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Lost Your Kindle? Email A Last-Ditch Note to the Finder/Thief.

About a week ago, I lost my Kindle. This makes me sad. After tracking it on security cameras until it left the film of vision (left in cart at grocery store), I’ve devised a last ditch effort. Remember that convenience method of emailing documents to your kindle? Well, I’ve just created a PDF pleading for its return, including my contact info. Will it work? Maybe not, but it can’t hurt either. You can do this yourself.

  1. Write a “please return my Kindle” note in MS Word. I used size 20 font, all caps, and short sentences. After my first pleading sentences
    I included my address, phone, and email to maximize the opportunity for contact. (I live in a building with card access and the building manager’s office by the entry, so I’m not overly concerned with security here.) I even listed a location next to the grocery store it was left in as a potential drop off location. Lastly, I offered a small finders fee if it helps to incentivize them.
  2. Save as (or print-to) PDF with filename “PLEASE RETURN MY KINDLE.” My assumption is that this will be the title as it appears in the Kindle itself.
  3. Email to your with the subject “convert”. This will convert it to Kindle format for easier reading, i.e., no need to do zoom/positioning to get the best view of the text. Make it as easy as possible for them to return, if they have any intention of doing so.

I’ll let you know if it works. In the meantime, if you try this, let me know the results (if any).

Posted in Tutorials.

5 Responses

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  1. Patrick says

    It’s a real shame that your kindle wandered off with the help of a shopping cart, but it’s a great instance for wondering about the future of knowledge, books, and hardware. With the going price of the current 6″ graphite kindle being $139 or $114 with sponsored screensavers it would appear the cost of the kindle may come down in time as Amazon continues to grow its offerings of kindle edition books. But maybe not. Perhaps Amazon will simply treat its kindle as Apple and others have treated their hardware, continuously offering a new version every year or two at the going rate while offering the remainders of older versions for “rock bottom prices” or roughly half the cost of the new.

    Clearly there is a lot of speculation in the above. The point of this speculation is to wonder at what point the value of the knowledge contained within the kindle, but not necessarily limited to that form since books bought through Amazon remain accessible on other devices, far outweighs the value of the device itself.

    Had you lost a book as you had lost your kindle it would be a shame. But would it be of as much concern as losing the kindle? With phone bills of folks with iPhone’s and other smart phones on Verizon and AT&T running $100 +/- a month, the monetary cost of losing your kindle wouldn’t appear as great as say losing your MacBook Pro.

    Clearly as you and others with kindles have the means to send a notice to your lost kindle you should. But, I’m curious how long you will wait for a reply before going on Amazon to purchase a replacement because it might just say something about the value you place on the device and the knowledge it holds.

  2. codyaray says

    There’s a tradeoff. In terms of hard costs, the value of the books bought on Amazon only outweigh the value of the Kindle when you have purchased at least 18 books (at $9.99 average cost per book and $189 kindle with 3G). This goes up to 24 purchased books if you include “accessories” such as the cover with light ($50) that mine had. Personally, I know that I have far more reading materials from other sources (journals, ebooks, PDFs of books, etc) than I had Amazon books. So…the loss still hurts.

    Now for a bit of speculation. The Kindle’s technology doesn’t need constant revision to keep up with “the next great thing” like a smart phone does. Honestly, I could get a Nook or iPad or whatever if I wanted something with a lot of features. The simplicity of reading on a Kindle is what I desire, and it should remain a dedicated reading device. Mine had an experimental MP3 player, browser, etc. that were never used. That being said, Amazon should look toward the razor and blade model, as non-smart phones used to do; by “giving away” the device, more people will turn to the Amazon store to make book purchases. Over the lifetime of a kindle, they could make far more money this way. (Incidentally, when reading about tracking/reporting a lost kindle on other forums, I was told that Amazon doesn’t really care because they just want more kindles out there, and assume you’ll likely buy another).

    And for what its worth, my super-cool boss gave me his old Kindle 1, which I can use as an excuse to stall buying a new Kindle while I cross-my-fingers that mine shows up.

    • Patrick says

      I do agree with your take on the simplicity, though I did find the browser incredibly useful this summer when traveling in Europe and as a back up texting/email device when my phone dies here in the states. I also made heavier use, than most I know, of the keyboard and noticed the characters fading within weeks of owning it. I wonder how common that was for users of the grey kindle.

      I don’t know enough of the revenue sharing model that Amazon has with those publishers it convinces to release a book for the Kindle, but on the cost of book bit, I think I like you tended toward use of the Kindle for reading PDFs and other documents more than for kindle books. And other than the free kindle books offered through Amazon I don’t think I’ve bought more than $70 worth of kindle books in the last year (5 books) – but I don’t know how common this purchasing practice is.

      I’d like to hear more of your argument for Amazon to adopt a giving the device away model if you can flesh it out. I suppose to me the Kindle always seems more similar to the X-Box and Playstation model.

      Also, looking forward it is interesting to note the new purchasing options that include discounts for those willing to deal with advertisements. Might this become the new norm? And, is this a move toward having advertisements included in Kindle books?

      • codyaray says

        “the Kindle always seems more similar to the X-Box and Playstation model.”


  3. Patrick says

    Sure. X-Box and Playstation are platforms for delivering content generated by others, whether games or videos. In the non-smart phone model referenced earlier the phone companies benefit directly by lowering the cost of hardware (though they would also lock individuals into longterm contracts guaranteeing they cover the cost to do so) to less than a month’s phone bill or even to free. Better phones led to higher usage and higher usage netted greater revenue that went directly to the service provider and from them filtered down to hardware manufacturers etc.

    With X-Box, Playstation, and Kindle, the company selling the hardware does not see all the revenue from the sale of a game, dvd or book. Instead the publisher, producer or game company is also at the table with the hardware provider at the very beginning and from what I understand these content producers see the majority of the profit from the sale of content. That is why I do not think the hardware could be given away for free based purely on an expectation of greater purchases. I think where Amazon is going, lowering the cost to the consumer by introducing advertising on screen-savers (a first move surely), is a good attempt to further diversify their revenue stream and break from either of the two models discussed. I suppose that would align them more with Google and other companies where advertising comprises a larger share of their yearly revenue.

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