Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Excellent customer service.

I have just spent the last couple of hours attempting to download The First Thousand Days by Patrick McGuinness on my Kindle. For some reason, and I suspect that reason is the game addict (AKA Hodmandod Minor) in the room down the landing, my kindle was having trouble maintaining a connection to the Amazon server. So I phoned Amazon.co.uk, and a patient man called 'Carlos F' went through various possibilities with me, eventually suggesting that I either disconnect my router (which would not go down well with Hodmandod Minor) or switch off the connection to my router on my Kindle. He advised me to try the latter ...and lo, The First Thousand Days has landed successfully in my lap.

All day I have been reading a book written in the sparse style of J.M. Coetzee. It is a good book, but after a while it made me long for something richer. Now that I have the McGuinness, I feel as though I have swapped the worthy but prickly sackcloth for sumptuous velvet (even though this is Communist Romania).

Thank you Carlos F!


Blogger Paul Halpern said...

Interesting that you read both paper books and Kindle books. I haven't ventured into reading e-books just yet. As I spend so much time on computers for work and writing, when I read for fun I like something unplugged. Also, I like leafing through books, looking at their cover art, checking their original price (if they are second-hand), and so forth. But I can well understand the portability of e-books, which I think makes them attractive.

Wed Aug 31, 12:56:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

I always use the free 3G whispernet to download my Amazon ebook purchases. Works every time, even down here in the antipodes.

I notice The Last Hundred Days is now available as an ebook on Amazon.com when last week it wasn't. Likewise with the Jane Rogers book.

Wed Aug 31, 06:36:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I agree, Paul! I confess I prefer the physical object for all the reasons you say.

I think I shall too from now on, Anne. I don't know why I didn't before, really.

Strange it has taken so long (it must be a couple of weeks at least) for Amazon.com to make the ebook available as well as Amazon.co.uk. I'd have thought it would go active at the same time since they are part of the same company. Maybe there is some cumbersome administrative 'paperwork' to do first.

Wed Aug 31, 07:57:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

It's something to do with copyright. Us Australian Kindle users have to purchase from Amazon.com and not all books are available for Australian readers due to copyright restrictions.

Kindles have only this month become available for purchase in Aussie shops.

As regards physical books, I still love them and will continue to collect them, but even so I find the Kindle to be a wonderful device, in that it can indulge any desire to acquire a book instantly. In fact I buy more books now than I have done for years, simply because ebooks are so easy to acquire and economical to boot. Also I'm more willing to try out new writers because of this convenience.

Wed Aug 31, 08:14:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ah, thanks Anne! I suppose, as a writer, I should welcome that news abut copyright (though maybe not so much as a reader).

And yes, all you say about Kindle is true also - especially the bit about trying out new writers. I do find the 'free sample' facility on Kindle works well - great to try out before you buy. Yes, there is a lot of good to be said for the Kindle...but I still prefer the physical book.

Wed Aug 31, 08:25:00 am  
Blogger Maxine said...

Yes, Amazon began not taking too much notice of copyright but were forced into it. One can only download Kindle books in the part of the world in which one lives, can be frustrating.
The Amazon customer service is quite amazing and has undergone a renaissance recently. I've emailed them about a couple of things and before you know it a polite man rings you up and sorts out your problem sympathetically. In this era of dreadful "customer service" and menus, awful messages and musak, etc, Amazon deserves kudos. (I am glad you did not follow their first suggestion, though! I once had a similar experience in the days before we got wireless. The customer support (from India or similar) told me to uninstall Internet Explorer. It turned out that the local BT connection was down for maintenance for a few hours! (I did not do as advised, either!)

Wed Aug 31, 07:20:00 pm  
Blogger Maxine said...

PS I prefer physical books too, though the kindle is useful for holidays/weight allowance.

Wed Aug 31, 07:20:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks, Maxine - very interesting about the history of Amazon.

And yes, uninstalling Internet Explorer sounds a bit drastic! These things often seem quite easy to throw overboard - not so easy to scoop back up in, though!

Wed Aug 31, 08:24:00 pm  

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