A while back, I bought a Kindle . I’d been playing with the iPhone version for a while, and with the onset of Big Commute, thought I’d give it a thrash.

In general, I have to say I’ve been pretty impressed with it.

On the downside, I’m now on my third one – the displays don’t appear to be strong enough to withstand being carried in a backpack without an additional case. The first one cracked after a couple of weeks, the second one cracked within 24 hours, and the third one has been fine – allbeit because I’ve now got a purple leather case for the damn thing.

Throughout the problems, and the need to replace two devices, I was really impressed with Amazon’s customer services. In both cases, I went to the website, registered the issue, and clicked “Call me now”. Immediately, the phone rang, I was put through to an adviser, and the issue got sorted. The replacement was couriered out (and arrived next day) and I then had 28 days each time to send the broken device back – again, postage paid and done by courier. It was the most painless returns scheme I’ve seen in a very long time – and impressively done.

As for the Kindle itself, it’s a nice bit of kit. The eInk display is a bit slow and weird to update, but you get used to it very quickly. Actually, the entire thing is a bit slow – if you’re used to blipping through options etc., you have to learn to slow down a bit. I think it’s all down to the limitations of the display, but it’s livable-with.

Reading on it is – I find – very simple. No eye-strain (there’s no backlight, so it’s black text on a grey screen) and no problems. The text is clear, regardless of font size, and all told it’s pretty good.  Purchasing books is totally painless – click to order the book, and within 30 seconds it’s on the device. Very nice indeed.

It’s not the same as reading a ‘proper’ book- but it’s also a lot less intrusive, and easier in crowded situations. A lot of the books I’m reading at the moment are “trade paperback” size – which seems to mean ‘about the same size as a hardback’ – and on the Tube or whatever, they’d be a pain to read while people thump past all the time. With the Kindle, it’s a lot easier.

All told, I doubt Kindle will replace my books totally. However, when it comes to reading while commuting, it may just make the difference.

One Comment on “Kindle”

  1. Blue Witch says:

    Very impressive returns service. When Amazon first started in the UK I had to return a book 4 times before they sent me one that hadn’t got a creased cover (obviously a batch problem that no-one bothered to identify). Each time I had to pay to return the item, and they refused to send me another until they had the damaged one back. They then (initially!) refunded me less that it had cost to return the item, on each occasion. After a few other similar problems and appalling customer service each time, I gave up with Amazon, and found other, cheaper, places from which to purchase.

    I think you hit the nail on the head about Kindles (and many other electronic gadgets): they mostly are good for one particular purpose: many travel, especially by public transport, related.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *