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Amazon Offers Kindle-Cover Refunds After Complaints

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The Amazon.com Inc. Kindle
The Amazon.com Inc. Kindle electronic-book reader. Source: Amazon via Bloomberg

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is offering refunds or replacements on a type of cover for its Kindle electronic-book reader after customers complained that the accessory was interfering with their ability to use the device.

Engineers are looking into the matter, Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon, said in an e-mailed statement. He didn’t disclose how many products are affected and said a “small number” of customers had contacted the company.

Users in the company’s online forums complained that a leather Amazon-branded cover, which costs $34.99, was causing the Kindle to freeze and lose track of pages. The Kindle is Amazon’s best-selling item and the refunds come during the holiday shopping season, the company’s busiest time of year.

“There have been some forum discussions regarding the non-lighted Kindle cover,” Amazon said in a blog posting yesterday. For those with the problem, “we will be pleased to replace it for free or accept a return for a full refund, no matter when the cover was purchased.”

The Kindle and e-books will account for about 8 percent of Amazon’s revenue this year, according to estimates by Sandeep Aggarwal, an analyst at Caris & Co. Amazon doesn’t disclose Kindle sales.

The cover, which fits the $139 Wi-Fi-only version of the Kindle, weighs 13.4 ounces (380 grams), according to the Amazon site. It comes in seven colors, including black, chocolate brown and hot pink.

Amazon.com introduced the Wi-Fi-exclusive Kindle in July, promising a higher-contrast screen, faster page turns and as long as one month of battery life.

The company slipped 46 cents to $177.58 at 4 p.m. New York time in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares added 32 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joseph Galante in San Francisco at jgalante3@bloomberg.net; Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net.

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