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Why I'm Returning My Amazon Kindle

December 16, 2007

The device itself works fine. Yes, the screen could be more readable and it's awkward to handle because the previous- and next-page buttons are much too big. (You can't grab the device by its edges.)

I finished reading my first book on the Kindle yesterday (The Kite Runner), and the experience was fine. I really like the ability to preview any book by reading the first three chapters. Web access is clumsy because most web sites expect a much wider screen and clicking on links is roundabout and flakey, but it does work, it's very fast, and it doesn't depend on WiFi. Buying even best sellers for $10 or less is a great deal, as is the free web access.

But the problem is that the books are incomplete. I started the sample of my second book, Under the Banner of Heaven, and I noticed that the footnotes, marked with an asterisk in the text, were missing. (You're supposed to be able to select them as hyperlinks, but they weren't connected to anything.)

I checked another book I had in paper form, Einstein: His Life and Universe, and the only footnote that I could find in the sample seemed to be linked, although I couldn't actually access it since it wasn't part of the sample. Fair enough.

But The Path Between the Seas failed. A footnote was marked with an asterisk, but not linked.

I queried Amazon's very responsive Customer Service, and they responded (on a Sunday!) with this: "Kindle Editions are electronic versions based on the original publication issued by the publishers. Occasionally, conversion of that content for reading on Kindle may require modification of content, layout, or format, including the omission of some images and tables and in this case footnotes."

Well, I don't want to read Kindle Editions, whatever they are. I want to read the books as written.

I might be able to tolerate the situation if the abridged books were so marked in the store, but they aren't. I'm also disturbed by Amazon's claim that they have 90,000+ (or whatever) books available, which simply isn't true.

Amazon is very good about returning Kindles (or anything else). They even supply a UPS label that you can print, so all I have to do is drop the box off at the UPS counter at my local Staples store.

No hard feelings against Amazon, who is still my favorite retailer. It's a shame that the Kindle is done in by sloppy preparation and misleading descriptions of the books. Maybe that will change someday, but, until it does, I'll insist on the books I read being complete.

Blog Archives

Photography Articles

Raw Conversion: Better Never Than Late April 24, 2008

Scanning in India by Way of California With ScanCafe February 15, 2008

How To Back Up Your Personal Computer January 30, 2008

Every Camera I've Ever Owned January 25, 2008

Sharpening JPEGs for the Web January 4, 2008

Lessons Learned From My Memory Problem December 20, 2007

Hunting Down a Mac Hardware Problem December 20, 2007

Trimming GPS Tracks With GPSTrackViewer November 13, 2007

The World's Shortest Camera Buying Guide September 22, 2007

Transporting and Storing Portable Backup Drives August 26, 2007

"The Luminous Landscape" Teaches Me to Print August 4, 2007

Creating a Google Photo Map (Revised) June 26, 2007

Sony GPS-CS1: Not Good Enough for Geotagging Photos June 24, 2007

Epson P-3000/P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer March 10, 2007

Trying Out Infrared January 20, 2007

Stupid Designs Hold Digital Back April 1, 2006


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