The Kindle 2 was my Christmas present in 2009 from my family. I have spent most of the last year with nary an issue with my Kindle and I love it to death. It’s how I prefer to read now. I’ve read more books in the last year than in any year past. However, on my trip down to Knoxville, TN for the holidays this year, I was reading along and then all of a sudden my Kindle developed a spot that would not go away; time to call support. So I will cover the good and the bad of my experience with support in this issue.
As soon as I pulled in and I could pull away from my family for a few minutes the day I got to Knoxville, I called Amazon Kindle support and told them the issue. They told me I was still under warranty so they would be replacing the Kindle. So I set it up and they even offered to send it to me at my Mom’s house in Knoxville. I thought this was good! We hung up and I thought it was taken care of. About 10 minutes later, the rep called me back and said that the Kindle 2 was out of stock so they’d refund the old Kindle (which I paid $249 for last year) and I could purchase the Kindle 3 (3G) for less! I thought even better! However, before things were set, we were cut off. I called back in to a different rep and he made me go through it all over again, even though I told him what happened with the previous rep. This was confusing. Anyway, now I was back to getting a Kindle 2, and it was due to be delivered on the 24th.
Flash forward to Christmas Eve. I received the new Kindle and fired it up. It already had my credentials just like last year. I downloaded my collections, but it just downloaded the collections and not the content in them. Why was this? Weird. I figured no problem, I would just go to archived items and get all my books and reassign them to the collections by hand and in fact I would probably take the opportunity to reorganize while I was at it. Everything went well until I went to download the NIV version of the Holy Bible. No matter what I tried, I simply could not get this book to download. So off to support I went.
The support rep sounded a little impatient with me, but we finally figured out that a new version of the book came out. The new version came out and is priced at $9.99 where the old version I bought was only $5.99. I could not download the old version at all. Amazon’s only recourse was to refund the book plus a promotional credit of $6 to my account so I could then purchase the new version. However I couldn’t see where they had applied the promotional credit anywhere on the Amazon web site. I’ll eventually be able to purchase the book again once the $5.99 credit has been applied back to my card. What I would have rather had done was have the $5.99 applied as a Kindle credit, because I wanted to do some Bible reading tonight, as it is Christmas Eve.
I don’t totally blame Amazon. Some of this is the publisher’s fault. They seem to be stuck on bring out revisions of books when the old ones were fine for the most part. After all, they do have to sell books. However, I think Amazon should seriously consider letting past buyers of a book continue to retrieve the old edition and possibly making the buyer aware of the new version. If they did that, I may not have purchased the new version right away, but I may have bought it down the road because I like to support publishers who provide eBooks.
With all all of that said, I do have some things to say about Amazon’s service. First, the device support was good, but I had no way of reconnecting via e-mail or phone to the same rep I was talking to. Replying to Amazon e-mails results in a bounce; that needs to be fixed. Since I could not connect with him, I have a refund and a charge that had to be placed on my account because of me being disconnected with the first rep. Also, why did the first rep not know that they had Kindle 2’s in stock? Why did they even have to call me back? Even though I paid more for my Kindle 2 than the Kindle 3 is currently priced, I would have been fine with the upgrade. Kindle support should just do that if there are no devices in stock. Most people would have been pleasantly surprised with the new version and no one I know of would turn down a free upgrade.
As for the book issue, I don’t mind it happening this way this time, but what about the next time a publisher decides to update? I don’t need or want to have to go to this effort to make sure I can continue with my daily Bible devotionals with my Kindle. I don’t mind purchasing an updated version, but I don’t want to be forced to purchase the updated version. If this had been anything other than a Bible or a reference book I wouldn’t have probably cared. However, the Bible is something I read and reread throughout the year. I study it as a part of my faith. It’s a reference book, to me. It’s not something I am going to purchase over and over again. Being without my NIV version of the Bible isn’t going to be a huge detriment to my holiday season, but it’s not something I like to be without. Until this sorts out, I am without the NIV on my Kindle. It’s this reason that I always have alternative eBook formats of the same book. It shouldn’t have to be this way, but until they figure it out I will keep multiple versions of this Bible version at hand in case this happens again.
The worst thing about this is the kind of experience I just had is one that people will point to when they say they don’t want to go to eBooks. As for me, it’s something I will deal with and complain loudly when it’s messed up. Until these kinds of issues go away, there will always be a need for some dead tree books.