s customers service is geared towards their buying customers (as opposed to their sellers) and they will bend over backwards to provide the best service they can.
You can see the screen issue on the photos below. It covers about an inch from the top with a blank line of gray going across the screen with a slash in the upper left corner. The last two shots are what the screen shot from the damaged kindle looks like (so it is seeing everything correctly under the screen issue) and what the new one looked like when it arrived.
Update May 21, 2010
I thought I would update this post with a few comments since it is still one of the most read posts on my blog. As some have suggested, my Kindle was NOT dropped. I simply put it in my backpack, which also wasn’t dropped, and took it out an hour later and it showed up with the damaged screen.
I did get a free replacement from Amazon, but I returned the replacement within a week for a refund (see my review A Not-So-Normal Kindle 2 Review for my reasons), but one major reason was I knew the “free screen replacement” was only going to last a short time, and it was a one time shot. Amazon did replace the damaged screen, but they said they weren’t going to do it again. Looking back now, more than a year later, it was the best decision and I am not super happy with my iPad.
Update February 12, 2011
As this post still gets heavy traffic and questions, I will say after using and testing the Apple iPad since it came out, I have never had a better ebook reader than the iPad and I am looking forward to seeing the new iPad 2 some time around April. The Kindle App for the iPad is one of the ebook reader apps I use, and although not my favorite, I do use it frequently.
The problem I still have with the Kindle is you basically can’t do anything else with it other than read a book. I can type out notes and highlights in my Kindle app on the iPad and it works great. The one great thing Amazon has done for the Kindle is continue to lower it’s price, but if you have an iPad I’m not sure what use one would have for the Kindle.