Damaged or Defective Kindle 2 Screen Failure :: Photos

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Screen Shot of Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Working Kindle Screen

Last week I traded in a few pieces of camera equipment for the new Kindle to really see if I could just whip through books at lightning speed and to my surprise, after about 2 days of use, I managed to mess up the screen.  I am in the middle of doing an in depth review of the Kindle 2 that I will post at a later date, but after having the Kindle 2 for about 2 days, I seems that the screen on the Kindle 2 was damaged beyond a simple fix.  The reason for this post was really to show what the customer service representative at Amazon did to fix the problem.

For those who don’t know, I really missed my calling in life to be a product tester.  No matter what the product, I can an uncanny way of being able to break the unbreakable and find problems or issues that manufactures somehow seem to miss.  I was told that the Kindle 2 was tested for durability and could withstand a drop from a two story building, but 2 days in my backpack managed to screw up the top of the screen.

Once I went through the normal troubleshooting that I knew how to do, I called the customer service number for the Kindle.  She walked me through a few other tests, had me “reboot” the system (you can hold the power slider over for 20 seconds and that will initiate a reboot on the Kindle 2).  After that (all of which took about 2 minutes total) Amazon told me they would just ship me a new one overnight.  No questions asked, they just shipped me a new one.  They paid for the shipping to return the old one, and I transferred all my book from the old kindle to the new kindle.  It was easy as it possibly could have been.

As for what I did to the Kindle, I have no idea.  I did put it in my backpack (in its own case) and perhaps to much pressure what applied to the top of the screen somewhere.  I am not sure about the 2 story drop, didn’t try that, but I will be a little more careful with it in the future regardless.  I was totally and completely thrilled with Amazon’s customer service on the kindle.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with the practicalities of the Kindle, that will come later, but as far as their customer service goes, it was great.  Having also sold on Amazon for years, I can say that all of Amazon’s customers service is geared towards their buying customers (as opposed to their sellers) and they will bend over backwards to provide the best service they can.

You can see the screen issue on the photos below.  It covers about an inch from the top with a blank line of gray going across the screen with a slash in the upper left corner.  The last two shots are what the screen shot from the damaged kindle looks like (so it is seeing everything correctly under the screen issue) and what the new one looked like when it arrived.

Update May 21, 2010

I thought I would update this post with a few comments since it is still one of the most read posts on my blog. As some have suggested, my Kindle was NOT dropped.  I simply put it in my backpack, which also wasn’t dropped, and took it out an hour later and it showed up with the damaged screen.

I did get a free replacement from Amazon, but I returned the replacement within a week for a refund (see my review A Not-So-Normal Kindle 2 Review for my reasons), but one major reason was I knew the “free screen replacement” was only going to last a short time, and it was a one time shot.  Amazon did replace the damaged screen, but they said they weren’t going to do it again.  Looking back now, more than a year later, it was the best decision and I am not super happy with my iPad.

Update February 12, 2011

As this post still gets heavy traffic and questions, I will say after using and testing the Apple iPad since it came out, I have never had a better ebook reader than the iPad and I am looking forward to seeing the new iPad 2 some time around April. The Kindle App for the iPad is one of the ebook reader apps I use, and although not my favorite, I do use it frequently.

The problem I still have with the Kindle is you basically can’t do anything else with it other than read a book. I can type out notes and highlights in my Kindle app on the iPad and it works great. The one great thing Amazon has done for the Kindle is continue to lower it’s price, but if you have an iPad I’m not sure what use one would have for the Kindle.

45 thoughts on “Damaged or Defective Kindle 2 Screen Failure :: Photos

    1. My Kindle failed in a similar fashion after 16 months. Amazon offered a new Kindle at a 20% discount and then (to add insult to injury) propose to charge postage (when all purchases from them are sent post free). The idea of a 12 month warranty on an item such as this is nonsense. Under UK law there is the concept of ‘merchantable quality’. An item costing £129 that fails within 16 months is simply not of merchantable quality and should be repaired or replaced free of charge. I intend to attempt to take action against Amazon in the UK Small Claims Court. Replacing an item of less than 12 months age, without question, may rank (as other posters have said) as outstanding customer service. Offering a replacement for a 20% discount plus postage for an item one day older than 12 months ranks as quite appalling customer service. As the. old adage goes ‘caveat emptor’ ‘let the buyer beware

      1. I purchased two Kindles and the screens on both failed. Amazon only offers a 20 percent discount. As evidenced by the comments below and on many other web sites, Kindle has a fundamental defect and Amazon refuses to address the problem. Don’t buy the Kindle.

  1. I too received a defective Kindle 2 screen that stopped working after a couple of days. I had a new one the next business day, and Amazon also sent me a $359 gift card! I thought it was a mistake and I would be double charged, but I called customer service and they say there are no further charges. I don’t know why, but I basically got a free kindle for my trouble!

  2. I also had a defective screen- it had problems the first day, and then filled up with lines one day and refused to be re-booted. Despite documented difficulties (emails to amazon about the problem starting day 1) Amazon claimed that the damage was not under warranty. They offered to fix/replace the device for $180. I was very surprised and disappointed, because I had bought the Kindle 2 with reservations, but confident Amazon would stand by its product (after reading the reviews above). Less than 30 days after receiving the Kindle 2- it is wholly unuseable, and will cost an additional $180 just to fix. My advise? Wait for a better (less fragile) product.

  3. Hi,

    You were very lucky! My Kindle 2 is damaged similarly with an arc on the right side of the screen. The Amazon Customer Service told me that I had to pay $135 for replacement. Very disappointed!


  4. I was so happy to see your site. I have had, used and loved my Kindle for about 6 months. The Kindle has traveled around the world with me. I have never had any problems. yesterday, I turned the Kindle on and my screen looked exactly like the above.

    I just called customer service and they are sending me a brand new Kindle with a prepaid envelope to return the effective one. This process took me three minutes in total, and I will get the new Kindle within two days.

    I highly recommend buying and using a Kindle. Their customer service could not have been better!

  5. I am now on my 3rd kindle within 4 months because part of the screen will become blocked out. I don’t know what I am doing to it to make this happen. both times it was after about 2 weeks on non-use. The first time amazon was great about replacing it. The 2nd time they wanted to send me a refurb but eventually agreed to replace it with a new one. It doesn’t help that the price has gone down either. If I had done my research i dont know that i wold have bought it. I do love it, but the product is not the quality i expected. i would love to know how to prevent if possible, this from happening again.

  6. I love my Kindle 2 and am realistic enough to recognise that any device can have or develop problems. It’s what happens next that shows the kind of business you’re dealing with.

    My Kindle 2 developed a screen problem this morning when the upper right quartile of the screen refused to lose the sleeping picture when I turned the machine on. I called customer service in the States (I’m in UK, and for some odd reason Amazon only sell Kindles internationally from the US) and we talked through the problem. A bright and cheerful Irish guy apologised that I’d had a problem (the machine had not been dropped or knocked and lives in its leather case), and agreed immediately to send me a replacement.

    This is great customer relations, and typical of my experience of Amazon over the last decade or more. On one occasion, when a Palm device failed a few days after delivery, they sent out one of their guys who personally delivered a replacement to me about four hours after I called in the complaint, (and I live about fifty miles from their depot!).

    Jeff Bezos should be praised for the ethic he has engendered in his business. Amazon have always been and continue to be straight with me, their customer. I shall remain loyal to them. Some of the stupid comments I’ve read elsewhere with people seeming to expect Amazon to replace damage they have themselves caused show their authors in a bad light, whereas Amazon, in the way they have treated me this morning show that they continue to be the Good Guys. Thank you, Amazon.

  7. I just got my Kindle and when I finally had some free time to start reading my first book, a quarter of the sleep screen image won’t disappear. I’m very bummed. I hope customer service is as accommodating. But my question is how/why did it happen. I haven’t done anything that I know of to damage it.

  8. Same problem. Corner right screen blacked out. Less than 3 months old and barely used.

    Amazon sent new one. Seems that this will be a recurring problem.

  9. I googled “kindle screen problems” this morning because as most of you, I’m having screen problems. I am on my 2nd kindle. My first I bought on 3/23/10 and received it on 3/30. After using it for less than 2 weeks, I had to call amazon on 4/10/10. I had no issues what so ever until that day. I went to turn it on and started getting lines across the bottom half of the screen along with a a grey arched area on the top right corner. I tried everything the customer rep later told me to do to no avail. Like most said, amazon was great with the customer service aspect. I was ordered a new one with free 2 day shipping and free return shipping and $0 out of my pocket. But now I’m greatly disappointed because the same thing has happened again! I really really love my kindle but I don’t know if to just ask for a refund and get an ipad.

  10. Good point. I shouldn’t have accused you of dropping your Kindle. My bad.

    Instead, what happened was some sort of strain in the corner which may or may not be a drop. The same thing happened to me (it wasn’t in the corner but I think it was more a torsion from being on the outer pocket of my carry on). I’m beginning to think the person at Amazon who claimed that angular cuts = impact was just full of shit. All failures seem to have properties that look like either and depending on the time and attitude can be used to rationalize all manner of b.s. (sort of like an arson investigation from looking at burn patterns).

    In any case, they replaced your Kindle 2 and they refused to replace mine the first time I called using that reasoning. My girlfriend called a couple of months later and they replaced it immediately. Go figure.

    My new kindle is going fine, and I hope yours is too. I’ve now owned it much longer than the first one (which failed pretty quickly), so I don’t know if my habits have changed, or there are a lot of defective Kindles being produced, or some of both.

    My iPad (often using the Kindle App) has replaced my Kindle for most of the reading I do. In non-fiction, esp. technical manuals, I tend to flip around profusely—and the faster rendering of the iPad makes a difference (not to mention the dock can be useful as a stand while working on a computer at the same time). Also reference manuals (like camera manuals), they’re PDFs and are better viewed even on an iPhone (which you are more likely to carry with your camera).

    The notable exceptions are novels which are read cover to cover and the New Yorker magazine—Conde Naste in the U.S. doesn’t seem to support Zinio and the Kindle app doesn’t do magazine subscriptions).

    Take care,


  11. @terry you are exactly right, I am pretty sure my screen issue was caused by some strain in the corner when I put it in my backpack… I still think Amazon should have replaced any and all devices that ended up with bad screens like that, it seems more like a flaw than anything else, we shouldn’t have to walk around with bubble wrap for these things, we should be able to drop them with no bad effects. Thanks for the update.

  12. I had my kindle for 1 and 1/2 years before the screen froze. Each attempt at resetting resulted in the screen getting an increasing number of horizontal lines. Now the screen is almost completely black. Customer service can’t offer any help besides recommending that I replace my device with a refurbished one for $99. I’ve been reading online that I’m not the only one with this problem. Yikes! Buyer beware: you might end up saving money buying hard copies of books instead!

  13. My daughter is on her 7th Kindle. (2nd Kindle 2) All have died with screen damage like the above. All in her backpack, all in M-Edge cases. Her iPod touch in same backpack, no case, dropped many times is just fine. Kindle durability is non-existent. When Kindle 7 dies it is iPad time.

  14. I awoke this morning after having my belove Kindle for almost a year. The top right corner would not clear and the problem could not be fixed using all the things I knew how to do. I was very upset as it was a gift from my daughter who has been serving in the 173 Airborne Combat ready Unit for me quiting smoking last January.

    I called customer service they treated me better than any customer service I have ever dealt with. Tommorrow I will have my new kindle with all my books already there. GREAT COMPANY GREAT PRODUCT

  15. Im on my second kindle and tonight it (2nd kindle , old virson i believe) got the same screeen thing my first kindle had. now i have called the servies people and i agree with Jenifer Ladas , great help but this screen problem seems to be a trend . i believe that the kindle should be able to be put in a high schoolers bag and brought to school , not dropped or anything and be fine.

  16. The screen on the Kindle is very easy to ruin, I’m on my second one and its broken, again. The first one was in a case and being in my full bag, cracked the screen. I dropped the second one on my tile floor and the case opened and the top of the screen was ruined. The cases are ridiculous, fifty dollars and they can’t even protect it. and the most terrible thing about it is the fact that the repairs cost more than the kindle itself, sometimes. Might as well just buy a new one, if you have an amazon account and order a new one from there your books should still be there.

  17. I was given a Kindle for Xmas in the morning of Xmas day. That same morning set it up, created an Amazon acct and downloaded about 15 free books from Amazon onto it. Cool device. BUT, later that day, after using it for about an hour, I put it into a pocket behind my car seat, then about 1/2 hour later took it out, ‘woke’ it up and only the bottom 1/3 of the screen is rendering – the top 2/3 is showing the ‘sleep’ mode ‘screensaver’. I’ve made sure it has plenty of charge and have tried resetting it but still no good. There was no pressure on the car seat pocket by the way.

    Have contacted Amazon via email on their support site, hopefully will be replaced under warranty, but it doesn’t bode well for the device if it’s going to fail after 2-3 hours use. A bit concerning some people above have been asked to pay to get it fixed. We’ll see.

  18. My daughters Kindle died while she was reading a book on it. There was no physical stress put on it. Screen is all scrambled and it cannot be reset. Not impressed since it is only a few days old. I’m returning it for a refund.

  19. After about seven weeks of use, the top third of the Kindle 2 screen went blank. I was travelling overseas so I emailed Amazon and asked for advice. They were quite non committal about how to deal with the problem so I bought a new one at Staples and then returned the old one for a refund a couple of days latter. I felt a little sorry about being a bit devious but not willing to eat the cost of repair or replacement.

    Obviously, Kindle has a serious quality issue with their screen.

  20. My wifes Kindle 3.1 slipped off the eliptical machine and bounched off the machine and landed on carpet. It initially looked like it had a crack in the middle of the screen but as we were looking at it, the left half of the screen went blank. The unit will not reset no matter what we try. The green light indicates it is turning on but it does not respond. I’m not happy that it broke this easily and upon reading all the comments about not needing to drop them for them to fail I’m really annoyed.

  21. After a few hundred hours of using my ipad as an ereader they eye strain got to be too much so I ordered another kindle. Now the kindle screen has developed lines where the e-ink doesn’t appear. At first annoying, but the size of the dead area is increasing. I don’t like backlit screens for long reding sessions, but I’m skeptical the e-ink tech is rest for prime time.

  22. Figured I was in the hole for a new Kindle (which had been in an EXPENSIVE but awesome Otter Box case the whole time, although in my work duffle) when my screen developed the above problems this morning. After reading these posts, figured I had nother to lose by calling – the super nice CSR didn’t question anything I had done to it, and will have a brand new replacement within 2 days, free of charge. Can you imagine what the world would be like if other companies followed Amazon’s suit with this level of customer service??

  23. My daughter got a Kindle for her birthday in April ’10. After one year (past warranty, of course) it showed a screen problem in that the top inch was not showing up at all. I called customer service expecting to have to buy a new one, but they are replacing it with no cost to me. All I have to do is send back the old one when I receive the new one. It was so easy!!! They didn’t question me at all. Amazon has great customer service!

  24. I got my Kindle 2 for my birthday last year (end of July.) Over this past weekend the bottom half of the screen, randomly, without being dropped once, stopped working. Amazon is sending one to me on Thursday, and gave me a prepaid postage stamp. I love it and can’t wait for the other to arrive to keep reading. (I was in the middle of reading a really good book.)

  25. Ny stepdaughter got the kindle this past Xmas and doesnt use all that often…even lost privileges for several months and recently experienced the screen problem above. I was glad to see it is pretty common and that she most likely didnt cause it. I called Amazon and it took, like the person mentioned above, maybe 3 minutes to get a replacement sent out. Just have to return the other within 90 days. I wish all companies were this pleasant and quick!
    Thank you amazon!

  26. I wish I had read this section BEFORE I bought my Kindle. Of course I might have thought “these are just a few of the thousands contented people and they just had bad luck’. But lo and behold—– now after just about two weeks of use the screen on my Kindle is destroyed. I did NOT drop it or mistreat it—- in fact it’s never even been out of my apartment except once to ‘test’ the wireless in my apartment office. (It worked).

    I’m going to ask for a replacement and hope Amazon does right by me. They’ve been good in all other dealings.

  27. My wife’s Kindle 3G+WiFi, bought in mid-April of this year, just had the screen completely crap out last night. She’s not a heavy user, she’s only accidentally left it on overnight ONCE. Never dropped it, never subjected it to extreme temperatures, has never even put it in a bag or purse that could cause pressure on the screen. Amazon was very nice about it and is sending out a replacement right away but, unlike those here praising Amazon for such fast service, this gives me reason to concern.

    Having spent 3 years working for Gateway Computers (before they downsized) I’ve learned that when CSRs are willing to replace your device without question they KNOW there’s a defect with the device. In our case, it was – at the time – a defective USRobotics dial up modem. If customers called in with that specific modem, CSRs were to give them a replacement with no fuss. If a customer called in with a DIFFERENT modem, CSRs weren’t allowed to give them a replacement without going through the entire troubleshooting process AND they had to get authorization from management. Amazon rapidly giving out replacements means they KNOW this is an issue, probably far more widespread than they want to admit, and they’re trying to stay ahead of the potential PR problems.

    Doing a simple Google search for defective Kindle screens brought up a ton of results, most of them looking like the problem my wife’s Kindle has, and many of them dating all the way back to early 2009.

  28. After 7 months, my Kindle 3 developed problems with the screen. I could only view the bottom half of the books (top half being blank), but the Home and ScreenSaver screens were both screwed up with multiple images and lines in different directions. After reassuring customer service that it was NOT dropped and is always kept in a leather case/holder, a new replacement Kindle was shipped 2 day. However, I was required to give them a credit card number. I was told that if I did not send the damaged one back within 30 days, I would be charged for the replacement one. No problem. I sent the “damaged” one back. However, I was later informed that they found the Kindle to be damaged due to being dropped and I was charged any way. How do they know that it was not damaged being shipped back? I am very upset because I did NOT drop it. I filed a dispute with my credit card company, but have no idea how it will all pan out. I will never buy another Kindle due to this experience.

  29. Great post! I too have just got back from traveling with my kindle in my backpack. no issues on the way out but now similar screen issues on the return. I absolutely love my kindle and will ALMOST never read a paper book. however, I am now convinced, that one should not travel with their kindle after reading all the notes and reviews. Our new kindle has a travel case with light, so maybe this will help. I will try customer service, but our kindle is rather old; so I imagine that we will just suck it up and pay the $120 for a new one. One thing is absolutley CLEAR, this can’t be dropped off a 2 story building! I think it is much more fragile than our laptop.

  30. I am waiting for my second replacement of my kindle 2 – supposed to be here tomorrow. Got my original in march ’11 screen issues should up in august rec’d replacement beginning of September. screen issues showed up on Saturday. While talking to the CSR at Amazon I stated that it seemed to me that there is something wrong with the kindles to have this happen twice, and he told me I would drive myself crazy trying to figure it out and that I would have my new kindle by Tuesday. I’m not sure I even want a kindle anymore if this is going to keep happening what happens when my warranty runs out. But this was a gift and it’s to late for my Mom to get her money back. My mom has had a first generation for years and never had a problem. It’s great the Amazon has such good customer service but it would be even better if I didn’t have to contact them.

  31. I got my first Kindle as a gift last April. Within 2 months the screen was scrambled. Amazon customer service was great and I received a new Kindle. Here it is Oct and I was in the middle of a good book when my screen scrambles again. After working with customer service I’m waiting for my 3rd Kindle which is due in a few days. My problem is once the 1 year warranty is up what happens when the screen scrambles? Customer Service probably won’t be as nice and I will probably be responsible for the repair. This seems to be a defect with the Kindle that needs to be corrected.

  32. I bought two kindles for Christmas for my 15 and 10 year girls. They love to read and I bought them both hard cases for the kindles. They have replaces multiple times. The reps at Amazon have been great until the original kindle was a year old. Then the warranty was out and they told me I would have to purchase a new one for the girls. The kindles were never dropped, that I know of. They are used daily and in purses and backpacks. But why should I have to buy a kindle, I would think that they should last a year. I am not going to buy a new Kindle, it will be a Nook.

  33. I’ve now had two Kindles with this same issue. Amazon replaced my first one that did this, but the second time I was out of warranty and I’ll have to buy my replacement. When I mentioned that this seemed to be a defect, the customer care rep I spoke with said, “It’s like buying a Mitsubishi, knowing they have transmission problems.” I told her if I’d bought two Mistubishis and both had had transmission problems, I would be buying a Honda next. (Switching to the iPad sounds pretty good right now.)

    She also told me that the issue is in transporting the device– that the screen can’t handle the pressure of being in a bag with anything that could cause pressure, even (perhaps especially) if it has a case. That explains your bookbag problem. She told me I should only carry a Kindle in my hand. Seriously.

    Anyway, thanks for your post. I’m currently waging a war against Amazon for the Kindle product, if anyone wants to join me! @amyvdixon


  35. I have had my Kindle for almost 2 years and the screen won’t wake up! I was advised to open the back and press the reset button, which incidently we were unable to find. I am very disappointed. We live in South Africa and because of all the fraud and theft we are obliged to pay courier costs, which makes the Kindle very expensive. I do have the Kindle app on my Ipad, so I have been able to read. However the battery life on the Ipad compared to the Kindle is non existent. I could read my Kindle for at least 10 days before charging. The Ipad has to be charged every 2nd day! I shall have to get another Kindle even if it is just for the battery life!

  36. Is anyone having any luck with these defective kindles. There certainly IS a problem no one is willing to talk about at Amazon about these bad screens. My daughter’s AND my grandaughter’s kindle screens both have problems and yes, they are just out of warranty. Are we expected to keep replacing the kindle every year or two. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this. Are we just paying and being dismayed, buying another one thinking.. did we just do something that caused a screen problem. Actually, with both kindles, they were not dropped or abused. Help.. someone get the word out.

  37. I had a Simliar issue only thing I hadn’t used mind in over a May have used it three times when I got ir. Charged it for like 4 hours turned it on and the screen had lines everywhere. Customer service was not so nice, it had been two years and three uses later and they wanted me to pay for a new one. Hell I didnt get to use the first one. Uhh was very disappointed and like you I have a tablet but I felt like I waisted my monet.

  38. Hi, have had my Kindle2 for almost 5 years, when a few weeks back my screen wouldn’t wake up any more. I did not drop it, and my Kindle2 lives in my house 🙂 , hardly ever goes out in my bag, is always in its (expensive) cover. Contacted Customer Service after googling solutions (and trying them). They were very nice, but unfortunately my Kindle was too old. They offered no deal, just advised to buy a refurbished one. A new one from the US is too expensive, since I live in the Netherlands and have to pay shipping and taxes. I finally decided to order one in Germany (basic model Kindle), have it sent to a friends’ address over there, and she had it sent to the Netherlands. Very happy to have a Kindle again, but sad that Amazon can sell such an expensive Kindle2 without proper recompense. I feel that, even after using it extensively for almost 5 years, the amount I paid warrants a longer lifetime… Years ago I even got my vacuum cleaner replaced, claiming that it shouldn’t explode only using it once a week in my small appartment for 3 years. Manufacturer agreed. So why can’t Amazon agree that an expensive Kindle2 should not die of screen-failure after 5 years??

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