Hello Kindle - Goodbye Elonex?

KindleSo, the Kindle finally launches in the UK. This blog has become something of a Mecca for users of the Elonex 511EB. The comments on my reviews run in to the hundreds, I get thousands of page views a month on them, I regularly answer private emails about the device.

So, why am I abandoning Elonex?

Simply put - Elonex abandoned me. Their staff and website promised updates which never came. We're not just talking about additional features - there are some serious bugs in the device. They ignored emails when people complained about faulty devices - as, it would appear, did Waterstones.

In short, their business model was BOPO. Buy One and Piss Off. No customer support. No attempt to buy loyalty. No thinking of a long term investment.

Last year, the price of the EB511 was fairly competitive. It still sells in Maplin for £150 - that's around half the price of some Sony models.

Yet the Kindle has the same price point, comes with 3G and - most importantly - customer support.  Software which seems regularly updated.  And it is backed by a company who don't treat customers with outright disdain.

Elonex could have made a huge impact in the budget eBook market - but their attitude to customers has put me off buying any of their products.

The Kindle is not all roses, though.  There are some potential downsides.

  • ePub - the most popular ebook format isn't supported.  The eBook management software Calibre can convert the files into a suitable format.
  • Over enthusiastic use of DRM - potentially to remove books you've already bought.
  • Lack of expandable storage.  Only 3GiB.  I say "only" - because that's more books than you could hope to read in a lifetime.

I'm sure there are some other issues which will surface over time. But for now, count me among one of the faithful. Kindle - HERE I COME!

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5 thoughts on “Hello Kindle - Goodbye Elonex?”

  1. pete daly says:

    yes.you're dead right.The support is useless.
    Is elonex run from somebody's garage?
    I think everyone should get together and put pressure on either Waterstones or elonex or both for selling substandard products.We are dependent on good after sales service and passing the buck (or should i say the "ebuck " isn't quite the same.
    If anybody thinks the same and it's not treading on Terence's toes, let's get the ball rolling.
    I also think Waterstones/Elonex owe Terence a pile of money for keeping their ebook afloat!!

  2. Jack says:

    Out of those points the only that bothers me not getting a Kindle is the ePub. 3GB is enough for 1000s of books. I need ePub, I like getting a book and editing the style of it the way I like it.
    But I will agree Elonex need better support, the device doesn't even support Unicode.
    I think if Elonex aren't going to develop it any more, just release the source code to the public and maybe someone who has an Elonex may develop it more. I heard the new Adobe ADE for ePub removes the page numbers (which have annoyed me so much) from ePubs.

  3. Dragan F says:

    I actually love my iriver Story, it's a great device with tons of support from iriver. There is a "new" model with WiFi (which I don't have) and it works with WHsmith ebook store, I believe. I like the fact that I can buy ebooks from different sources, that's a big advantage for me.

    I kinda guessed that Elonex thing was never going to work out, they've always been a "one shot product company". That's why I bought Sony originally, I just knew there would be more support from them, at least.

    It's actually shame that iriver stopped selling their mp3 players in the UK, some of the best players around imo. You can still "buy" them but I believe the company was badly beaten by Apple's ipod originally so they don't have much presence in the UK, which is a shame since I love the design and quality of their players.

    Dragan F


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