What's going on, Amazon? I had the same problem as all of the other reviewers above: the coating on my USB cable started to crumble and peel off after a year and a half. I have only kept it at room temperature in a drawer when not in use. Now I have to pay $10 + shipping for a new cable that will probably have the same defect??!
It happens to be a generic "USB Type A/Micro-B" cable which means that, if you shop around you are going to see a lot of price competition. At Amazon search for "micro-b usb" under either "Kindle Store" or "Electronics" or, try "kindle cable" under "Electronics", then decide. I just ordered one for one penny plus 2.97 for shipping myself.
If you go 'generic' make sure that at you get one with "USB Type A" and "USB Micro-B" connectors (both male).
A couple months ago my sister asked me if my cable was crumbling like hers. At the time it was not, but just today as I began to plug my cable in I noticed it too has begun to shed the plastic coating exposing the wire. I'm thinking Amazon should consider this cabling a defective product and replace all Kindle owners cables as a "good will" gesture.
I too had the crumbling insulation problem on the cable that came with my 2nd generation Kindle, purchased in 2009. I contacted Customer Service via the Amazon.com website and received a prompt answer with links to order a new cable and claim reimbursement for it. I give five stars for prompt service with the problem and the hope that the new cable won't crumble.
I love my Kindle but suddenly, I hate the powercord. I haven't had the Kindle a good year yet and the plastic around the wires of the powercord have started crumbling. The cord is not exposed to constant sunlight, its actually kept in a drawer when I don't need to use it so why is it falling apart. I need to replace it but what do I do, buy another one and hope for the best, buy the first generation one that looks like it might be around for awhile, or try to find something else completly that will work with my Kindle? I'm stumped and I need to make a decision soon. I am wrapping electrical tape around parts of the cord and everytime I do, another piece falls off. This is not good.
My cord had the insulation fall off at the Kindle end also and showed signs of failing completely. I call customer service and explained the problem. They could not have been nicer. They sent a free replacement cord with no questions. Outstanding service. They need to redesign it with a right angle connector, not straight out.