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Psa : Don't buy your mom a Kindle

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wantmore posted 3/2/2012 09:39 AM

Really, don't do it unless she is at least a little computer savvy. Or unless you live nearby and can help her.

My day at work on Tuesday (I'm a librarian) consisted of attempting to help 2 different women download eBooks from a neighboring library's Overdrive collection. Both were told confidently by their offspring that they could borrow library books and read for free. Amazon makes it very easy and even fun to select books and buy them, and have them appear, by magic, on your Kindle. Borrowing books is a whole different thing, and in some cases, anything but simple.

In both cases we spent over 30 minutes selecting an acceptable book that was available, and near the end of the process neither of them could log into Amazon. In one case I assured the woman that it wouldn't work anyway since her Kindle had a 3G connection, not Wi-fi. For the uninitiated, all Overdrive eBooks for Kindle are downloaded directly from your Amazon account. We won't even get into the privacy issues here. For library eBooks for Kindle, if you have 3G you must download to a PC and then transfer via USB. Publishers can also insist on USB transfers of certain titles even if the Kindle is Wi-fi equipped.

But wait, it gets even better! The 3G owner came back the next day, and I spent over an hour with her, patiently explaining Overdrive, Amazon, 3G, Wi-fi, DRM, and why the book she borrowed was likely delivered to her daughter's Kindle. She doesn't have a computer in Florida, and I wouldn't allow downloading the book to our research computer and transferring via USB. Shhh don't tell, we don't have a policy in place yet. The sad bit is she insisted they helped her at her home library up north, and sure enough, there was an expired library book on her Kindle. She didn't remember anything about using a computer to do it, but that's the only way to get a book on there, so I know it was used.

It was very frustrating for both of us. She ended up purchasing the book, and then it didn't auto deliver. I suspect it was because she had just borrowed it. I left it to her to call Amazon customer service.

It wasn't even my library's eBooks. I deserve a chocolate brownie for this one. Our library is getting eBooks in April. There are maybe 3 people on staff who are comfortable with this stuff. Sure, there will be lots of training, and when it's all said and done staff will pass off the most confused people to the magic 3.

OK, if you must buy your mom a Kindle, and if she plans on using library books, make sure it is a Wi-fi enabled model. 3G is best if she is going to BUY books from Amazon. There is a big difference. And for goodness sakes, please, PLEASE make sure they can log into the correct Amazon account. Nothing happens without that.

Disclaimer : All of the above applies only to regular Kindles. Tablets, iPads,smart phones, Kindle Fires,Nooks and Sony readers are different.

Heaven help us, here come the elderly parents.

GabyBaby posted 3/2/2012 10:12 AM

This is soooo the reason why I havent given my Mom my 'hand me down' Kindle.
I have an ipad and use the kindle app on there, so my actual Kindle has been collecting dust.

I considered giving it to my mom who is also a reader, but I live in CA, she lives in NY. She doesnt know how to use a computer other than turning it on and clicking on the website she wants to visit.

She wouldnt know what to do with a kindle unless it came to her fully loaded. Even then, I'd get a call every other day because she'd hit a button or turn something off and not be able to figure out how to turn it back on.

So I gave it to my little sis and her husband instead. They love it and use it often and I dont have a migraine from dealing with my mom's limited tech abilities.

JanaGreen posted 3/2/2012 10:22 AM

Yeah my dad gave my mom a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I had to set up an email address for her, because she didn't have one, and an amazon account, because she didn't have one. She also doesn't have wi-fi so she can only download books when she's somewhere with a wi-fi connection. I wrote down all of her passwords and lectured her NOT TO LOSE THEM but I bet she has . . . - this is the woman who was afraid to go to Facebook because "they might charge me money." She thinks the Internet has a direct line to her checking account. She SO did not need a Kindle Fire.

icbtih8 posted 3/2/2012 10:52 AM

She thinks the Internet has a direct line to her checking account.

Are you my sister?

wantmore posted 3/2/2012 10:55 AM

You guys laugh. Here a the library I've seen folks pop in the CC number because someone said they should.

Ugh, wait sir, that's just an advertizement, you don'
t need to do that here.

StillGoing posted 3/2/2012 13:03 PM

I don't understand why they would push tablet book lending in actual libraries when most people still can't figure out how to use the self checkout lane at the grocery. It's like giving a 7 year old the keys to the Millennium Falcon. Totally fucking awesome for the kid until he drives it into the hangar wall of that star destroyer and prematurely ends the movie for everyone.

GabyBaby posted 3/2/2012 13:52 PM

I don't understand why they would push tablet book lending in actual libraries when most people still can't figure out how to use the self checkout lane at the grocery.
Its great for those of us that DO know how to use it.
But I still want the keys to the Millenium Falcon...ability to drive notwithstanding!

JanaGreen posted 3/2/2012 15:25 PM

Are you my sister?


When my parents first got a laptop, she kept asking me about different sites and if they "cost money" to go on them. I was like, no mom, no mom, no mom. They can't charge you unless you give them a credit card number.

Then she said, "Does QVC have a website?" and I said, "You are NOT allowed to go there!"

incredulous posted 3/3/2012 16:58 PM

My 80-year old mom LOVES her Kindle -- and it's perfect because she can enlarge the font so she can see it despite her macular degenaration. She hasn't tried to borrow anything yet, and I doubt that will ever happen, but it's great for buying books.

I have a Kindle fire, and 15-yr old DD has my old Kindle, and we're all just set up on my account. Makes even any buying issues easy for my mom, because it's all on my account!

So -- I guess my PSA would be to say Do buy your mom a kindle, but only if she's willing to buy anything she wants to read. (and if you're prepared to set it up for her and answer the occasional tech question!)

[This message edited by incredulous at 4:58 PM, March 3rd (Saturday)]

hathnofury posted 3/3/2012 17:13 PM

I have a Nook, and I totally agree that borrowing books from the library is WAY more complicated than buying books for sure. I *know* my mom would not be able to do it, and quite frankly it is not worth the trouble for me. Luckily for me, the Nook gives away a book for free every Friday, and there are TONS of free books available anyway. So I don't even bother with the library any more, I just get free books as needed.

Fighting2Survive posted 3/3/2012 21:06 PM

The corollary to this is that if your parents buy their own device because some random person said they should, you'll likely end up with it.

My dad bought himself an ipad. Someone convinced him he could follow his stock on it. He could... if he knew how to use it. He lives in Florida and I'm in North Carolina so there is zero chance that I can help him, and he has no computer skills. Walking him through anything by phone is almost impossible. I've tried and realized that exercise is a great reason to have a large glass of wine.

We're meeting my parents in South Carolina to hand off DS for spring break in a month. I'm betting he sends the ipad back to me.

Alwaysknew posted 3/4/2012 01:04 AM

I am going to take one for the team on this one.. Confiscate the devices and send atleast one to me :)

Crossbow posted 3/17/2012 11:48 AM

OMG I am hoping and praying W never gets the idea in her mind that she should give MIL a Kindle. *shudder*

Whenever she has the least problem with her aging computer, she decides that W is her official, personal tech support, and takes the tone that somehow it's W's fault that there's a problem. One time she went over when MIL was in a frantic tizzy because her computer WOULDN'T EVEN TURN ON!!! Of course W asked all the basic questions - everything turned in? Power strip turned on?

W got there and it was unplugged. Another time she had turned her monitor off (I don't know HOW that happened! I know for sure that *I* didn't do it!) and couldn't see anything when she turned on her computer.

My own mother would never even want one because Dad has convinced her she will "ruin" any computer she happens to touch. But she can text like a pro!

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