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Amazon to Offer Ad-Supported Kindle at Discounted Price



There are ads on my TV, my mobile phone and on the screen at the movies. Now Amazon wants to take over my e-reading experience as well. They swear the ads won’t actually butt in just as I reach a cliffhanger moment. And I do have to agree to it. Actually, I have to buy in to it, as the ad-sponsored Kindle is a product all its own.

Amazon calls it Kindle with Special Offers, a name which was obviously crafted to make the reader feel like they’re getting something good out of the deal. Instead of showing the usual Kindle book-themed screensaver, the new edition will show a full-page ad. Black and white, only. Remember, Kindle doesn’t do color. What’s even sillier is the Kindle Ad-Mash up which asks users to vote on their preferred ads and only “screensavers with the most preferred votes qualify to become sponsored screensavers.”

Really? Amazon is going to turn away McDonalds if the voters don’t like the ad?

In return for the privilege of showing you these lovely ads, the Kindle will also serve up special deals such as $10 for a $20 Amazon Gift Card (can you say Groupon?) or a $1 album from the MP3 store.

How much would you pay to NOT have these features on your Kindle? Amazon is guessing $25.00. That’s the price cut you get if you buy the Kindle with Special Features instead of the regular Kindle. That’s $114.00 plus Super Saver Shipping!

I understand Amazon’s interest in making better use of a large amount of oft-viewed real estate. What I don’t understand is why they’re selling it to outside companies? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that front page to promote Amazon best sellers and things I can actually buy and download?

When you look at the full list of special offers (which you can see here), it reads like one of those affiliate scam pages. Get a laptop free after you complete ten of these fine offers such as a subscription to Audible and a MasterCard with a $100 a year up front fee.

I have a Kindle. I’ve been loyal to my Kindle even in the face of e-readers with color and iPads that sing and dance. But this new Kindle with Special Offers makes Amazon look cheap. If you’re going to go with advertising, Amazon, go all the way and deduct $100 off the cost of a new Kindle. Now that would be a truly special deal.