Saturday, December 18, 2010

Amazon's revised statement on problematical non-lighted Kindle covers

See yesterday's blog posting for details on a Kindle-cover problem and the Amazon Kindle team statement concerning a resolution for those affected by problem batches of the non-lighted Amazon Kindle-3 cover.

  At another forum thread, Marc pointed out that the Amazon-forum response had been edited later to change contact-info for the problem (two telephone numbers are now given) and to clarify that Amazon would be be pleased to replace a problem Amazon-manufactured Kindle cover with a different cover rather than just send a replacement cover:
'                                     Last edited by the author 14 hours ago

The Amazon Kindle team says:

There have been some forum discussions regarding the non-lighted Kindle cover, and our engineering team is looking into this.  Regardless, if anyone is having any problem with an Amazon-manufactured Kindle cover, please call us at 877-453-4512 or 206-922-0844.  We will be pleased to replace it for free with a different cover or accept a return for a full refund, no matter when the cover was purchased. '

  Marc also posted the following from his forum reading:
' Other people have indicated that Amazon is offering the lighted cover in exchange, or refunding the original cost of the cover and giving an additional $25 credit to users so they can get the lighted cover, or any other cover of their choice. '

  Marc has provided sourcing on that now and adds the following:
' The two people I mentioned, posted on page 13 of the "This cover. . ." discussion.
You can see them here:

  Check out Robert M Dunlap's comment, fifth from the top, and Darren_C's comment, that is 11th from the bottom. '

Here is Robert M Dunlap's posting:
' Robert M Dunlap says:

I sent an e-mail to customer support as this issue was happening with my Kindle and un-Lighted case as well.  Sure enough, today they called me and they are sending a free lighted case and refunding the cost of my old case.  Talk about customer service, I upgraded and got my money back.  My orders through Amazon are only going to increase from their already high levels from now on. '

Here's Darren's posting, as one who had a service ticket on this situation for over two weeks:
' darren_c says:

Hi everyone,

I just followed up the Kindle CS team tonight and they have refunded my Kindle cover.  I had a service ticket with them for over 2 weeks with this initial problem, before I found out about the cover issue.  When I called tonight to follow up the CS Rep. reviewed the notes on my file and then asked me if I had the Kindle cover, which I said yes.  He began to ask me to try a few tests and then call him back, but I indicated that after finding this thread last week I had taken the Kindle out of the cover and the problems stopped.  But, when I put it back in the problem began shortly thereafter.  He confirmed that they are aware of a problem with the cover.  Here's what he did for me:

He offered to refund the cover and with all shipping fees as one solution.  He also offered to add a $20 credit to be used towards the lighted leather cover, so basically they would give me the more expensive one to replace the other with no extra cost.  I declined the lighted cover since I discovered that actually prefer holding the Kindle "naked" for reading.  I asked him to go ahead and process the refund the cover and I think I will purchase a sleeve or another type of case.

All of this was done in the most friendly way, so kudos to "Josh" (the Rep. I spoke to) for that!  So, in the end Amazon seems to be acknowledging the issue and offering an appropriate solution.

Hope you are all able to find a similar resolution to this, too.

Cheers! '

Scot and also Tony Reynolds were two of the lead customer-sleuths who gathered enough information for Amazon tech support to identify and confirm the cause of the problems.

In late September, I included information about the lighted, hinged cover including the word of mouth on that cover in two forum threads.  If interested in that, you can follow that link and that information is in the bottom half.

If affected by this, contact the Kindle team and see yesterday's blog for links to a less expensive cover if wanted and to a general list of Kindle covers available for those who have reported problems to Amazon and would like to choose a different cover.

As for Amazon's general Kindle customer support, I had reported on their forum "Thanks" to the Kindle community for "millions" of Kindles sold in the first 73 days of this holiday quarter.  The customer-replies to the announcement say quite a bit about the general level of support.

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  1. Last summer I gave my husband a Kindle 3 as a graduation gift, with the non-lighted cover that is causing the problem we're hearing about (his device and cover were in about the third batch to be shipped). His black Amazon cover does have metal hooks. He's not experiencing any problems yet, but he doesn't have quite as much reading time as many other people.

    So today I phoned Amazon Customer Service to ask about the situation and what we might do about his cover. The Customer Service guy waffled some, muttered that their tech people are looking into it, and told me that we should wait until there's a problem and then call. I allowed as how the device is under warranty until July 2011, so we can always just return the entire device should the issue manifest. "yay."

    I understand the hesitation to replace something that isn't causing a problem yet. But the cover's hooks are metal. Why would these particular mass-produced objects be different than others from the same production-run? It's going to happen. I'm just a little disappointed that we have to wait until the paint wears off of the hooks, possibly damaging the electronics in what is at present a perfectly good device. Now he has to sit and wait and hope that the cover doesn't fritz out the device during the academic semester when he'll need to be getting readings done for grad school. His Kindle isn't strictly for entertainment, and the wait to be ambushed by the malfunction might be enough to drive my already-skeptical husband away from the technology -- which would be a shame since he's been enjoying the e-ink display. He'd have to return the device, be without it for some period, and then re-build anything that might be lost in the move from fritzy device to replacement (settings, non-Amazon content, etc.).

    I have a functional Kindle 2, which I continue to use and enjoy. I had a Kindle 3 3g + wifi and Amazon cover in my cart as 'save for later' for myself, because I received a gift certificate to cover the cost of the new Kindle but wasn't ready to abandon my K2. I have just deleted both Kindle 3 and cover from my 'save for later' list. What had pretty much been a no-brainer has become something I need to think about a little more deeply. I do like the Kindle 3; and the search functionality on my K2 no longer works at all. But do we *need* three Kindles for two people? Perhaps this time I should pick up a device that would permit library borrowing. Now I'm just not sure.

    I don't feel entitled to anything special. But I'm disappointed when a product is determined to have a defect, and the response to that fact is piecemeal. More even than that, I think it's a shame that it wasn't discovered and dealt with before the product went to market. It's beyond ironic that electronics professionals who wouldn't dream of fishing in the toaster with a stainless steel butter knife would build a device/accessory combination in which metal parts can make unintended contact with the device's electronics.

    I also wonder whether Amazon couldn't just have a bunch of pairs of thin little hook insulators manufactured, and send them en masse to those with Amazon covers, and/or on request.

  2. Your note actually does not sound as if you read my blog article's details on all this, as several of your questions were answered in it.

    Most customers have not had a problem. I think news reports have reported that about a 100 out of what probably is a million (buying the default cover) have reported problems with it and that it more likely has to do with batches from a factory or factories. I also gave the reasons that have been discussed.

    If you don't want the Kindle 3 because there was a problem with a cover for some owners, you need to follow your gut instinct. It doesn't seem that you're comfortable with anything on which there is any problem even if it's with a cover. Beware any e-reader in that case.

    While electrical tape will fix it, so will scotch tape actually. But so far your husband has not had a problem to fix. IF worried, though, put a little electrical tape around the tips.

    And follow your instincts about getting another type of e-reader since other aspects that the Kindle doesn't have are important to you.

    And, yes, if library books are important to you then you should get an e-reader that can access public library books, for sure...

  3. I am new to the Kindle, just bought one in November 2010. And since Day 1 have been plagued with reboots and lossing my place in my books. It has gotten worse this week and when I called Amazon support they say it is my cover. So, they refunded the cost of the cover and gave me $25 off the lighted cover. I find it really hard to believe the cover is causing issues with the device, but am willing to try the lighted cover. Has anyone with these kindle problems upgraded to the lighted cover and had all there problems solved? I'm a little skeptical that the cover would make that much difference. I guess time will tell.

  4. Gary,
    Welcome to Kindle land. Believe it. Amazon would not both refund your money and then credit you with the added amount needed to buy the more expensive lighted one unless it were true.

    It's explained in a couple of columns here. A good starting place is

    Tons of people in the Kindle forums have found that removing it stopped the problems. It was also Kindle users who deduced it was the cover. It took Amazon a bit longer to come around to that idea also. Others have just fixed it by applying electrical- or scotch tape at the point of the upper hinge.

    Maybe after you get the replacement cover, you might come back and write a follow-up comment on whether or not it works for you.

  5. this may sound a little strange on the cover issue since everyone is holding the slide button on for longer periods of time to reboot it but i read somewhere that if you slide and hold the button to turn the kindle on too long this can also cause freezing of the device. i have a kindle 3G with an unlighted cover. when i tried sliding the button and holding it for just two short seconds it comes on every time now. before when i had probloems i was holding it on until i saw the screen begin to change before i released it and evidently this can also cause a problem. i didn't want to give up my lime green cover so i like this solution better. i did not add any tape to my contact points. just hold the slide button on for a shorter period of time and don't wait until you see the screen begin to change.

  6. Kristine,
    I think that's a myth though.
    Holding it only 2 seconds is barely enough to turn it off, which is all it does. It doesn't reset it to clear up mem problems or anything. It's like turning off your computer instead of restarting it.

    Sometimes people accidentally start a search and it just seems to freeze their Kindle.

    It is much, much better not to keep turning it off and on, as turning it on takes much more battery than letting it sleep.

    See Kindle Team advice at to just let it sleep.

    That you could just turn it off like that meant it wasn't even frozen! :-) A freeze means it doesn't respond to anything, including turning it off...

    The cover problem will happen more in winter due to low humidity and cold.

    It's good that there are no real probs in your case (unintended pun) though.

    Thanks for the feedback on yours.


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