May 20, 2008

Day 16: Amazon Kindle, R.I.P.
        Or John Updike's Revenge
Well I just remembered why, until now, I've never been an early adopter of things technological.

Ironically, last night my stepson said mentioned something about how anything electronic is far more fragile than a physical book. Prescient he.

It could be the WASP equivalent of Montezuma's Revenge, i.e. John Updike's revenge, for at a convention of booksellers he spoke of the ideal of “the printed, bound and paid-for book” and worried that book readers and writers were “approaching the condition of holdouts, surly hermits who refuse to come out and play in the electric sunshine of the post-Gutenberg village.”

Indeed what was I thinking? From the get-go I recognized that Kindle is a Fabergé egg; users warn in the comment forum that the spring in the cursor wheel is the "weak link" and that whenever possible you should use the "enter" button instead of the cursor wheel.

Okay, I could live with that. They suggested a felt sticker pad addition, and I followed their advice by constructing a makeshift one using duct tape & Kleenex and taping it to the inside of the Kindle cover so that when it was closed it didn't depress the cursor wheel and thus wear it out. The things we do for book love.

But all that was for nought. I don't recall dropping it, but last night part of the screen suddenly froze, which I'm told is a "cracked screen" and is not fixable. Now I get to try to fight the bureaucratic hassle of getting it replaced or preferably refunded.

With books you don't have to worry about batteries, fly wheels or cracked screens; Kindle's a bit too high maintenance for my tastes.

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UPDATE: To Amazon.com's credit, there was zero bureaucratic hassle. I called and immediately got a representative and after explaining the situation said he would mail out a replacement. The whole thing took no time at all. (I didn't ask for a refund - which I now regret - because I just assumed they wouldn't give allow a refund of broken merchandise.)

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