Caution: Your Kindle May Break

Kindle2-crackedAs of this holiday season, there are a LOT more Kindles out there. Amazon claims that the Kindle was the best selling item in their store. Ever. Some experts put Barnes & Nobles Nook sales at over 500,000 units in 2010.

And guess what? Some of them are going to break.

Yup, it’s a statistical certainty. Even if only 1% of all Kindles break, there’s a lot more of them out there to be broken.

If you check out some of the articles out there, people are already suing Amazon for the Kindle design. As a consumer, you should have a reasonable expectation that an expensive piece of technology has been tested and improved, right?

Well, not so fast. We’re talking about a product that’s been in the wild for under two years. That’s plenty of time to get market feedback, but not really enough to make significant hardware changes to improve the product.

And that’s the trouble with being an early adopter of new technology. YOU are the beta tester.

It’s cool to have a new toy. People want to see it and you get to be a geek superstar. But that comes at a price. Even early iPods broke or had lousy battery life.

Consider Toyota. Toyota worked hard to build their image of reliability, but they did it over many, many years. It didn’t happen in the first year of production.

Don’t be surprised that your basic laptop is more reliable than, say, your Kindle or Nook. Engineers have had years to make these devices more durable. And just because it fits in your backpack doesn’t mean that it will survive the abuse. The outer bezel on the Kindle is nearly flush with the screen, so that 7-inch e-ink display is pretty vulnerable to cracking. (There’s even a discussion on the cracked Kindle display on Amazon.)

Personally, I keep my Kindle in a thick, zip-lock pouch. It’s not  a traditional ebook pouch. I bought mine at an Army Navy supply store. It protects the Kindle from water. Plus it’s so ugly that nobody even looks twice at it.

So, if you got a Kindle or Nook ereader for this holiday season, congratulations. You got a cool, cutting-edge device that will give you many hours of pleasure.

Until it breaks.

LINKS, NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

  • I think consumer expectation is very high. Many people complain about “slow internet access” or battery life in their computers. Not more than 5 years ago teh expected life of a laptop running on a battery was an hour-tops. Most americans still had dial-up at home.

    Expectation changes very fast and the buying public needs to realize that although the Kindle and similar platforms are delicate, they are inherently fragile and can be sensitive to the abuse day-to-day life can put on them.

  • Well said. The sad reality is that this is a portable device that is rather delicate. It’s not like some battle worn ToughBook. It’s a small electronic item with a one- to three-year shelf life. After that, something better will replace it. Maybe the now legendary, but not yet released Apple tablet.

  • michelle

    Ok, but how about those of us who don’t abuse them? I have had my kindle for 9 days, obviously was a christmas present, and now the screen doubles when I try to put it to sleep. Another is that I can’t even shut it off. I have handled it very gently. I do believe that some have misconceptions about advancing technology but I also believe that Amazon should be more truthful in their advertising of the product. The company shouldn’t be putting more kindles out in the market if they know that they are defective products.

  • Michelle – No, clearly Amazon owes you a new Kindle. If it’s a new purchase that came defective, it will be covered by a basic warranty.

    In my mind, this is different than a cracked screen or some sort of broken hardware that’s a result of someone jamming it into a backpack.

    In the meantime, definitely reach out to Amazon and get this resolved while it’s still under warranty! (Then get yourself a nice padded case for your Kindle.)

  • Pingback: Nook – Now for Games Nook – Now for Games : Words + Pictures = Web()