My Kindle died

My Kindle died, for no particular reason, and it was only two years old. I had expected to get five years of use out of it, like a laptop. If e-readers are not designed to last longer than two years, that changes the economics of e-reading for me.

In general I’m disappointed by the reliability of modern-day small electronics. My cell phone has been wretchedly unreliable. The first one, brand new, died after a few months, and was replaced (under warranty) by a refurbished phone that is not nearly as nice as the original and is highly problematic, often locking up or randomly rebooting. Motorola is permanently off my list of companies whose cell phones I will buy in the future.

So do I write Amazon off too? I hate to do it. I like buying books from Amazon. But I treat my possessions with great care and expect them to last. I have never dropped my Kindle (or my cell phone, for that matter). I kept it charged and in its protective leather case, and in a temperature-controlled environment. I like my things to last. It’s partly a financial thing, but it’s also because I don’t want to be wasteful and fill up landfills with my discarded junk.

I’ve been driving the same car, trouble free, for ten years. It’s a Toyota. I’m so pleased with it that when it finally dies I’m almost certain to go out and buy another Toyota.

Why can’t I have this experience with small electronics?

Are there any e-readers out there that are designed to last?

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8 Responses to My Kindle died

  1. Julie says:

    Amy, I’m so sorry to read about your Kindle. Mine is just over a year old. I’m typing on a four-year-old laptop, and you’ve seen my car. 😉 We’re big on things that last as well. I don’t blame you for being frustrated. The entire idea behind Kindle is a product that saves time, money, and stuff that fills up landfills… Only two years’ duration of use is unacceptable!

    • Amy Raby says:

      Yeah–I wish Consumer Reports would do a survey on longevity of e-readers. Maybe it’s just too new a product. Or maybe Smart Bitches could do an informal survey. I’d like to find out which brand is most likely to last 4-5 years before I buy my next e-reader, because whatever brand that is, it’s the one I want to buy.

  2. Jessi Gage says:

    My sympathies. I had my first Kindle (a second generation-the white one) for 2 years when I dropped it on cement. It was a d’oh moment for sure. I try to be careful with my possessions, but I’ve got a 2 yr old and an infant that haven’t gotten that memo. I’d dropped my kindle on grass and carpet before, but the concrete did it in. It was a very sad day, especially since, like you, I had been hoping to get 5 years out of it.

    I replaced it with a keyboard third-gen in graphite and, with my children in mind, bought the protection plan/extended warranty, which I’ve heard good things about. I saw this website that summarizes what the extended warranty. I like the “what it does not cover part (

    What it covers:

    •Accidental damage (Dropping your Kindle) within 2 years
    •Device failure within two years

    What it does not cover:

    •Flood (Your Kindle takes a swim in a flash flood)
    •Acts of God (A freak wind storm causes a tree to fall on your Kindle)
    •Acts of war (You are backpacking through a war zone and your Kindle takes a bullet)
    •Fire (Your Kindle suffers third-degree burns in a reading room fire)
    •Misuse (Using your Kindle to play frisbee)
    •Pretty much everything else

    I went ahead and got the extended warranty because of the accidental damage part. From what I understand, they’ll pretty much replace your Kindle for any reason within that 2 years. After that, though, you’re on your own. I guess the take-home message is that you can expect 2 years of use out of your Kindle and anything beyond that is bonus.

    Yes, I think you should be able to expect more, but I’m seeing a trend where companies are trying to create price points that will put every generation of their product in consumer hands. If a new generation comes out every 1.5 years, it is a goal to get everyone with the previous generation to run out and buy the most recent. The iPhone and iPade are the most obvious in this trend. Kindle, too. I’ve seen a TV comercial that suggests Kindles are so reasonably priced you can have a Fire and a e-reader for less than the cost of an iPad. That’s effective advertising. It got me thinking:)

    But, yes, replacing your Kindle every 2 years makes reading ebooks less economical than buying print. On the other hand, you could put a small device in a landfill every 2 years or you could burn through tree after tree and clutter your bookshelves with hundreds of volumes you’ll only read once. For me, the environmental factor evens out. It’s about convenience, easy note-taking ability, and reduced clutter for me. That’s why I’ll continue to buy a new Kindle whenever I need to (with the hope that I can make it at LEAST 3 years before the next one!)

    • Amy Raby says:

      The prices are coming down to the point where maybe I could consider just buying one every 2 years. And I think you’re right; companies are designing their products with that replacement time in mind, based on consumer behavior. But I also get emotionally attached to my devices. I’m wondering if maybe the Sony might be a good choice for me. Sony has a long track record of producing reliable electronics. I don’t know if that translates to reliable e-readers, but it might.

  3. Sympathies, Amy. My husband’s Kindle broke after two weeks because he accidentally sat on it. He called Kindle, and they were great about getting him a new one even though he hadn’t kept the receipt. I don’t know if they would replace a Kindle as old as yours, but it might be worth asking.

    • Amy Raby says:

      My guess is they won’t replace a 2-year-old Kindle, since it’s clearly out of warranty, but I do plan to contact them and complain. They should at least know that I’m disappointed and planning to switch brands because of its short lifespan. I loved everything else about my Kindle. This was the only thing that disappointed me.

  4. Georgia says:

    Hi Amy, I ran across your post while searching for issues with Kindle, since mine had started “freaking out” a little. The problem for me was just a bad file, which I removed. But I did run across many people saying their Kindle just died one day, and the problem was a bad battery. They do sell replacement batteries for the Kindle, and even though it’s a pain to have to buy one, at least it is cheaper than buying a new e-reader. I just wanted to pass that along, in case you thought that could be your problem as well.

    • I’m not Amy, but wanted to ask: I’d heard about replacing a battery; now that my Kindle Fire has died, I’ve looked and looked for any way to open anything on it and replace a battery, and can’t see anything that would be openable. I’ll keep on searching for clues, though.

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