Amazon Rolls Out Cheaper Kindle with Ads, Special Offers

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News Posted: Tue, Apr 12 2011 8:47 AM
Psst, you over there. Come closer. How would you like a brand new, never opened Kindle for $114? Yes, this is the third-generation Kindle, the letters are all in English, and no, it didn't fall off of a truck. What's that, you're still skeptical? Alright, there is a catch. In order to receive the $25 price break, you have to put up with special offers and ads, but hear Amazon out on this one.

Amazon's new "Kindle with Special Offers" is the exactly the same as the regular third-generation eBook reader except that it comes with special offers and sponsored screensavers displayed on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen. Here are some of the special offers Amazon has on tap for the coming weeks:
  • $10 for $20 Gift Card
  • $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  • $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
  • $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
  • Free $100 Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Card (normally $30)
  • Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 credit
  • 50 percent off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)

You'll also have to put up with ads, not only on the screensaver, but on the bottom of the device. However, Amazon promises they're non-intrusive and won't interrupt reading. What's more, a new app called AdMash gives Kindle owners the ability to vote on which screensavers they'd prefer to see. The ones with the most votes qualify to become sponsored screensavers.

In addition, Special Offers customers can give Amazon hints on the style and types of sponsored screensavers they wouldn't mind seeing, which is accessible from the Manage Your Kindle page on You can choose whether to see more or less screensavers with certain elements, like landscapes and scenery, architecture, travel images, photography, and illustrations.

"The opportunity to offer custom-designed Kindle screensavers was a natural fit for Buick because Kindle is such a unique device surrounded by a community of intelligent, passionate people," said Craig Bierley, Director of Advertising and Promotions, Buick. "Kindle's high contrast e-ink display eliminates glare and is perfect for emotionally engaging and impactful brand imagery, allowing us to connect with Kindle readers wherever and whenever."

Obviously Amazon is trying hard to put a positive spin on all this, and it's an interesting experiment from a number of angles. It's also a little concerning if you were hoping for another no-strings-attached price break as the tablet market starts to flesh out. At $139 for a Wi-Fi Kindle, it's not as though Amazon's third-generation eBook reader was pricey to begin with, but it does appear that's the lowest it's going to go unless you're willing to contend with ads.

What's your take on all this? Would you be willing to buy an ad-supported Kindle for $114?
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Specjre replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 9:48 AM

Well I like that they are trying new things, but I'm pretty sure I would rather just shell out the extra $25. Some of the "special offers" are actually pretty good since I buy plenty of stuff on amazon anyways. I have been considering buying a kindle for a while, but I read on my phone at the moment and it seems to work fine for me even though people seem to complain that it is too small for book reading.

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omegadraco replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 11:50 AM

Smart on Amazon's part they will make a much larger amount on Ads then on the Kindles if it catches on. Personally I would not want ads intruding on my reading experience. The special offers are really good though.

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Specjre replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 12:05 PM

Well it was smart of them to say specifically that it would not interrupt reading. They would have to be very careful to avoid that as it would be an experience killer. I think it has possibilities for having an add come up when you select a book to read or when you go from a book to the main menu as well as the screen saver. Doesn't sound too bad to me but I think it's worth $25 to avoid them all together.

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good idea for the budget consumer but there is no way in hell that I would want ads... they are everywhere already


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digitaldd replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 2:16 PM

$25 less and you get ads, how about half price?

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Inspector replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 2:55 PM

How about free? They the ones making money from the ads...

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my kindle recently bricked....the freakin screen is very very dead :/

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AKwyn replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 7:03 PM

$25 less and you get ads, how about half price?

I think it could be half-price as well. I mean it doesn't contain as much fancy features as the higher priced Kindle models.

How about free? They the ones making money from the ads...

I don't think Free is entirely possible. Remember that it costs money to make these devices, they have to make back some of that money right?


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HHGrrl replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 7:31 PM

The special offers are enticing, though I assume those listed above are going to be the better ones that get the whole thing rolling. After that, Amazon's "special offers" may not be quite as appealing to me if they're for other things or have lesser values.

I like the idea of a cheaper Kindle that's non-intrusively ad supported. However, $25 isn't all that big of a price break. A higher price difference between the models would be much more enticing.

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realneil replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 7:56 PM

I wouldn't pay any amount of money to get ads. The Kindle is a nice device just the way it is and no ads is worth the extra jack any day.

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OSunday replied on Tue, Apr 12 2011 10:45 PM

I'm pretty sure someone will come up with a hack for this that lets you buy the cheaper kindle and just get rid of the Advertisement part and make it like the full priced kindle, after all the ads are most likely done through software, which is modifiable, and its unlikely its done through hardware because the cost of a new design and production for a $25 difference doesn't make much sense

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Apr 13 2011 12:54 AM

This will be interesting, but I am more with realneil I don't think I would wanna pay for anything and get add's on it. This device specifically is for reading, I hate TV commercials, I know I would not want BOOK commercials.

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JOMA replied on Wed, Apr 13 2011 7:36 AM

The $25 price break isn't really worth it, I'd rather not have the ads. They'd either have to be something exclusive that was really worth it or I'd rather not have them at all.

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rrplay replied on Wed, Apr 13 2011 10:42 PM

I would simply pay the extra $$ to avoid the Add-Crap and ask myself >> if someone I know quite well asked me at a later time to remove the adverts [hack] it like the original would it be worth 25.00 to be bothered ?

Nope > sorry

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BillGates replied on Sun, Apr 15 2012 3:18 AM

Amazon should use advertising signs if they want people to know about this offers. They have very good offers. I like what amazon is doing.

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