Ad-Supported Kindle

Kindle 3

Amazon is now selling an ad-supported version of their Wi-Fi Kindle 3. The wi-fi version regularly retails for $139, but buyers who opt for the “Kindle with special offers” can own a Kindle for $114.

The ads will appear on the home screen and on screen savers, but will not appear in the books themselves (thankfully!).

I am conflicted about this idea. We are bombarded by ads in our society, and throwing them into e-readers seems wrong-headed. We’re already paying for the privilege of reading on these devices, and over time, $25 doesn’t seem like enough money to save. I also think the price is strange in addition to not being low enough. I am with Michael Grothuas of TUAW: $99 might make the ad-supported Kindle more appealing, at least psychologically.

On the other hand, ads are ubiquitous, and I’m not sure if having them on my e-reader would bother me or not, especially if they were not in the books themselves. I block ads in my web browser using an add-on, however, so they must bother me at least a little, right?

In addition to the ads, other “special offers” include discounted Amazon gift cards and Audible books. How much do you want to bet the ads will be a much more common sight than the discounts?

Bottom line? The savings doesn’t seem worth it considering the potential for annoyance.

Audrey Watters of ReadWriteWeb also covered the news. Macworld’s Jared Newman offers a different perspective.

photo credit: kodomut

3 thoughts on “Ad-Supported Kindle

  1. I already have a Kindle, so this is a moot point for me, but if I were purchasing a Kindle for myself, I would probably opt for the cheaper one and just ignore the ads.

    I hardly ever look at the Kindle screen savers for more than a few seconds when I turn the Kindle on or off, and the home page is just a navigation page to get somewhere else.

    If I were buying a Kindle as a gift for someone, I would probably buy the more expensive version. It seems a little tacky to give the ad version as a gift, but it doesn't bother me for myself.

    This reminds me of Yahoo email accounts. The Yahoo mail home page has ads, and the mail menu has ads, but I couldn't tell you one thing that has ever been advertised on there. They just don't register in my brain, at least consciously.

    1. I was thinking that, too, Gary. I don't really register ads most of the time, if I even see them (my browser ad-blocker is pretty good). I'm with you, though, on giving this one as a gift.

  2. This is interesting. I agree the price drop isn't enough to be truly appealing. Though I wonder if it is the start of something. I've read a few tech sites that have speculated that by the end of the year Amazon will be giving Kindles away for free. I found that hard to imagine but maybe they will manage to do it because of the advertising. Personally, I hate advertising enough that I would pay for an ad-free Kindle.

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