OK, I'm not sure if I rang a false alarm here, and I apologize if I did. I also sent an e-mail to Kindle support not long ago and I've just received this reply:
"The Kindle battery is covered under the initial one-year warranty, as well as the extended warranty offered on Amazon.com. Once you're outside the one- or two-year warranty period, you can get the battery replaced for $59 (plus $10 shipping and handling)."
I explained that I live in Canada (re: shipping, etc.) and asked for an explanation as to how I would initiate this request, so I'm going to write back for clarification. I'm also going to mention the fact that I was told a refurbished unit was the only option for a dead battery after the warranty period. I'm still a bit shocked that the information I received from Amazon is so conflicting.