Flash! Amazon introduces cheaper ($114), ad-supported Kindle

Flash! Amazon introduces cheaper ($114), ad-supported Kindle

Well, that’s innovating!

In this

Press Release

Amazon introduces a new, third member of the current Kindle family:

Kindle with Special Offers

It’s basically the same as the $139 Kindle 3 with wi-fi only (now, incidentally, called just the Kindle…the Kindle with both wi-fi and 3G is called the Kindle 3G).

What’s the difference?

It’s $25 less ($114)…but you get ads.

They are sponsored screensavers (sleep mode pictures), and they show up both as a sleep mode picture and on the homescreen.   Initially, you are voting for Buick, Chase, Olay, and Visa.

These are not ads that show up in your books.

You also get to indicate screensaver preferences, although I’ll have to look at that more..

So, basically, Amazon gives you a $25 discount, and you agree to be a test group.

You also will get special offers, like a $20 Amazon gift card for $10, six Audible audiobooks for $6, and an MP3 album from the Amazon MP3 store for $1.

I’m going to investigate this more, but I wanted to give you the heads-up right away.

This is currently a pre-order for May 3, 2011.

Sound interesting to you?  Think it’s a really bad idea?  Just happy to have the option?  Are you going to buy one?  Feel free to let me know.

EDIT: This part is interesting.  Here’s a short excerpt from the Amazon product page where they say:

“That’s why we’ve created a free Kindle app and website (coming soon) called AdMash. Anyone who’s interested can download AdMash and help pick future screensavers. Two prospective screensavers show up side-by-side, and you pick the one you find most attractive. The ones preferred most by customers qualify to become sponsored screensavers. “

Anyone can download it?  Does that mean you can vote if you don’t have a Kindle with Special Offers?  I would assume you can’t do screensaver preferences through the website or app (is it an Android app?), but we’ll see.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

23 Responses to “Flash! Amazon introduces cheaper ($114), ad-supported Kindle”

  1. KindleUp Says:

    How long before there is a Jailbreak and a Screensaver hack for this versino of the Kindle.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, KindleUp!

      I don’t recommend using those, so I’m not going to speculate. They violate your Terms of Service with Amazon…although I know a lot of people use them.

  2. Daz Says:

    I would still buy the $189 3G version because I like the 3G but I can see how a lot of people would be glad to go with a cheaper version of the Kindle. That said, the Kindle page on Facebook is going ape over it and a lot of people are quite negative about it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Daz!

      It’s interesting. If we framed the question, “Would you pay $25 to never see ads again on your Kindle,” I wonder how many answers would be yes…

  3. Emanuel Maia Says:

    Unfortunately, it´s just for American costumers. By that, I guess that is possible one day the Kindle will be free, i hope globally. 🙂

    AdMash it´s a great idea!!

    Bezos is a genius!!!

  4. jjhitt Says:

    Myself, I wish they would offer weather and national/local headlines on the sleep screen. Or classical painting of the day… Slightly racy limerick of day…

    I’d pay for it. Not a lot, but I’d pay for it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      In this case, they are paying you. 😉

      I’m with you, though…I’d pay for customized sleep mode pictures

  5. Dave Says:

    Wow, this really cheeses me off…Amazon has THAT much control of the screensaver and for 2 years we’ve had the same picture of Emily Dickinson? Boo.

    As for the $25 reduction, feh. Not worth the intrusion IMO.

  6. Emily Says:

    I don’t think $25 is enough of a discount. If the kindle were priced at $85 and it came with 3G, not just Wi-fi, then it would be tempting. After all, you are presumably stuck with ads for the life of your kindle. I’d need a substantial discount for that. Amazon is trying to get a lot of mileage out of that $25 aren’t they?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Emily!

      I think they may lower this price later, if it works. 🙂 This could make a $99 Kindle by the holidays…but I’m just guessing.

      I do think it’s weird: do people see this at $25 discount, or as $114? I’m guessing the latter, which is just a strange price point for people.

      • Emily Says:

        I think they are looking at the two prices and saying, “well if I pay just $25 more, I don’t have to look at ads.” I guess it all depends on how much more people are willing to pay to avoid ads. I think Amazon didn’t make the price difference big enough between the ad version and the regular version. Charging $99 for the ad supported kindle NOW would have been more realistic. It will be interesting to see how well they sell….

  7. Will the new Kindle mean the end of the screensaver hack? « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] I Love My Kindle Fun and information about the Kindle and the world of e-books « Flash! Amazon introduces cheaper ($114), ad-supported Kindle […]

  8. Kim Says:

    My initial reaction was, “no way”! I’d rather pay the extra $25 and not have ads. This also begs the question of how they get those ads on there. Does this mean Amazon has the ability to send ads to all Kindles at some future time? I don’t think they would do that (at least I hope not), but the prospect is unsettling.

    The ability to use custom screensavers is one of the few Nook features of which I am envious.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kim!

      The way that you express that, that you’d “rather pay the extra”, is one way this can work in a marketing fashion. That same $139 wi-fi Kindle is suddenly worth a lot more money…and it didn’t change at all! 🙂

      Amazon has always had the ability to send ads to our Kindles. When we’ve gotten software upgrades, one of the things that has changed has been the sleep mode pictures, as I recall. I don’t think it’s likely we’ll get ads on all Kindles without agreeing to it, but we’ll see.

      We could do “custom screensavers” on the K1 without a hack. I haven’t seen something that indicates this means custom sleep mode pictures on the KSO…just an ability to indicate what we like.

  9. Blonde Says:

    Same what Daz. I like 3G, so it´s interesting, but not for me :-))

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Blonde!

      For me, I’m with you on that. What if it was a case of a free Kindle? That might make it make sense to get one for work, say, or for kids. It’s not like children don’t see ads elsewhere. My guess is that there will be an effort to keep the ads tasteful…the samples we’ve seen at the website are pretty subtle, although at some point, that envelope will get pushed…

  10. Rob Says:

    So what if we don’t have the “Ad” Kindle and still want to buy 6 Audiobooks for $6, or get half off an Amazon gift card. Is there a way to do it with a normal Kindle? Or do you have to own the “Ad” Kindle to get the deals?

    By the way, great blog.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Rob!

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Currently, those special offers are only being listed for those who get the new ad-supported Kindles.

      I presume that what is happening here is that the advertisers pay Amazon for the advertising, therefore making it easier for Amazon to make those offers. Those offers, in turn, may result in more people getting the ad-enabled Kindles…which allows Amazon to charge more for the advertising.

      That doesn’t mean that Amazon couldn’t set up a similar program for people who currently own Kindles: agree to get ads in exchange for special offers, but I haven’t seen any indication of that yet.

  11. Daz Says:

    It’s been a few hours since the announcement 🙂 and a number of my friends are now saying that they would buy it for their kids, which they were holding off on before. The cheaper price and the fact that their kids won’t care about the ads makes it attractive for them to get a Kindle into their hands.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Daz!

      Yep, I’d thought about that specific scenario. It’s interesting that, since the kids don’t mind about the ads, parents wouldn’t mind exposing them to them. 🙂 If they get the Kindle price to $99 we’d see a lot more of that.

  12. Which Kindle 3 should you get? « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] UPDATE: On April 11, 2011, Amazon introduced a new Kindle 3, called the Kindle with Special Offers.  It is the same as the wi-fi only Kindle above, except that it is $114 (at time of writing), $25 less.  In exchange for the lower price, you will get ads as your sleep mode pictures (screensavers), and a banner ad at the bottom of your homescreen.  You will also get special offers, such as a $20 Amazon gift card for $10.  This will  not mean ads inside books.  For more information, see this earlier post. […]

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