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The mystery of my crashing Kindle 3 solved at last

Image Courtesy of The Escapist

My daily commute over the past few weeks has been really frustrating. This time it wasn’t the wrong kind of snow or cancelled trains. It was my Kindle. The gadget I quickly fell in love with last year, the device that revolutionised my reading habits, was in danger of becoming a huge disappointment less than 9 months after I first bought it. Why?

Every morning and every evening I struggled to turn it on. It became unresponsive. I would struggle for 20 or so minutes to restart it on the train – most of the time unsuccessfully. I followed the instructions, but the screen always remained frozen on one of Kindle’s many lovely screensaving pages and the device would remain dead, save for the occasional blink or two of the green power light.

It would only start working again when fully recharged – which I had to do daily, despite Amazon’s claims that the battery can last up to 30 days (and until the problems started it actually did).

I googled it. Many people reported similar issues, but the only solution others seemed to suggest was a hard restart. It would probably work if I could actually restart it, but I couldn’t. So I turned to Amazon Kindle support for help.

The whole experience was actually painless – they called me straight away, the support lady was helpful, but her first question after confirming my identity was: “Are you still using the leather Kindle case you bought from Amazon in Spetember?”

“Yes, why? Is it causing any issues?”

“I just want to eliminate all possibilities,” she replied, avoiding confirming or denying anything. We agreed that I would use my Kindle for a few days without the cover. It never crashed once. Amazon called back and upon learning that my Kindle was actually ok immediately refunded me for my leather cover and told me not to use it again. Then helpfully emailed my a link to a new range of leather covers – with “updated design”.

So what was the issue? They didn’t tell me. But it turns out that when I was googling for an answer, I left out a crucial keyword – ‘cover’. Had I added it to my Kindle troubleshooting searches, I would have learned much sooner that the ‘faulty’ cover was actually a known issue and that many people before me had theirs refunded.

The Amazon cover relies on two hinges, or hooks/grips, that are made of metal. They are painted – or insulated – but with time that paint wears off and the metal hook touches something (clearly another metal bit) inside the device, causing it to crash.

Since I stopped using the case my Kindle 3 hasn’t crashed or frozen once. If yours has become unresponsive – and you’re using the original Amazon case – try the above steps.

And then ask Amazon for a refund.

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