Dec. 20, 2010 -- If Amazon's Kindle is on your wish list this year, you might want to think twice before buying the leather case the company sells to protect it.
Prompted by customer complaints about the product, Amazon has offered to refund or replace the covers.
Amazon sells two versions of a leather case for its latest-generation Kindle, a version with a light ($59.99) and a version without ($34.99). Although the bulk of the Amazon reviews for the non-lighted case boast five-stars, more than one hundred customers have given the case just one star, many claiming that it causes their e-readers to freeze and crash.
"The cover looks really good. It really looks like a book, feels like a book. It is the nicest looking cover out there. It does not work well at all. My kindle keeps resetting itself. It resets 5 to 10 times a day. Sometimes when I pick up my Kindle it will reset itself 2 or 3 times when I try to read a book. When I take off the cover it works fine," wrote "Robert Brown "Mr. Bob"" from Gainesville, Fla.
Amazon Offers to Replace Faulty Cases for Free
"Pam," another customer, wrote, "I don't know why this cover is still for sale. It's beautiful but makes the kindle reboot constantly and then you will lose your place in the book you're reading. Customer service is great and took care of the problem right away but I thought I better get on and warn everyone else. They said it's a big problem. They said the lighted cover doesn't cause problems."
When asked about the reported problems by ABCNews.com, Amazon repeated the statement posted in its customer forum.
"There have been some forum discussions regarding the non-lighted Kindle cover, and our engineering team is looking into this. Regardless, if anyone is having any problem with an Amazon-manufactured Kindle cover, please call us at 877-453-4512 or 206-922-0844," the company said. "We will be pleased to replace it for free with a different cover or accept a return for a full refund, no matter when the cover was purchased."
Amazon: Kindle Is Bestselling Gift Item
Amazon declined to elaborate on the nature of the problem but, on comment boards, customers say they suspect that the metal hooks that attach the cover to the device are the culprits.
They say that the metal hooks, which conduct electricity, appear to cause the Kindle to reboot or malfunction; the hooks on the lighted version do not appear to cause the same problem.
The cover is designed to fit the latest generation Kindle, which has a 6-inch display and costs $189 (with 3G access and Wi-Fi) or $139 (for Wi-Fi only).
This holiday season, the Kindle has been a blockbuster product for Amazon, which last week told customers that it sold millions of the newest Kindle in the first 73 days of the quarter.