Friday, March 30, 2012


I was given a Kindle recently and decided it would solve some of the weight issues I have when traveling (OK, I know a diet would help too, but we're talking luggage here).  I read a lot and I read quickly and so it's not unusual for me to have a large part of a suitcase filled with books when I go to Paris for several months.  The Kindle would avoid that and give me space for more things I really don't need (how many pairs of jeans will I really wear?)

I was initially reluctant because I'm one of the book Luddites.  I like turning pages.  And I'm an anti-Amazon.  I buy almost exclusively from independent bookstores which I feel strongly need to be supported against the giant merchandisers.  Nonetheless, it was a gift and an opportunity and one could argue even a medical necessity since my physical therapist suggested I stop holding heavy books to read.

I downloaded about two dozen books and very carefully avoided reading any of them, saving them all for Paris.  And on the plane I managed to break the screen when my purse got scrunched by the seat.  The Kindle was unusable.  I was heartbroken and very annoyed with myself. 

After all kinds of plans involving having friends buy a new one in the States and send it to me I looked at the Amazon site when we arrived in Paris and discovered the I could buy one here for not too much more than in the US; and even better, I discovered that Amazon would replace a broken Kindle for a "service fee" of $60 plus tax, substantially less than a new one.  They would also handle the customs and import duties.  For less than $100 I could have a new Kindle to load with all those books I'd bought.

I spoke to the Amazon rep on Wednesday.  Although I was calling from Paris she called me back when the connection was unexpectedly cut off.   She placed the order and called me again on Thursday to make sure I had received the confirming email.  When I realized that although UPS had my address it didn't have the code to the front door and so couldn't get to the bell panel, I called UPS in Paris to give it to them.  No problem, they said, we'll add it to the driver's information.  Just in case, I left a post-it on the front door asking the driver to phone me when he arrived.

This morning, Friday, my phone rang; it was the driver, who had read my note but hadn't gotten the code from the dispatcher.  In this case at least, manual beat electronic communication.

And so, within two days of breaking the old one, I am sitting in front of my new Kindle, ready to start on all those books I've been holding off on.  I never thought I'd be saying this, but Amazon rocks.

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