A Tale of Two Kindles

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


2012 Kindle Paperwhite on the left, new model on the right.

I bought my first Kindle, a Paperwhite, in 2012 when I was working for WOW! as a Blog Tour Manager. I needed to be able to read PDFs of the books sent to us by prospective authors, so I purchased one and soon grew to love it. I even bought a cute cover for it from Amazon once I realized having a black cover made it hard for me to find the Kindle when I needed it (too much blending into every other countertop and piece of furniture in our house). That Kindle was well worn, loved and used for years and years. It went back and forth with me to the pool, the beach, on airplanes, and in the past few years, I realized it helped me when I woke up in the middle of the night and had a hard time going back to sleep. I could open my Kindle, read for a few minutes without turning on a light and waking up my husband, and go back to sleep. 

I bought my two children Kindle Fires, with the color screens, when they were younger, and one of them has already died. But still, my trusty Paperwhite soldiered on. 

In the past few years, when I discovered I could check books from my library through the Libby app and send them directly to my Kindle, it got even more use. But about a month ago, I noticed the Kindle acting “clunky.” It would take a long time to “flip” the pages, and there were a few times it restarted on its own for no apparent reason. Then, one night, when I was having trouble sleeping, it refused to come on. I kept pushing the power button and nothing happened. After about two hours of lying awake in bed and trying to turn it on periodically, I gave up. The next day, I made this Facebook post: 

I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite since 2012 and that’s normally what I turn to when I’m having trouble sleeping. I’ll read for five or ten minutes and that’s all I need. The device, after many days of sending me emphatic warnings, departed this world around 12:30 a.m. I finally fell asleep unassisted around 2 a.m. I’m surprised it lasted this long! 

My friends got a laugh out of that, and I begrudgingly set about ordering a new and improved Paperwhite, gritting my teeth against the cost of it and a new cover (because it is a slightly-different size than my original). I told myself I originally paid around $150 for the first one and I have gotten much more than that original investment out of it. 

I received my new one and love all the new features and speed at which it operates. Then my husband asked me if he could look at my old one. He said, “I wonder if something sticky got on the power button and was causing it not to start back up.” Sure enough, he took a damp paper towel and wiped the area of the power button, noting a substance there (perhaps spilled coffee or a protein shake). 

Guess what? The old Kindle Paperwhite is back to working just fine now. Oh well, I guess now I have a backup that I can take to the pool and beach that won’t be a big loss if it gets damaged? I have to say, I am impressed by the longevity of this product. If your ever on the fence about getting one, especially the Paperwhite, you will get your money’s worth, I promise. And no, this is not an ad. 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer, Kindle enthusiast, and creator/host of the true crime podcast Missing in the Carolinas.


Jodi Webb said...

Hilarious! I got my Kindle for the same reason a few earlier than you and it gave up the ghost a few years ago but I never replaced it. Now my kids are pushing me toward a Tablet but I'm not sure I want something with the temptation to check emails, etc. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Too funny, Renee! I also got my Kindle Paperwhite around the same time. I remember when it had that warning that everything was switching to 5G and they made it sound like it would no longer work. But sure enough, it kept on going. Then last year, I noticed it getting slow and sticky and not turning pages, but after reading a bunch of posts, I discovered it was because I had it plugged into the charger while trying to use it! So now I make sure it's all charged up, and it still works just fine. They last so long! I also use the Kindle app on my iphone and that works great, although it's not as easy on the eyes as the Paperwhite. If you don't want your extra Kindle, I believe you can return it to Amazon within 30 days.

Renee Roberson said...

Jodi--I am so impressed by how long these Paperwhites last! And my husband is not much of a reader but even he enjoys reading on it. The Kindle Fire didn't seem to last as long but my daughter says that was because of the graphics and color screen. I do understand wanting something that's not as distracting as our phones!

Ang--I didn't know using the Kindle while charging it up would cause issues! We're so lucky there are so many forums out there that help us troubleshoot this stuff. I've decided to keep the new Kindle (I do like the updated features!) and am keeping my old one as a backup. Plus, I'll take it to the beach so I don't get sand all over the new one. Sand may have been what got stuck in the power button in the first place now that I think about it.

Sue--Cleaning out the power button seems to have cleared up all issues! I'm not having an issue flipping the pages anymore and overall it seems to be running more smoothly.

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