Amazon forum gets moderators
When people ask me to compare the NOOK and the Kindle, I always go back to the Customer Service difference.
That comparison needs to be made both on policies and on people.
On policies, there is no question: Amazon wins.
Amazon allows the “return” of any Kindle store book within seven days for a refund.
“Returning Kindle Books
Books you purchase from the Kindle Store are eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within seven days of the date of purchase. Once a refund is issued, you’ll no longer have access to the book. To request a refund and return, visit Manage Your Kindle, click the actions tab for the title you’d like to return, and select “Return for refund.”
Barnes & Noble does not allow the return of e-books at any time.
“Items That Cannot Be Returned
We are unable to accept returns for NOOK Books, magazines, downloadable PDFs for SparkNotes products, gift cards, and shrink-wrapped items that have been opened. Please note: Once purchased, NOOK Books cannot be refunded.”
Amazon allows the return of a Kindle within thirty days. If you are returning it and there is nothing wrong with it, they do expect you to pay the return postage (a few dollars in the USA). This can be very important, especially for those with special needs who need to see how the device works for them.
“You can return any Kindle device you purchased directly from Amazon.com for a full refund within 30 days of the day you received it as long as it’s in new condition and the return is in accordance with our return policy. “
In the stated policy that most floors me as a former retailer, if you don’t follow the proper procedure when you return a NOOK, Barnes & Noble will keep it…and not refund you any money for it. That’s even if you’ve labeled it nicely and they know who you are! I just find that truly bizarre. I do understand that they might have to charge you something to get it to the right part of the company, but I can’t imagine having somebody walk into my bookstore with a book they bought from, say, another store in the chain…and my employee just taking it and not giving it back or giving any money for it! I mean, I have to admit, I picture somebody opening that package at Barnes & Noble with an evil laugh and saying, “Sucker!” and high-fiving everybody. No, I’m sure they actually don’t behave that way…the employee who opens it may feel sad about it for the person. But their bosses’ policy is to take the property and give no compensation for it.
You can return nook within 14 days of receipt. Either call 1-800-THE-BOOK (843-2665) for a return authorization, or return it to a Barnes & Noble store.
Please note: if you do not call for a return authorization number and send the nook to the wrong return center, no refund will be provided and your nook will not be returned to you.”
So, the policies, which can be looked at objectively, favor Amazon.
As to the people, admittedly, that’s harder to demonstrate.
We can look at surveys…Amazon is number 1 in the below survey, BN.com (not the stores, that’s different) is #26:
Oh, let’s get that out of the way…I’ve seen people say that they would rather buy a NOOK because they can go into the store if something goes wrong with it. I guarantee you, the store clerk in your local B&N is not going to be the one to fix that NOOK. They are going to send it somewhere. Of course, if it’s just an exchange, that might be easier, but don’t expect to be able to go to your local NOOK and ask questions. You can do that easily online…but my experiences online with B&N have not been good. That’s subjective, but I do love my experiences at
What’s a way you can tell if the support people are good?
You can talk to them.
That’s another place where I’d say Amazon really trumps B&N. They have Kindle forums where we can talk to each other. I’m there a lot (a lot a lot).
They also have a specific forum where we see answers from Amazon support people. Oh, probably 90 percent of the questions have been answered by Kindle owners, but we do see those support folks there.
Well, I was fascinated to see a recent announcement that they had added forum moderators…and they named them.
Welcome, Will, Megan, Josh, Meg and David!
Right away, I wondered what their job descriptions were.
When you say “moderator” on an online forum, it usually means someone who reviews posts before they are posted…and may reject “extreme” ones. Moderators keep things moderate.
It doesn’t always mean that. A moderator could simply suggest that maybe it wasn’t appropriate to call someone a “troll” or a “fanboi” after something is posted…and who has the power to enforce that by blocking posts are removing posting privileges.
That’s the difference between a “moderated forum” and an “unmoderated forum”. Unmoderated forums are free-for-alls…it’s the Wild West.
That’s hasn’t been 100% true for the Amazon Kindle forums. There is software that blocks posts with obscenities, for example…”boterators”, so to speak.
I was curious if these new “moderators” were actually going to moderate, or were just going to post.
It appears to be the latter. I haven’t seen any difference when I’ve posted before or after their announcement, in terms of process…no “comment pending approval” message.
Amazon doesn’t always use terms the way most people do. There is another group of people identified by Amazon as “KINDLE FORUM PROS”. Pro, of course, is short for “professional”, which suggests that they are paid for it (some would say that it requires that it’s the way you make your living). Those are just people who are really dedicated to helping other people, basically. Amazon says specifically about a KINDLE FORUM PRO
“These customers have demonstrated not only skill and knowledge of Amazon and Amazon Kindle Products, but also a willingness to help their fellow customers.”
They identify them as customers…not professionals, not part of Amazon.
The Forum Moderators have the AMAZON OFFICIAL badge…presumably, they work for and are paid by Amazon.
So, the “pros” aren’t pros, and the “moderators” don’t appear to moderate.
That quibble out of the way, I think it’s a great thing!
The fact that Amazon would apparently pay people to hang out and answer questions on a forum shows their commitment to Customer Service. I love that customers help customers (I love doing that myself), but it’s nice to have the answer being “official”…it says that right by their names.
If you do have questions, that Kindle Help Forum is a good place to go…although I like it when you ask me here, too.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.