Wednesday, September 22, 2010


When the Amazon Kindles came out a couple of years ago, I thought they were cool, but way too expensive. Then I got my iPhone, and Amazon offered the free Kindle for iPhone app, and I was able to read ebooks on my phone. I had gotten used to reading on a handheld device when I had a Palm Pilot, and I enjoyed it. I also didn't really want to carry around an ebook reader; if I was going to do that, I might as well carry around a book.

But the newest generation came out recently, and they now had a wifi-only version that was priced at $139, which I thought was a much more reasonable price, so I was thinking about getting one. Then I was in Target over the weekend, and they had them, so I bought one.

I got home with it, took it out of the box, and plugged it in to charge. Then I got online and tried to register it at Amazon, but just got an error message. From what I could tell, it should be possible to register through the website, so after trying a couple of times wiht no luck, I called Amazon customer service. At first, I got someone in India, of course. She got the same error message I did, so she put me on hold and transferred me over to some uber-Kindle customer service support department.

The guy on the phone talked me through getting to several hidden menus, and tried several different things, but he wasn't able to get it to work, either. I asked him if I had to have WIFI on to make it work, but he said I didn't. We have WIFI at home, but for some reason, I'm not able to connect to it. Bob is, so in the interest of not breaking his connection, I'm willing to be wired.

Anyway, the guy finally decided that there was something wrong with the Kindle, and said that he could overnight a replacement to me if I wanted. I said that I would rather try to exchange it at Target first, but would call back if I couldn't. So I packed it back up and headed to Target. I went to the electronics department first rather than customer service. I took the box out of the bag and said, "I bought this here a little while ago," and before I could finish my sentence, the guy waiting on me said, "We don't have those."

I said, well, yes, you do, I bought it here, and he said no, we don't, you couldn't have. So I just stood there and looked at him, and he sighed and said, "Let me see the receipt," like he was going to say, "Aha! You didn't buy it here, you moron." So I handed him the receipt, and he said, "Well, this is my store. They must have gotten them in while I was at lunch." I guess it was too much to expect him to apologize, and he didn't. He just said, go over to customer service and I'll bring a new one over. Fine, whatever.

When I got home with the new one, I got the same error message. Of course. So I called Amazon customer service again, but this time the person I talked to first told me that they had been having trouble registering the Kindles from Target. Apparently they hadn't done something to them that they should have before they shipped them out. This time we went through a few menus, but the customer support guy eventually said that he could register it remotely. He said it might take an hour or so, but just to leave it plugged in, and it would eventually register.

So I waited awhile, restarted it, and sure enough, it showed that it was registered to me. I read the manual and discovered that I could mount it as a drive on my desktop computer and import documents that way, so I did that.

Then on Sunday I went to Panera Bread for a late lunch, and holed up in an easy chair and downloaded the rest of my books, organized everything, and basically spent a couple of hours getting it just the way I wanted.

I haven't really read a lot on it yet, but I like it, and I do see why it's so popular. I still like the option of reading on my phone, and I like that they sync up, so no matter which one I pick up, I can start reading at the spot where I left off. I don't like the fact that it isn't backlit, and I can't read it in low light, but I suppose that's actually good, since it's probably better for my eyes, but it is inconvenient. But I basically just treat it like a book, and sit by a lamp, and if I wake up in the night, can't go back to sleep, and want to read and not wake Bob up, I read on the phone.

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