Amazon's Refurbished Kindle Underscores Issues with Buying Used Gadgets

kindle in packaging photo

Photo via Robert Nelson

Amazon is finally offering refurbished Kindles – apparently they’ve been around long enough that refurbished options are actually available. Kind of. They’re currently out, but keep your eye on the website for more.

The good news is that while the price reduction is slight for the refurbished version – only $329 versus the usual $359 (while some sellers are reselling them for over $500) – people still seem pretty interested in taking Amazon up on the offer.

So what does this mean for popular conceptions of refurbs? Read on for opinions about buying refurbished Kindles. The KindleBoards are abuzz with the news from Amazon, and opinions about whether or not a refurbished Kindle is worth it mostly seem to be in the positive, though they also highlight exactly what tends to be the issue with refurbished items:

MonaSW Says:
Sure I'd buy a reconditioned Kindle. In a heart beat. For myself though, not as a gift.

Sandpiper Says:
Would you buy a refurbished Kindle? I'd think about it. I might. I think it should be discounted a little more though.

stevene9 Says:
$30 is too small a discount for me to buy a refurb. Anything short of a 20% discount is unacceptable.

Atunah Says:
I don't usually have issues with buying refurb, but for some reason I want my Kindle to be "untouched" if that makes sense

While worrying about the small discount is understandable, Kindles, including used ones, can go for as much as $1500 on eBay. The comparatively tiny $329 is a pretty stellar deal. But this underscores the problem many people have with refurbished gear. People want to get something either brand spankin’ new just for the idea of it, and if they’re going refurb, they want a super discount...more along the lines of what Oprah inspired.

The thing is, though, that refurbished items are usually just as high quality as new. Additionally, making the improvements on a used item to ready it for resale - especially if they want it to be nice enough to be able offer their warranty, which Amazon is doing - requires money, which kicks up the price a bit.

We would think that this deal from Amazon would be the ideal situation to prove that buying refurbished electronics can be really great – it’s the cheapest option, it has the same warranty, it’s greener than buying new... But while many people would definitely consider it, there are still those that focus on issues like comparable pricing to new items, and the "idea" of an untouched toy.

At any rate we encourage purchasing refurbished whenever possible, so if you’re interested in an e-reader, keep your eye out on Amazon and also check out Planet Green's tips for buying used gear.

Via Engadget
More on Buying Refurbished:
How to Buy Used Electronics
For PCs, Refurbishing is better than Recycling
How to Go Green: Gadgets

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