I called Amazon's Kindle Support to see what, if anything, they could do for me. Surprisingly, the customer service representative sounded genuinely concerned for me. "Oh no, I am really very sorry about your Kindle. That's terrible. Would you like me to deregister your Kindle? Hopefully you will get it back, and if you do, we can reregister it." Mike assured me that the Kindle was now "unusable" without my authorization. Thankful to have someone on my side, I hung up. Although I knew that my Kindle was likely gone for good, I couldn't help seizing on what Mike had said. Hopefully, someone would return my beloved library.
But how would he find me? Realistically, my hopes depended on the unlikely event that someone would read the "Personal Info" entry on my Kindle by (1) figuring out how to turn on the damn thing, (2) hitting the Menu button, (3) scrolling down to Settings, and (4-5) pressing the next page button twice. Admittedly, I could have put a sticker with my contact information on my Kindle's black case. But shouldn't an electronic reader store my email and phone number electronically? Thinking about it now, burying an owner's personal information five layers deep is tantamount to not storing it at all. Even my feeble Blackberry displays my contact information on the home screen when it's locked.
Unfortunately, there is no way to remotely track a Kindle. My device had Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, but, at least right now, there is no option to buy a Kindle with a GPS receiver or built-in camera. I couldn't call or email it. The Kindle is an electronic reader, and its one-dimensionality is why I love it so much. Why would I want to be interrupted by messages or distracted by the Internet when I can be whisked away to 1930s Berlin by Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts? But, Kindleless, I found myself wishing that I could, like Joshua Kaufman, use Mac-tracking app Hidden to wrest my Kindle from the oppressive hands of the Kindlenapper.
After twenty-four hours, I hadn't heard anything from any of the cab companies, so I turned to the Internet's lost and found: Craiglist.org. Boom. There was my Kindle lying on a rumpled bedsheet. Naked, alone, out of battery. The description reads as follows: "hi selling 1 month old used kindle. t [sic] has no scratches at all. comes with the leather cover. sorry i dont have any cables SAM." Sale price? Eighty bucks (about fifty dollars cheaper than comparable Kindles for sale on the site). I have only circumstantial evidence that this is my Kindle, but that evidence is compelling. The "leather cover" is identical to mine, I didn't have much battery left when I lost it, and there were definitely "no scratches at all." And then there's the kicker: "sorry I don't have any cables." When I called "SAM" to see if he would sell the item back to me, his youthful, lightly accented voice matched that of my good-humored cab driver, who had been perfectly happy to chat with me about the weather while we cruised the inbound Kennedy Expressway. SAM told me he would call me back the next day, but he never did. I gave up.