Supply and crazy demand: Kindle Paperwhite

Well, it looks like my decision to camp on the Amazon homepage and wait for the Kindle Paperwhite order link to show up has paid off. The Internet commerce giant has apparently been slammed with orders since Jeff Bezos announced that new Kindles would be coming at his press conference last Thursday. I spent all that morning and early afternoon refreshing Amazon.com, hoping to be one of the first people to order the new device. I had hoped being ahead in line would get my PW shipped out a little early if they decided to move up the date, but now I’ll be lucky to get one on time. The above screenshot shows that Amazon has retracted its October 1st ship date for the Kindle Paperwhite. Due to supply and demand, current orders will not be shipped until “the week of October 22nd.” There is also a new order limit of five devices per customer. If you have a whole family of Kindle lovers, hopefully that will be enough. As for the ship date, Amazon has had a history of supply and demand issues in the past, including two major pre-holiday sellouts of all Kindle eReader devices. When the Kindle 1 was announced, it sold out, ship dates were pushed back again and again, and then the resupply sold out too. After this unfortunate experience (that included an apology to customers and a picture of a warehouse full of Kindles being displayed on their homepage, just to prove that they really had them) they seemed to handle the Kindle 3 and 4 releases a bit better. Last year, I ordered my Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire a couple weeks after the announcement, and both arrived on the expected delivery date, without delay. Now, thanks to my eager patience last Thursday, I will be getting my brand new Kindle Paperwhite on October the 3rd, just as planned . . . unless something goes terribly wrong. But supply and demand hasn’t been the only issue with an Amazon release.

In Amazon’s new ad campaign, most of their commercials emphasize that they “are the people with the smile on the box,” focusing on their fast and efficient delivery service. From “frustration free packaging” to Prime’s free two-day shipping, Amazon has revolutionized the way we shop, and heightened our expectations of how long it should take for an order to be delivered. Everyone loves seeing an Amazon box tucked into their doorway, or peeking out of the lid of an overstuffed mailbox. Unfortunately, thieves have taken to noticing the smile on the box as well. Last year, a rash of complaints hit the new Kindle’s customer reviews; people were getting their Kindle boxes stolen right off their front porches due to Amazon’s indiscreet packaging. I figured the box might say “Amazon.com” on it, but I never thought “KINDLE FIRE” would be advertised in large letters on the side. If they didn’t want the box itself, that frustration free packaging means that a slimy thief is only one cardboard tab rip away from stealing your Fire HD, a process that could take less than ten seconds. In the past, Amazon shipped their devices in two boxes, one inside the other, for added protection from damage in the mail. The original Kindle box was a giant and sturdy comparatively. Now, most likely to cut costs, Amazon  has taken to shipping their fragile eReaders in thin boxes with basically no protective cushioning. On top of that, they advertise what’s inside to any passerby on the street. Take this ad for last year’s Kindle Fire for example:

Do you really think this woman’s box would still be there on this busy street in real life?

I am hoping that Amazon has again listened to their customers, and that my new Kindle Paperwhite will arrive on time, in one piece, and in more street-wise packaging. Amazon already uses cheap, recyclable boxes, so the least they could do would be to give us another and throw in some packing peanuts.

I will continue to excitedly await the arrival of my Paperwhite, and once I get it, I will be posting the first ever E Ink / E Read video and written review. Stay tuned.

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