Kindling Literature #1: Ease of Use and Customer Service

[amazon-product]B002Y27P3M[/amazon-product]Purchased a Kindle just before New Year’s, and have been impressed with it from the start – except for one problem.

Since I rarely travel, and seldom even spend extended periods away from home, I figgered the WiFi version would be good enough for my purposes, and it has been. For sheer pleasure of reading, I still much prefer the look and feel of paper, but being able, near-instantly, to download both the English and German versions of a classic text, and have them thereafter at hand, at no cost or close to it, sets more than mere fetishism of technology, or frugality, or impatience against the good old best ways of doing things. For popular and especially new books I’ll quite likely spend a lot more money this year than last, but I expect to spend a lot less time driving to the library and back, I won’t have to turn return dates into deadlines for writing reviews, and I won’t anywhere near as often find myself reading the book that happened to be available rather than the book I wanted.

There are other conveniences offered as well as questions raised by the Kindling of literature, especially of classic literature, that might be worth going into at some later point, but my main reason for posting on the subject now, actually, related to the problem I mentioned:  not to note it, but rather to offer a testimonial regarding Amazon Customer Service. On Kindle, anyway, it may be the best I’ve ever encountered.

Unfortunately, at the point where I was about halfway through the first book I ordered for the device, a dark spot, call it wart-size, showed up on the screen. It was near the edge, in the margin, so didn’t interfere with reading, but it’s always there. Rather than plan to live with the dark wart through however many thousands and thousands of pages of Kindling, I decided I had to ask to have the device replaced.

Couldn’t have been easier. Went to the Kindle “Help” page, picked the “defective” and then “call me” options. Was speaking with a polite CS rep within a minute who already had all relevant information on the order at this fingertips.  We spent another minute or so verifying that the problem was mechanical, and I then learned that Amazon ships replacement Kindles immediately:  The fellow said I’d be getting the new one in one day – and I have 30 days to return the old one, using a pre-paid shipping label delivered via the Web.  I had been girding my literary loins for at least a few days:  Reading addict that I am, I had first verified before calling that a book on actual paper I also recently ordered would hold my attention for whatever extended period.  ‘Twasn’t necessary at all.

Obviously, Amazon isn’t doing things this way simply out of the goodness of its corporate heart, but it still counts as a best practice, and it deserves, I think, to be noted and praised.  If you’re thinking about giving Kindle a try, you can at least feel confident that Amazon knows its best interests lie in minimizing customer headaches.


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