My Kindle display self-destructed

The Kindle is a beautiful device...if only you can keep it from self-destructing.

The Kindle display...dead after two days Matt Asay

I was planning to write about how much I'm loving the Amazon Kindle. I got one to try to consolidate some of the weight and clutter I routinely carry with me on trips in the form of books/magazines/newspapers, and spent several hours on my Cincinnati to London flight absolutely loving the device.

The wireless connectivity and other technological features of the Kindle are nice, but that's not where it shines, in my view. No, it's the feel of the Kindle that is amazing. I read for hours, surprised by how well it rested in my hands and by the exceptional display.

Well, the display was "exceptional" until it stopped working. I got to my hotel an hour ago and, since I couldn't yet check in, decided to open up the Kindle to read. Despite having used it just two hours ago on the train into London, and having done absolutely nothing that could have physically impacted the screen (Rode in a taxi? Checked in at my hotel? The Kindle was safely protected in my bag all the while...), the screen is apparently dead.

I've contacted Amazon customer service and will wait to see what they say, but as I'm thousands of miles from home and won't be back in the US until Wednesday, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go buy another copy of Dickens' The Pickwick Papers so that I'll be able to finish it on my flight home. Annoying, especially as I was set to recommend to everyone that they rush out to buy a Kindle.

At $350, that's roughly $175 per day that I paid to use the Kindle, and I only ended up using it on the second day. Amazon needs to fix my Kindle but, even more importantly, it needs to fix its hardware problems. I'm apparently not the only one having problems with the Kindle screen.

Again, I loved the reading experience with the Kindle, which is saying something given how tired I was on the plane. But the Kindle needs to work for more than two days to be worth the hefty price tag. Much as I'd like to keep this device, I can't justify to my wife a $350 paperweight, and how can I trust that it will stay operational on my next trip?


UPDATED: I've been scouring the web to see how Amazon has been handling problems similar to mine. To its credit, Amazon appears to be very responsive and has been replacing the faulty Kindles.

This begs the question, however, as to why Amazon has let the faulty Kindle sit on the market for so long without fixing the problem. When complaints came in to Apple about its easily scratched iPod Nano, Apple quickly moved to improve the Nano. So far, Amazon has done nothing but replace easily-broken Kindles.

One thing Amazon could do is to ship the Kindle with a protective case. By this I don't mean the cheesy leather "book cover" with which it ships, but rather a hard case that can protect the screen (if, in fact, the problem stems from physical damage being done to the screen, though this wasn't the case for me). I couldn't find a hard case on Amazon to go with the Kindle.

At any rate, Amazon needs to do something. Two days and $350 later, my Kindle is broken, and I'm struggling to come up with a reason beyond defective design or receiving a "lemon."

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Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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