First of all, thank you for all the responses. After I posted I went to sleep and then to work which is why I did not monitor this thread.
You folks obviously like eReaders. That is why I registered and posted. I wanted to learn from people who actually have and use them more than the general public.
Like you, I really enjoyed my eReader. I just didn't expect it to die so quickly. I did not drop it. I did not hit it. I did not wear out the buttons. I did not throw it in a junk drawer. It was well cared for and it failed.
Some of you may have different pecuniary restraints than do I. For me, purchase of the KOBO was a big deal. In the time that it worked, I didn't buy a single ebook, aside from one Humble eBook Bundle. I downloaded public domain and creative commons works. I converted some texts to ePub. I volunteered a little on pgdp.net to help along the conversion of public domain pdf's to ePub. I installed Adobe DRM so I could borrow eBooks from my library.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading a heavy five hundred page book on a light and comfortable eInk reader. I loved pulling out my eReader while in line at the bank or eating lunch and having a library of books to choose from.
Although I really like the KOBO (and would love to have a fully open source eInk reader) I won't purchase one every couple of years if that is all they last. It just isn't in my budget.
What I hear you saying is that while some of you have had eReaders last a good long time, that many of you have had them fail within a few years of purchase.
Do any of you see a time when an eReader is reliably manufactured to last 5 or 10 years or do you see them as disposable items intended to last until the warranty runs out? Are new models lasting longer or is price pressure lowering the quality?
Is there any way to assure that a new will never be bent or twisted in storag and the eReader will last? I've seen reports on this site that even bulky covers and cases don't ensure that the glass won't fail.