About Sad Sony Readers and Other Things

May Collen Lindsay’s Sony Reader have gone to a better place.

And now, a bit of commentary now on Sony’s approach versus Amazon’s approach towards broken Readers/Kindles.

I don’t hate my Kindle’s relatives.

Look, I don’t hate the Sony Reader. It’s an e-ink reader, a cousin of my beloved, so how could I hate it? Long live e-ink readers of all sorts and types! And competition in the marketplace is a good thing.

But I am ashamed of the Sony replacement policy, with a horribly short warranty that of course ends up being basically a no-replacement strategy. Sony customers should have better experiences with customer service. Unfortunately I keep hearing about bad experiences with other kinds of Sony devices, most notably the PS3 (although Sony seemed okay when we only had the PS2 available).

That’s just inexcusable.

How Amazon approaches the Sad Kindle problem.

The customer experience seems much different with respect to sad broken Kindles. Perhaps because the Kindle 1.0 is acknowledged by Amazon as more of an early adopter device, Amazon bends over backwards in the replacement area.

A former co-worker of mine, um, broke his Kindle himself (that’ll teach him to not use the cover while the thing is in his backpack). Even though the breakage was his fault (unlike in the case of the unfortunate Sony Reader above, where it was Sony’s fault), his replacement Kindle was delivered the next day. Incredible next part of story: for free. Including shipping the old Kindle back.

Maybe he just got an angel for a customer service representative, but… I’m pretty sure that it indicates some kind of very kind customer policy over there. (And no, he doesn’t work for Amazon, so it’s not a nepotism thing.)

I’m not sure what the Kindle 2.0’s policy will be (is it no longer an early adopter device? Or will this policy be preserved even if it’s not considered an early adopter device anymore by Amazon?), but that incident really impressed me with Amazon’s commitment to its Kindle customers.

But it makes sense to bend over backwards.

I think Amazon’s policy makes more business sense for them than it seems on the surface.

First, obviously the customer remains happy and is more likely to stay with Amazon and the Kindle. No mystery there.

Second, the broken Kindle may only be slightly broken and thus fixable. This means you save on building an entirely new Kindle, or at the very least you have spare parts (which wouldn’t surprise me if they were expensive). Even at the very, very least they can try to figure out why the Kindle broke, so that Kindle 2.0 doesn’t break that way.

Win all around, really, even if other companies raise their noses at Amazon’s foolish customer appeasing ways.

And now, about Reader and Kindle cases.

The way that now dearly departed Reader broke is that its screen started showing lines, and then totally froze itself. Couldn’t even be reset with that thing that requires an unbent paperclip to press. Apparently this may be at least partly caused by the e-Ink screen’s susceptibility to damage by poking or uneven pressure.

Which made me think about cases for the Reader and the Kindle. The Reader case is kind of cold. It’s just plastic without any soft bits. I didn’t really judge on that, because hey, if it works, it works. But now that I think about the e-Ink screen, that sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

The Kindle case, on the other hand, while it’s not pretty, has a couple functional features that I only slowly discovered after using it for a while.

The first, and most relevant to this case, is the cushion over the screen. If you look at the left inside of a Kindle case, it has a big cushiony thing that totally matches the size and placement of the Kindle screen, spreading out any pressure that may be put on the Kindle case.

The second, also related, is that the material lining the inside of a Kindle cover is somewhat chamois-like. I’m pretty sure it’s not chamois, but it works well when protecting a screen from scratches.

The third, not as related, is that the outside material, some kind of faux leather, is actually fairly non-slip. And even if the outside of the case gets a little wet, its reaction is usually to get “stickier”, not more slippery. (On the other hand, if you completely soak your case, you probably have other problems to worry about than if the case is now slippery.)

How long we’ve been together.

I got my Kindle in July 2008. It’s February 2009 now, so our love our relationship my significant other Kindle has lasted over six months, and is still happy.

For those who are concerned that closing the Kindle case puts undue pressure on the scroll wheel and the keyboard: I’ve only used the default cover with my Kindle, even fastened it down with the stretchy black band, but the wheel is still quite useable, indeed, it’s still like new. My entire Kindle is still like new. I mean, yes, I wipe it down carefully from time to time with those special cloths for electronic things, but it’s barely ever gotten dirty. Probably because of the snuggle of the cover.

And for those who are concerned about the Kindle in their backpack or bookbag: okay, don’t be like my acquaintance mentioned and not use the cover. But I’ve used the cover all along, and my Kindle hasn’t broken (or even shown signs of stress) even though I’ve carried it in my laptop bag with books and the 15″ MacBook Pro. I actually partly sat on my Kindle in its cover once, and for about 20 minutes actually (I’m never going to live that down), but it was still unharmed. That was about a month ago.

I also have spent torrid nights with my Kindle in bed ((I don’t know, is that TMI?)), and usually I leave it to recharge on my bed as well.

I hope we’re still happy for our 1-year anniversary, but I don’t know how 1.0’s going to react what’s going to happen when 2.0 comes along.

2 thoughts on “About Sad Sony Readers and Other Things

  1. The Sony e-reader is a horrible product. Mine did not develop lines that many users experienced. Instead, it, like many others I now find, it just started freezing and neither soft nor hard reset will fix it. Sadly, I discovered this during a year long deployment to Afghanistan for which I purchased a dozen books of which I will now not get to read about half of them, because I will never buy a Sony product again.

Comments are closed.