An Open Letter To Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

The following email was sent directly to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Dear Mr Bezos,

My name is Dan Cohen and I am an editor for the tech website www.geardiary.com. I am also a proud Kindle owner. In fact, many of us on the site’s staff have, and love, our Kindles. I’m writing to you regarding an experience I have had over the past few days that clearly struck a cord with readers and Kindle owners worldwide.

It began last Friday when I got a new iPhone and iPod touch and was unable to load some of my kindle books on them. Not wanting to waste time struggling with whatever download issues I had encountered, I called customer service. As usual the rep was pleasant and clearly willing to help. He problem solved the issue with me and was clear and definitive in his conclusion. He explained that different books have different download limits assigned to them and, once reached, require repurchasing the book. As you can imagine, I was more than a bit surprised since this runs counter to the documentation provided by Amazon. I double checked to see if I had understood him properly and was very specific saying “So you are telling me I need to repurchase the book?” He told me I did. When I asked where I could find the limits in the future, he told me I could not since they are set my the publisher and Amazon often does not know.

Mr Bezos, he was clear, unambiguous, and as you know, completely wrong.

The following day it took no less than three more customer reps to get accurate information and even then there was a lack of clarity. Along the way I was given additional information that proved incorrect and was even told the entire episode was the result of server error.

Even after getting clarification that the number of times you can download a book is unlimited but the number of devices is not, I was told that there is no way to know how many different devices one is permitted to use for any given book prior to buying it.

As you may have been made aware, I posted on both conversations. The incredible interest in the story is proof positive that this is a significant issue and needs, at the minimum, a clear, unambiguous clarification. Among the suggestions I would offer-

1. Please put up a page with all the information including the subtle limitations that even your reps don’t know

2. Please immediately retrain your reps so they do not give entirely false information to unaware customers. This entire episode began because one of your reps was completely wrong on the limitations of the DRM connected to Kindle books. While the other issues would still be present, the misinformation that fueled it would not.

Please know this — I am a huge fan of Amazon and a big supporter of the Kindle. I truly believe it is the future, and there is no company better positioned to move people toward this technology than Amazon. You have already shown this to be the case. At the same time, however, when more than 90,000 people take the time to read two articles about my experience it also becomes clear that clarification need to come from the top.

I truly hope you will do just that.

Sincerely
Dan Cohen
Editor Gear Diary
Proud Kindle 2 owner

Link to 1st Post

Link to 2nd Post



About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.