Kindle In Death

Book CoverAlert Bitchery reader Bonnie has forwarded me a gripe about her Kindle, and wow, it’s an irritant. I think in ebook mishigas this is somewhere between a pebble in your shoe, and the seam of your sock giving you a blister. Not worth ending the world but still pretty annoying.

I just ordered J.D. Robb’s new “Promises in Death” (hardcover price) and the formatting SUCKS!  There are like 8 returns between each paragraph.  At this rate I’ll need to recharge every couple of hours.  Grrrr….

I’ve attached a photo so you can see.

What does one do in this situation?  Write to the publisher?  Amazon?

Oy. I must say, that looks hellicious.

To be honest, this is one of my major problems with Amazon. I’ve emailed their feedback account several times about a host of issues and never heard a peep in return. You can try their customer service – they might refund your money – but otherwise? Not a clue, and that’s just unfortunate.


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  1. 1
    Laura D says:

    I had a similar issue with a recent Lisa Kleypas book and Amazon’s customer service was very responsive.  Unfortunately, “responsive” meant that they tried to get the publisher to fix it and, when that didn’t happen, they gave me a refund a of the cost and a bonus few “sorry for your trouble” bucks.  So it wasn’t fixed, per se, but neither do I feel burned or ignored.

  2. 2
    Rosemary says:

    I’m waiting with a great deal of anticipation for your review of the Sony Reader in comparison to the Kindle, Sarah.

  3. 3
    kerry says:

    I had a problem with a poorly-formatted book and emailed Amazon’s Kindle CS as well. They responded within a day by refunding my money and removing the book. Unfortunately I really wanted the book. :(

    This is enough of a bestseller that I’d be surprised if they didn’t fix the formatting. The book I wanted was more obscure.

  4. 4
    Sandia says:

    I’ve called Kindle support in the past and also have them be very nice but it seems to be an issue from the publisher.  This happened with me on the last Mercy Thompson book and the new Connor Grey book.  It stinks to high heaven but I don’t think it’s really Amazon’s fault and I wonder if we have a Sony reader user here who’s read the new Mercy Thompson book?  Did they have the same formatting problems through the Sony store?

  5. 5
    Bonnie says:

    Thanks, folks. 

    I’ll email Amazon, but I don’t want to lose the book as Kerry did.  That kinda stinks.  It’s bad formatting, yeah, but I want to read it.  Now. 

    I’ve read a few other books on Kindle with bad formatting, but what makes this one particularly bad is that it’s a hardcover price and a bestselling author.  That’s what bothers me the most about it.

  6. 6
    Kelly Bishop says:

    I was waiting to see if the price would drop before I bought that particular ebook. I just now downloaded the free sample chapter and it looks fine. Did the formatting screwup start after the first chapter or did they somehow fix it already???

  7. 7
    lilywhite says:

    Oddly enough, the formatting didn’t bother me one bit.  But I think I’m just forgiving that way.  Probably comes from reading so much fanfic online!

  8. 8
    ev says:

    No problem with the formatting for the book on the Sony. I just ran through the pages quickly and didn’t see a problem.

    I am having a hard time NOT reading it yet as I want it for one of my books on the trip. Not easy either.

  9. 9
    Lara F says:

    I had the same problem Sandia mentioned with the latest Mercy Thompson/Patricia Briggs book.  I recently had to contact Kindle support for a book that was missing the ending – talk about frustrating!  They kindly refunded my money (no bonus bucks like Laura D got – how’d you negotiate that?) but that also meant that they removed the book from my Kindle.  Still don’t know how it ended.

    And like Kelly Bishop mentioned, that is just too much money for an ebook (the latest In Death price).  Jeff Bezos seems to have forgotten the 9.99 or less statements he made a year ago.  I’m hoping In Death drops when the paperback comes out, and then I’ll buy it.

  10. 10
    lilywhite says:

    Jeff Bezos seems to have forgotten the 9.99 or less statements he made a year ago.

    I paid 9.99 for Promises in Death.

  11. 11

    Happened to me recently too! Drove me crazy! But oh well.

  12. 12
    Mary-Frances says:

    My kindle 2 came yesterday and I bought Promises in Death. The formatting doesn’t look at all like the one shown in the post. It’s fine and really easy to read. I paid $9.99 as well.

  13. 13
    Kelly Parra says:

    It’s the same with me as Mary-Frances. I just received my Kindle 2 and purchased Promises in Death. I didn’t have any problem with the formatting. It seems to be 2 return spaces in between paragraphs.

  14. 14
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I just had the same issue with Jewel’s SCANDAL, purchased from fictionwise. They never replied to my email about the problem. Colour me unfuckingimpressed.

    The worst part of it was that it made it impossible to tell when you switched scenes or POVs. I kept getting lost in the text and having to go back and reread to figure out what was going on. Very annoying.

  15. 15
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Should mention, I have a Cybook, not a Kindle.

  16. 16
    Delia says:

    I don’t know much about Kindle formats, but surely there’s a file converter out there that can open the book on your computer and allow you to edit the formatting, right?  Or is that asking too much of Amazon? 

    Yet another reason I prefer the Sony Reader.

  17. 17
    Throwmearope says:

    Years of experience with Amazon.  DON’T E-mail.  Call 1-800-555-1212 and get their 1-800 customer service number.  Call that.  The guy with the non-American accent likely won’t help either—the last guy chided me for being an American over-consumer when my daughter’s Christmas gift arrived well after Christmas.

    But here’s the trick.  You’ll get an E-mail—did Amazon solve your problem.  Say no and call me.  Then you get one step up the ladder.  If they still don’t help, do the same with the next E-mail.  I was so aggravated about one order I kept it up until they fixed the issue.

    PS Love my Sony Reader.

  18. 18
    Bonnie says:

    Well, I’m getting more pissed off as I read the responses here. 

    WTF??!!  It seems like the folks that have Kindle 2 are having no format issues.  Ummm…. no, not good.  Not good at all. 

    I paid $9.99, too.  That’s the general hardcover price for ebooks at Amazon. 

    I guess I won’t know until I call them, but this is bullshit.

  19. 19
    Brenna says:

    Just finished reading Promises In Death in my Sony PRS 505.  No problem at all with the formatting.

  20. 20
    Jessica G. says:

    Wow, I’d be pretty peeved if I paid 9.99 for an ebook and it looked like that. I’ve never had one look that way though. A few of the Sony Classics had some issues, but they were free.

  21. 21
    J-me says:

    I’ve had this issue with about every 4th book that I’ve gotten and it is enough to make me not want to read the book. What really sucks is if you get a sample, it’s formatted just fine so you have no way of testing.

  22. 22
    DS says:

    The $9.99 price kicks in 1) if the publisher oks it or 2) if the book hits the best seller list.  If a book is likely to hit the best seller list I do not preorder for Kindle but wait a couple of days or weeks if need be.

    The Briggs book also has the double line entries between paragraphs and chapters on Kindle 2 so the publisher may have just fixed Ms Roberts’ book.

  23. 23
    Rebekah says:

    On Kindle 2 the formatting is just fine on Promises in Death.  On Kindle 1 it is funky. Not sure why this is and if it continues Amazon may have some pretty angry kindle 1 owners.  Considering how pissy they got just over the release of kindle 2 I can imagine they might become riotous over the implication that kindle 2 gets better service/formatting/whathaveyou.

  24. 24
    Kooritsuki says:

    I’ve no experience with Kindle, but… I think Amazon’s got a pretty good customer service team, especially if you call them (or have them call you). So if you want a refund and want to talk to customer service, I’d recommend calling them on the phone.

  25. 25
    Hilcia says:

    No problems with formatting with my Kindle 2 here either.  I’ve also found Amazon’s customer service to be pretty good, I’ve not had problems with them.

  26. 26
    DS says:

    To talk on the phone to a CSR at Amazon go to any item page but it’s better to start from the page that contains the item you are having trouble using.  Go to the bottom to the Feedback box at nearly the bottom.  Click on the “Contact Us” button which will take you to another page with more information.  Click on the yellow “Contact Us” button.  At some point you will have to sign into your account.  Choose the tab that says “Phone”.  You will be given both the US and International 800 numbers and new feature marked “Call Me”. 

    I have used the Call Me feature twice.  On both occasions I left my work phone number and got a call back within two minutes.  One problem was taken care of by the person on the phone.  The other problem was sent to “Corporate” because it had to do with the credit card I was trying to use to renew my Prime membership—that was also promptly dealt with. 

    Sure beats sitting on hold.

  27. 27
    Bonnie says:

    Thank you one and all.  Really!

    I called Amazon, spoke to the Kindle people and received a $5.00 credit towards my next purchase.  I didn’t want them to remove the book because, at this point, it fucking ROCKS and I want to finish it. 

    They were wonderful and receptive to everything I had to say.  I’ve had my Kindle since last April and this has been my first problem. 

    Their customer service is phenomenal.

  28. 28
    lilywhite says:

    It absolutely does rock; definitely one of my faves.  I love Eve & Roarke in this one!

  29. 29
    Trix says:

    Another no-so-acknowledged problem with DRM. See, you can’t open up the file and fix the formatting. While an individual person might not know how to do it, someone on those web forums would probably nut it out, and provide some kind of “recipe” for fixing up the bad formatting. With a restricted file format, you’re SOL.

  30. 30
    Casee says:

    I had the same problem with Promises in Death.  I emailed them numerous times to no avail.  It srsly annoys me. 

    Usually Amazon is so good about customer service, I was surprised I didn’t hear back.

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