Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

February 14, 2016

I bricked my Kindle

“I feel as though you’ve just killed an old friend,” complained the Doctor as the Terileptil Leader fried his sonic screwdriver in 1982’s “The Visitation”. In retrospect it’s a rather tacky observation, given that Adric’s radioactive, dinosaur-extinctioning atoms would be scattered across the Cretaceous atmosphere just two stories later.

Still, I got a taste of how he felt this weekend. On the very final leg of my (typically arduous) overseas travel, I discovered to my horror that I had destroyed my Kindle. Three quarters of the screen – all but a small quadrant in the lower left corner – is frozen on the stark and scratchy image of an old-fashioned printing press. The one bit of the screen that’s behaving as it should offers a tantalising glimpse of the standard menu, but nothing readable.

What happened? I don’t know for sure. There’s a possibility it got crushed by my aeroplane seat – it had an unusual reclining angle that I could easily have failed to account for. On the other hand, it’s also pretty old – second generation Kindle, probably four or five years old at this point. That’s practically senescent in e-reader years.

A nice person on Amazon chat ran me through all the standard troubleshooting tricks I’d already found through an internet search. They confirmed that it was not fixable. Also no longer under warranty, which came as no surprise. Ah well.

There’s a small chance that, as the travel was work-related, I may be able to claim for a replacement item. If I did, the equivalent model costs about two or three times what i paid for my current one. I’m not holding my breath. More likely, I’ll be without my beloved e-reader and constant companion for several weeks, if not longer.

That’s good news for the backlog of physical books sitting beside my bed. There’s – what, maybe twenty or thirty books in that stack? That’s nothing next to the roughly a hundred or so titles languishing in the virtual oblivions of my Amazon account and my Backups folder. But any period of enforced separation from the light and easy Kindle option will be a boon for clearing up some floor space in my bedroom.

Time to go read a dead tree, the way our primitive ancestors used to do.


(PS: The trip was fine BTW. Exhausting but fine. I’m just not going to discuss the day job on the blog. Especially not this week, when I need to put in an application in order to keep it!)


  1. Mine did pretty much the same thing a few months ago under similar circumstances – the day after I got back from a plane trip, it only turned 1/3 on, with the rest of the screen stuck with 2/3 of a picture of Emily Dickinson, and it resolutely stayed that way whatever I did. It was about the same age as yours and I replaced it with a shiny new one. 😀

    BTW, my brain did a really weird thing reading this post. I read ‘They confirmed it was not focable’ and thought, ‘ha, typical finger on keyboard slippage typo’, then looked again and it *was* ‘fixable’ and it was my brain getting lost on the lrunpstf@

    Comment by Chris — February 15, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

  2. My brain takes wrong turns up the lrunpstf@ all the time 🙂

    What kind did you get by way of replacement? I haven’t decided what to choose yet. In theory I don’t have to choose at all, since I can link my ipad to the account and read on that, but reading off the unlit screen is a different experience. I think I prefer the latter. (Also getting all my non-Amazon purchases to work with the kindle app would probably be a huge pain in the arse).

    Incidentally while I was researching possible fixes I read what I can only classify as unconfirmed rumours that airport x-ray machines can play havoc with Kindle screens. I have my doubts, what with how many flights its been on before this, not to mention the fact that it was working hours earlier in the waiting lounge (after I’d passed through customs etc). How would you rate the scientific plausibility of such a theory?

    Comment by lexifab — February 16, 2016 @ 11:20 am

  3. I keep forgetting to look and see what sort I have. Will try to remember tonight! It seems odd that Kindles would be more sensitive than other devices to airport X-rays, but it is remotely plausible. I would be more inclined to the ‘we reckless traveller treat them cruelly’ explanation. :/

    Comment by Chris — February 18, 2016 @ 11:45 am

  4. Occam’s Razor certainly points, glinting and wicked, toward sleep-deprived user error.

    Comment by lexifab — February 18, 2016 @ 1:10 pm

  5. Argh, my condolences. I’m glad you’re seeing the bright side, though. What’s on your dead tree pile to tackle?

    Comment by Elizabeth @ Earl Grey Editing — February 18, 2016 @ 4:22 pm

  6. Basically all of my Con swag from the last two Confluxes, a heap of Gillian’s stuff, several anthologies, a Joe Hill from about three years ago, a couple of non-fiction history books and a couple of Cat Valente middle-age books (the first couple of “The Girl Who ~” books). Probably also some other stuff. It’s two piles, each a foot-and-a-half high.

    I am currently devouring the Ticonderoga Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013 collection…

    Comment by lexifab — February 19, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

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