Is the screen on Amazon's Kindle 2 prone to shattering?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils the Kindle DX, a large-screen version of its popular Kindle electronic reader, on May 6, 2009. This Tuesday, a Seattle man filed suit against Amazon after the screen of his Kindle cracked.

Yes, says a Seattle man who purchased a $359 Kindle 2 for his wife's birthday – only to watch as the gadget's screen slowly fractured.

On Tuesday, Matthew Geise, the executive director of a Seattle property management firm, brought his grievances all the way to a Washington district court, where he is petitioning for a class action law suit against Amazon. If successful, the suit could cost Amazon up to $5 million, Geise estimated.

His complaint is simple: Amazon makes a leather Kindle cover, which can be purchased separately from the Kindle. No problems there – the market for iPhone and BlackBerry covers, for instance, is huge. But Geise says when he attached the cover to his Kindle, it eventually caused irreparable damage to the device.

No help from customer service

Furthermore, Geist alleges, Amazon's customer service said it it was a common problem – and one that wasn't covered by warranty, leaving Geise to pay to have the damage repaired. His suit points to many similar complaints on a Kindle message board, indicating that other users were experiencing similar issues.

"I think it's a much bigger problem, given the number of posts going up every day," Geise's lawyer, Beth Terrell, told The Wall Street Journal. "These are just the tip of the iceberg."

According to the Journal, Amazon would not directly discuss the suit. "We encourage anyone who has an issue with the cover attachment mechanism to return the cover and device for a free replacement so we can investigate further," a company spokesman said in a statement.

Surveying the damage

An assortment of negative reviews posted on Amazon's website seem to back up Geise's claims, although several customers say they were sent a free Kindle when they notified Amazon of the problem.

Said one reviewer: "The hinges caused two large cracks in my kindle. At first I couldn't determine how my kindle got cracked without being dropped. Upon close review I realized that the cracks were sharp and coming from under the front of the kindle case. Both cracks originated above the hinges of the cover. I called cs and they sent me a new kimdle [sic] overnight. I ordered the belkin cover for $5 less and couldn't be happier."

Another offered this complaint: "I have a brand new Kindle and I purchased this cover for it. It is a really nice cover. However, I noticed a crack starting to form in the bottom left section of my Kindle. I finally figured out that it is from the bottom prong that sticks into the Kindle to anchor it to the cover. Now I have this 3 inch crack that runs along my Kindle.... Overall I am very frustrated that this Amazon product has damaged my new and EXPENSIVE Kindle."

Earlier this month, in a bid to lure in new customers, Amazon dropped the price on the Kindle 2 e-book reader from $359 to $299.


Do you have a Kindle? Is it in one piece? Talk to us here, or ping us on Twitter, @csmhorizonsblog.

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