Amazon won’t help you find your lost Kindle

Ronny Kerr · August 31, 2009 · Short URL:

For stolen or lost Kindles, Amazon gives users one option: buy a new one

AmazonIf you put Amazon’s wireless reading device down for a little bit, don’t forget to pick it up again: if you lose it, there is nothing you can do to find it.

After leaving his Kindle DX on an airplane, Kindle customer Justin Smith sought assistance from Amazon, Ars Technica reports. Considering that Kindles feature built-in wireless connectivity through Sprint so that users can download content directly from Amazon on-the-go, Smith hoped that maybe either company could track down the location of the nearly $500 gadget.

Unfortunately, the only action Amazon will take is de-activation against future purchases. According to Amazon's Director of Communications Drew Herdener, “If someone contacts us after losing their Kindle or having it stolen, we will de-register the Kindle to prevent purchasing on the registered account.”

Though Herdener suggested that Sprint—which oversees the wireless capabilities of the device—could possibly use their network to discover the location of the lost or stolen Kindle, his wording hinted that it wouldn’t be very easy. Saying that Amazon will "respond to appropriate requests for information from law enforcement officials,” he appears to make it pretty clear that law enforcement would have to get involved for a user to access the location of the lost or stolen Kindle.

To make the experience a little bit more painful, Amazon gives users no options for reading their purchased content without buying another Kindle. Because the content is strictly restricted through DRM, it is not possible to read the material through any other means.

“Not only could I not read them if I had them due to their DRM,” Smith said, "but my purchased content is not even available to me through the Amazon site so long as I do not have a Kindle registered—I confirmed this to be the case with one of the two first-level customer service people.”

For a company eager to continue its domination of the e-reading market in the face of increasing competition from Sony, Amazon does not seem open to many options for helping out users who have problems with stolen or lost Kindles. I guess they just hope you’ll buy a new one.

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