Monday, December 19, 2011

Kindle–back in the box experience

Since I wrote my first post on getting a Kindle, I’ve been finding the device less and less satisfactory.

Apart from the cumbersome mechanical controls, there are other issues with the Kindle experience. I’ve been trying to put some of my other e-Books onto the device and while some work it’s really önly just”. I downloaded the Calibre program for converting other formats to one that Kindle understands but found that PDFs are still nearly unreadable. Re-editing page sizes in PDFs is hugely time-consuming, even when you’ve got a nice program like PDF Annotator which can slice away at page margins as a bulk action.

Just this morning I tried getting some new titles from the Kindle Store via the device. As I’ve been reading some of Mark Rowlands’ blog posts on his book The Philosopher and the Wolf, I thought I’d look for more of his works. As I slowly keyed in his name (by arrowing around the on-screen keyboard), the keyboard flashes a lot showing prospective search targets and in one instance actually seems to take the  focus away from the keyboard.

By the time I’ve got to Rowla there are only three targets on the screen (rather diminished once it figured I wasn’t looking for a book by J.K. Rowling!):

rowland white
rowland rivron

By sheer coincidence I’ve just read Rowland Rivron’s memoir What the F*** Did I Do Last Night? … but I digress. I exit the keyboard to select “rowland” but see that with 28pp of titles I’ll be there all day.

Returning to the search box, I have to rekey the search entirely, rather surprised that it hasn’t kept the last search text, and it tells me “No suggestions found for rowlands. Press [enter] to execute your query now.”

When I do that, after some huffing and puffing I get the same 28pp of “rowland” no-‘s’ that it showed me before. So I page down and at #11 on the second screen, I find “The Philosopher and the Wolf” just above “What the F****”. I click onto that and then onto Mark’s name, and then I find there are 8 Kindle titles listed, including the French and Italian translations of TPATW. Clock up another fail for Amazon search.

I decide that I’m going to return the device, so I go to Amazon France’s returns page (on my desktop computer now), and find that to return a Kindle for a refund, you have to speak to an agent on the phone first. You cannot proceed to print a return authorisation. I would have preferred to buy it from Amazon UK to simplify these issues but that isn’t permitted – in general you can’t buy Kindles for delivery in another country. The returns pages took me around in circles for a while before I could get to this stage.

Amazon France - return page for Kindles - blocked

So I plug in my details and moments later get an automated phone call with a breathlessly fast message and then it clicks off. A message on my computer screen tells me the call was interrupted, so I try again. This time I catch something about pressing 9, so I do that and then get a woman whispering on the other end. I ask (in French) for someone who speaks English as I can’t manage a long conversation on the telephone with someone whispering in another language. She tries to find someone and then after a long wait tells me that I will get a call from an agent “soon”. That was before I started writing this post.


While I was out for the day, I got an email from Amazon customer service to say they had tried to call me and to say that yes I could return the item and to go to their return centre and follow the instructions. So that simply takes me back to where I started and the impediment to getting a return authorisation is still there. So apart from Amazon Customer Service  not knowing how their Kindles work, they don’t know how their return procedure works. This is the first time I’ve had a problem with their customer support in 15 years.


1 comment:

  1. I love my Kindle and sorry you have had such a bad experience. Saying that I don't look for books on my Kindle I use the laptop and just download from there - easy peasy.