Amazon introduces cheaper, ad-supported Kindle

By on April 12, 2011, 8:00 AM
Amazon is making its popular Kindle e-reader more affordable for anyone to enjoy as long as they can put up with the occasional advertisement. The hardware is identical to the standard $139 model, but the new Kindle with "Special Offers" shaves $25 (18%) off that price down to $114 in exchange for showing you some publicity. It's worth noting that these ads aren't popping up in the middle of reading a book -- they're just replacing the Kindle's screen saver while the device is idle and a small strip at the bottom of the home screen. For many, that will be a fair trade off.

Some of the sample deals in the press release included: $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Cards, $6 for 6 Audible Books (valued at $68), $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store, and 50% off Roku Streaming Player. Clicking on a deal via the five-way controller will generally trigger an email with the offer, but some deals can be redeemed right from the Kindle. A full list of active offers will be available from the menu of Kindle with Special Offers at any time.


Amazon also introduced a Kindle app called AdMash that will allow users to vote on the most attractive and engaging display advertisements. The most popular ads will be more likely to appear as sponsored screensavers.

Although $99 would have been a much better psychological price point for the Kindle that doesn't mean it won't get there eventually if the initiative is successful. Amazon still has to see how well buyers respond to the ad-supported device, advertisers have to measure the reach and effectiveness of their campaigns, and it remains to be seen if people won't just hack the device to get rid of ads while paying the discounted price.

Kindle customers who donít embrace the idea can still purchase an ad-free Wi-Fi only Kindle for $139 or a model with 3G wireless for $189. What do you think? Is the $25 discount and promise of sweet Amazon deals good enough to get you on board? And as a gadget buyer, would you like to see more ad-subsidized devices from other manufacturers?



User Comments: 6

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Raswan Raswan said:

Nope. 25$ off in exchange for seeing ads every day during the entire life of my purchase. Absolutely not. At least, not unless those periodic deals were really super duper sweet (like 20$ free per month cheap).

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No, not worth it. Anyone who's willing to pay 115 on a device, is more than willing to spend 25 more to not see annoying ads for the life of the device. Like really. Now if it was 99, it would make more sense, but 25 bucks? Not worth it in my book (is there a pun here?).

Xero07 said:

i agree that it should be a bit cheaper though I do like the $10 for a $20 gift card deal shown.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

And with the money you save, you can buy one e-book.

Wouldn't it be possible to somehow hack into the Kindle and remove these "options"?

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't understand the anti-ad comments here and elsewhere. What's the big deal about having ads on non-book pages? Are you worried you might be tempted to buy something advertised?

Leeky Leeky said:

I agree, as long as it isn't affecting a book I would be reading I'd be all for it > If its placing adds in-between paragraphs I could understand the comments, but that isn't the case as far as I am aware?

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