Crisis Lesson from Amazon: Company Gets Out In Front of Kindle Paperwhite Complaints By Posting About Key Shortfalls

Amazon has apparently been keeping up with the latest in PR crisis communications trends, and late last week deployed a winning, proactive strategy to quash potential social backlash about some limitations of its new e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite. How? Amazon simply beat the crowd to it and took it upon itself to address the limitations on its site before they became an issue. Will it work? Hard to say, as many may not even see the disclosure, or accept the explanation, but the blowback is sure to be diminished.

The limitations are somewhat significant, including no audio or text-to-speech capability (which Amazon says allows for the device’s thinner design) and uneven built-in lighting (which is seen around the edges, where there’s no text anyway). The device also has less memory, with only 2 gigabytes of storage vs. previous models with 4GB, CNET reports.

Even though these details are addressed on the device’s product page, Amazon has opted to be crystal clear about the differences between the Kindle Paperwhite and older models, reports CNET writer Roger Cheng.

The full statement, as reprinted by CNET, is below:

Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle we’ve ever made by far, but there are certain limitations and changes from prior generations that we want you to know about. Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech. This makes the device smaller and lighter than it would otherwise be. Audio and an improved Text-to-Speech engine are supported on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.

Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even. See examples of how the screen looks in different lighting conditions. These variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present. The illumination is more even than that created by a book light or lighted cover. The contrast, resolution and illumination of the Paperwhite display is a significant step-up from our prior generation.

The Kindle Paperwhite has 2 GB of storage. Some previous Kindle models had 4GB of storage. 2GB allows you to hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device. In addition, your entire Kindle library is stored for free in the Amazon cloud, and you can easily move books from the cloud onto your device.

  • john sauser

    I recently purchased a kindle paperwhite, and am not happy with it. It absolutely refuses to recognize my wifi password. This pretty much reduces its usefulness. If this can’t be corrected, it will be the last kindle product I will purchase.

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