Well, today I contacted Amazon’s support via chat to see about upgrading the firmware on my Kindle, in the wake of my previous attempt not going over so well. The front-line Amazon representative, Ero, walked me through the upgrade process (Error 006 again) and had me reset the Kindle and try again. It failed again, just as before.

Then he transferred me to Vanessa from the Kindle support team. She took me through the same process step by step, including having me try connecting the Kindle to WiFi and registering, putting it in sleep mode for ten minutes, and waiting to see if it downloaded any updates.

After that, she started gathering information from the device, including syncing its log files for their technical support team to take a look at. However, we hit a snag when we got to fetching WAN information. I was supposed to enter “;611” in the search box and hit enter, and it was supposed to give me some information to read off. However, instead the screen just flashed and nothing else happened.

At that point, Vanessa told me that demonstrated that the Kindle was sufficiently broken that it would need to be replaced. While the Kindle itself was out of warranty since 2012, she extended several offers from the Kindle replacement team:

  1. Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display (212 ppi) with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi (Previous Generation – 6th) for $188.10
  2. Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display (212 ppi) with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation – 6th) for $170.10
  3. Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display (212 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi (Previous Generation – 6th) for $125.10
  4. Certified Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (B-spec, ATT) for $152.15

Given that I’m not full-time employed right now and having to watch my money, none of those really appealed to me. (And I wouldn’t get much use out of their 3G anyway, since you can no longer use it to surf random web pages.) I explained I was looking for something considerably lower-priced than that, such as a refurbished version of their current $79 Kindle model. So Vanessa put a $20 credit on my account to be used against any Kindle I chose to order instead.

So now I’m flipping through the selection of Kindles on Amazon, looking at the available devices on offer. There’s a refurbished current-generation touch model for $64, which would become $44, which would certainly be within my budget. But is that what I want? I’ve heard good things about the Paperwhite, after all, and it would be nice to be able to review it for TeleRead—but I’m not sure if they’re good things that would be worth an extra $50. Any readers out there have any thoughts on this?

At any rate, there’s no rush. Screwed-up software update or not, this old Kindle still works well enough for reading e-books.


  1. You’re too nice Chris.

    Sounds like this wasn’t a breakage. Their update trashed your Kindle. They should be on the hook for the complete cost of a functioning replacement rather than just a $20 coupon. Imagine going into Best Buy with that Kindle and the store’s sales staff drops it on the floor shattering the screen. Their mistake means they pay, warranty expired or not.

    Comcast did something similar to me. When I was switching from their cable modem to one of my own, their representative managed to do so much damage that I lost all cable broadband. Being Comcast, I kept getting a runaround. Finally, I adopted the nuclear option. When on the phone with their representatives, I simply yelled repeatedly that they should fix the problem they caused. (This was after about four days of no broadband.)

    Comcast apparently knows who an incoming caller is by their caller ID. On my next call I got someone very technically proficient who promised me from the start that their top team would be at work and that the problem would be fixed within 24 hours. It took a bit longer than that, but I did get service back.

    I can understand why it is hard to raise the level of confrontation. The person you’re on the phone with probably doesn’t have the authority to give you a free replacement. But you can force the discussion up to someone who can do that. And if you can’t, find a friend who can mimic outrage easily. Treat it as a game.

    Sounds too like Amazon wasn’t even showing much business sense. They could have probably replaced your Kindle with a new Paperwhite for what they’ve spent in support calls without resolving the problem. If Apple’s Genius Bar can’t fix your problem quickly they otten send you out the door with an equivalent device. Amazon should do the same, at least when they are at fault.


  2. Even though the 3G is limited (the first one I got that had limited 3G I sent back and bought a Kindle Keyboard with 3g), I find it incredibly useful because I’d read my non-3G Paperwhite somewhere without WiFi and then I’d be somewhere without the Kindle and have time to read and open the Kindle app on my iPhone or iPad but they’re NOT on the same pages. After being used to this on my Kindle Keyboard, it was pretty inconvenient since I was used to the seamlessness of it. Sometimes it’d sync in 8-12 hours, but sometimes it didn’t.

    The 3G lets me download books and use the Wikipedia and translation options which I like to use when I don’t know a term or phrase (why only do an educated guess when I can find out for sure).

    FYI, I just picked up a used PaperWhite with 3G from eBay for $50 and I’m pretty happy with it (and very happy with the fact I’m always on the same page now).

  3. Gary: That’s a valid point, but I have a Karma Go 4G hotspot, so basically any WiFi device I carry will be connected to the Internet no matter where I am. So synchronization worries wouldn’t be an issue.

    Granted it won’t be free like the Kindle’s 3G would be—but for the amount I’d use it, paying for the bandwidth would be a lot more economical than paying extra for the 3G to be built in. I’m not inclined to buy e-books from my device itself; I tend to want to use a desktop browser so I can make sure the affiliate fee goes to some deserving person.

  4. I’m sorry that the update failed. I’d really recommend that you wait until you can go for the Paperwhite. I recently went from a K2us 3G to a wifi only Voyage and I cannot imagine not having a built in light ever again.

    I was well set for the 27 hour power outage we had last weekend and the front light made the inconvenience of no power tolerable.

    I also thought that I would always want a 3G device because of the frequent power outages but I found that I was keeping enough new material on my device that I preferred to save the money. It’s not like we had 3G available during most of that last storm anyway.

  5. @rowi: If you’re still reading this, wow: Kubrick worked. After unbricking and re-flashing, the first firmware update went through just fine, and I’m transferring the second over now. I’ll be writing an article about this procedure in a little while. 🙂

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