Buying Kindle after a review

Kindle with ye olde books

Despite all the Hoopla over Apple’s iPad, I still want to buy a Kindle because I love reading. It doesn’t have to be a Kindle, there are loads of competitors emerging, but Kindle is both the market leader and gets the most coverage. So off to Amazon and a look through the literature and the hard choice – Kindle 1 or Kindle DX (aka Kindle 2). Of course Kindle 2 is way more expensive than Kindle 1, but it is bigger and preumably better. This being Amazon, it all comes down to the user reviews.

So what’s my decision? Kindle 1! Why? because the most commented and reviewed review gives Kindle 2 only one star. Normally one star reviews are rants and often irrelevant to product quality bit this is lucidly argued and systematic in its criticism of the device and also Amazon’s upgrade systems. 20,000 people have read it and 19000 have found it useful which implies that 19,000 have been put off upgrading their Kindle. The reviewer finishes by stating that he has returned the Kindle 2 to Amazon and will wait for the next upgrade.

Amazon do not seemed to have responded to the complaints in any way which seems extraordinary for Amazon for two reasons. Amazon is founded on excellent, well thought out customer service and this is a new product category where the difference between success and failure is measured sometimes in Nanos. There is a tsunami of ereaders hitting the shelves (shopping carts) this year and with all this choice, small matter a lot.

Amazon need to be careful that one well aimed review does not upset the reputation of Kindle DX and allow competitors like Apple, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and the new Que Reader from Plastic Logic from killing their product’s reputation.

Now if I am right that all these people  have decided not to upgrade from Kindle 1 then possibly Amazon may have forgone $900,000 in revenue from people who were planning to buy Kindle 2. That is one painful review!

  • Fred Swartz

    One correction — the Kindle 1 was replaced last year by the Kindle 2, and the Kindle 1 is no longer available. More recently the name has been changed again, to Kindle 6 inch Reading Device.

    The Kindle DX (now known as the Kindle 9.7 inch Reading Device) is a different model, with a much bigger screen and almost double the price. There have been firmware upgrades for both the K1 and K2 (electronic patches to the operating system installed over the air), but this is not the same as “upgrading” from the Kindle 1 to the Kindle 2. Some users have criticized the 9.7 inch screen DX/Global Reading Device as not being worth the extra cost, size and weight compared to the 6 inch K1/K2/Global Reading Device, but this is not related to any “upgrade” issues.

    -Fred

  • Fred Swartz

    One correction — the Kindle 1 was replaced last year by the Kindle 2, and the Kindle 1 is no longer available. More recently the name has been changed again, to Kindle 6 inch Reading Device.

    The Kindle DX (now known as the Kindle 9.7 inch Reading Device) is a different model, with a much bigger screen and almost double the price. There have been firmware upgrades for both the K1 and K2 (electronic patches to the operating system installed over the air), but this is not the same as “upgrading” from the Kindle 1 to the Kindle 2. Some users have criticized the 9.7 inch screen DX/Global Reading Device as not being worth the extra cost, size and weight compared to the 6 inch K1/K2/Global Reading Device, but this is not related to any “upgrade” issues.

    -Fred

  • I am surprised that Amazon, a pioneer in realizing value of Customer reviews, ignores such a situation considering that they act here as a manufacturer and the brand owner.

    There seem to be no good reason to pay premium for the brand name products, as the brands diluted their value in pursuit of profit margins. I am not attacking the pursuit – I am critical about their intellectual laziness as a single minded “optimization” of the cost inevitably destroyed their reputation. Consumers played their role in this downwind spiral demanding low prices above all, but now we start to smarten up figuring that buying inferior product to save $10 is dumb considering time we have to waste dealing with poor quality. The cost of poor customer support, shipping, driving to exchange and overall interruption of our lives well overweight these savings. From this perspective consumers start to look at the reputation a product earned with other customers, who already experienced it, before they make their purchasing decision.

  • I am surprised that Amazon, a pioneer in realizing value of Customer reviews, ignores such a situation considering that they act here as a manufacturer and the brand owner.

    There seem to be no good reason to pay premium for the brand name products, as the brands diluted their value in pursuit of profit margins. I am not attacking the pursuit – I am critical about their intellectual laziness as a single minded “optimization” of the cost inevitably destroyed their reputation. Consumers played their role in this downwind spiral demanding low prices above all, but now we start to smarten up figuring that buying inferior product to save $10 is dumb considering time we have to waste dealing with poor quality. The cost of poor customer support, shipping, driving to exchange and overall interruption of our lives well overweight these savings. From this perspective consumers start to look at the reputation a product earned with other customers, who already experienced it, before they make their purchasing decision.

  • Fred, good point.

    Interesting that this confusion about what is what: ie kindle 1 and kindle 2 is allowed to continue on the Amazon site. In other words, reviewers refer to Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 and yet Amazon do not clarify the distinctions between them.

    It suggests that Amazon need to rethink their comments/reviews system in the light of the fact that they are more than retailer in this situation.

  • Fred, good point.

    Interesting that this confusion about what is what: ie kindle 1 and kindle 2 is allowed to continue on the Amazon site. In other words, reviewers refer to Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 and yet Amazon do not clarify the distinctions between them.

    It suggests that Amazon need to rethink their comments/reviews system in the light of the fact that they are more than retailer in this situation.

  • I think the Kindle is better on the eye’s, but for a all around media device the iPad is the way to go.

  • I think the Kindle is better on the eye’s, but for a all around media device the iPad is the way to go.

  • I am the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle, but I think that he will soon be replaced. I myself am excited about the Kindle, however, that thrills me even more of Apple iPad.

  • I am the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle, but I think that he will soon be replaced. I myself am excited about the Kindle, however, that thrills me even more of Apple iPad.

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