Hands-on with the Kindle with Special Offers

Hands-on with the Kindle with Special Offers

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers (KSO) we ordered for my Significant Other just arrived.

The order was placed on April 16 (today is May 3).

The most recent shipping estimate was May 6 (so they beat that by three days).

Here’s the official tracking (it came USPS)

Date Time Location Event Details
May 3, 2011 09:29:00 AM MY TOWN CA US Out for delivery
May 3, 2011 05:06:00 AM MY TOWN CA US Arrival Scan
May 3, 2011 04:07:01 AM Fedex Smartpost Sacramento CA US Departure Scan
May 2, 2011 02:44:26 PM Fedex Smartpost Sacramento CA US Arrival Scan
April 30, 2011 06:32:00 PM Hebron KY Departure Scan
April 29, 2011 08:57:08 PM Hebron KY Arrival Scan
April 29, 2011 09:27:00 AM US Shipment has left seller facility and is in transit

I had signed up for a “Text Trace” to my phone, so I would know when it got here…I did not get one (I am with AT&T).

It’s worth noting that I had ordered it with free Super Saving Shipping.  We just normally do that when we can…I could have paid more to get it sooner, and perhaps should have.  However, we’ve looked at Prime, and it just doesn’t make sense for us.  We subscribe to items at Amazon (including cans of cat food), so don’t pay shipping for that.  We do Super Saver when we can.  I looked back at a year’s worth of orders…it was nowhere near the $79 Prime annual fee.

The outside of the box was labeled “Special Offers”, and had the Kid under the Kindle tree logo.  I don’t think they normally said it was a Kindle on the outside…I’ll have to check one of my other boxes.

The serial number starts with B008…the Kindle 3 starts with B008…the same sequence as the normal Kindle 3 Wi-Fi only.

It appeared externally the same as a normal Kindle 3 wi-fi only.

The Welcome Letter was much longer than the last time I checked one (1028 locations), and was quite a good introduction…more like a User’s Guide.  It mentioned the KSO at least a couple of times.

It asked me if I wanted to join a wireless network…that’s new, I think.

It came with the wireless turned on: I turned it off.

I also had plugged in the Kindle so it could charge.

I tested all of the sleep mode pictures (“screensavers”): they were the same as the Kindle 3 I tested before:

Sleep Mode Pictures list for K3

It came with software version 3.2.  The latest software version for the 3 without special offers is 3.1.  This suggests they could offer the ads to people with the old devices by letting the upgrade.  Hmm…what happens if there is an upgrade and you don’t want the special offers?  Do you skip 3.2?  Probably…

The menu from the homescreen looked the same. 

I turned the wireless back on (this is a wi-fi only model).

I connected to my home wi-fi network (just entered the password…no problem).

Items downloaded.

There was now a Special Offer at the bottom of the homescreen.  I

It was from Visa, and offered 3X the points when we bought Kindle books.  You could click on it for details.

Clicking on it, it appears to be for the regular Amazon.com Rewards Credit Card.  You could click it to be e-mailed for more details.

Now, when I put it to sleep, I saw different sleep mode pictures:

  • $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card

When I woke it, I saw the information on that offer at the bottom of the home screen where the Visa ad had been.  I clicked on it as instructed for more information.

The offer is one per customer.  🙂

It was only good until May 4th (tomorrow).   There was an “e-mail this offer” link.  I clicked on it, and it told me it had been e-mailed to my home e-mail.

I had about a month (until June 4th) to redeem the offer in that e-mail.  They gave me a link to click to get to the special gift card.  I added it to the cart as instructed and went to Check-out.  It was at first showing a $20 charge (they’d explained this in the e-mail).  I copied and pasted a code from the e-mail.  I clicked “apply”, and price showed the discount and dropped to $10.

That’s a $20 gift card for $10.

Huh, that’s interesting.

I went to change the credit card used on this order, and it wants to apply a $10 promotional credit…so I guess I can apply the gift card balance to this order?  That seems odd…maybe that’s the discount.  Yes, that’s right…it looked the same after I switched cards, not zero.

They estimate I’ll have the card on May 5th.

I slept it again, and saw the 3X points ad.

Woke it, slept it: it’s a Buick ad.

Woke it: it’s a Buick ad at the bottom of the homescreen.

Woke it, slept it…it’s Olay.

Okay, that’s consistent…the small ad at the bottom of the homescreen is the same as the ad you see on the sleep mode picture.

Those were the ads right now.

Now, when I do


there is a separate entry for

View Special Offers

When I click that, I get a clickable list of those four offers…not in the same order, but they are all there.

So, you don’t have to get the right sleep more picture to get the offer.  🙂

That’s about it. 

When my SO comes home, we’ll transfer books.  I know I should put Scrabble on it right now.  🙂

The banner ad does show on the Archived Items list, but disappears when you search.  The ad takes up the space of one item, and stays at the bottom as you go from “page to page”.

Well, that’s about it.  It doesn’t seem to me like it will be irritating at all…if they don’t rotate the odds frequently, you’ll just stop seeing them (that’s how your mind works).  I don’t think they’ll let that happen, though.  We got a gift card for a $10 discount, effectively bringing the cost of the Kindle down to $104.  When we buy a book on the  other Special Offer they have on the site right now, that could bring it under $100 (since you get a ten dollar credit, and some of the books are under $5.

Oh, and I know some of you will wonder…this one isn’t mine, hasn’t ever been mine (as opposed to my Significant Other’s), so I don’t name it.  🙂  It may not get a name, outside of the one Amazon uses…that’s up to my SO.  Hey, I just realized…this is my SO’s first one that isn’t a hand-me-down!  Cool!  🙂

Update: Quoting my SO: “Man, you can see the Scrabble so much better!”  🙂  My SO also prefers the 5-way on the K3 (the one with the “toggle pad”) over the joystick style K2.

Update: changes also happened at the



If you don’t have a KSO, I’d be especially interested if you checked your page.

My Kindles now have a column for Special Offers on or null (it either says “on”, or it’s blank).  That’s another suggestion that they may offer current owners the chance to get the special offers.  I’m curious as to whether or not people who don’t have a KSO see that column.

There’s also a new section:

Your Kindle Screensaver Preferences

Edit your preferences on the styles of screensavers you wish to see on your Kindle with Special Offers.
Kindle Screensaver Preferences
I want to see more: No entry
I want to see less: No entry
Edit Info
 Want to vote on sponsored screensavers? Learn More
When I clicked “Learn More”, it took me to an admash page, coming soon.
The Edit Info for the screensavers you like was more interesting at this point.
You can check boxes for screensaver categories you’d like to see:
Literary References
You can either vote for each one on a tab to see it more or see it less.
Update: my $20 gift certificate code arrived via e-mail this morning…I’ve applied it to the account.  🙂
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

13 Responses to “Hands-on with the Kindle with Special Offers”

  1. typity Says:

    Actually, that only after I got KSO that I discovered that Amazon would DISABLE CERTAIN FEATURES on the device (like, collections and 2 out of the normal 3 pages of settings) unless you register Kindle through wireless. I am frankly very mad at this policy, because they never mention it in the description of the device and, heck, I already paid money for the thing, why do I have to have wireless AND to take extra steps to use it?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, tvpity!

      You don’t have to register it to use it…just to use certain functions that require interaction between your device and Amazon’s servers, and where the server has to recognize your specific device.

      Collections are stored on Amazon’s server, so you need that establishment first.

      You could still use it to read books you got from places other than Amazon…but can’t buy books from Amazon from the device without registering it.

      It’s not that they disabled features…it’s that they aren’t enabled. I know that can still be frustrating, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that your Kindle needs to know it’s registered before it can use features that require an account.

      Hmm…I’ll look at the advertising to see if it says that about the Collections anywhere. They do mention in the Help pages that you have to be registered to shop with Amazon.

      If the situation is unacceptable to you, you can return the Kindle within thirty days of purchase (which is clearly the case at this point with a KSO) for a refund. If there is nothing defective about it, they will expect you to pay return postage, which is a few dollars in the USA.

      If you chose not to register it, you could still use it to read books…just not the ones from Amazon…

      I hope this doesn’t come across as too unsympathetic. Amazon allows returns as above, so I don’t think they are trying to trick people about the need for registration. The part that confuses people is that registering a Kindle at the Amazon site isn’t enough. The Kindle also needs to know it has been registered. If they didn’t require that, I don’t think deregistering would be as safe.

      If you don’t have wireless at home, you can use


      to find a public place near you. You only need to connect wirelessly once, so the device knows it is registered to your account. After that, you could download using your computer and transfer to your Kindle’s documents folder using your included USB. If you need help with that, ask again.

  2. tuxgirl Says:

    typity: that restriction is available for all K3s, and the restriction on collections is true for K2s as well (K2s don’t have as many settings anyways).

    Bufo: I actually contacted CS regarding the possibility of getting the special offers on a non-SO K3, and the CS rep pretty much said it’s not possible. I don’t know if it might be available in the future, but if it is, CS doesn’t seem to know yet… 🙂

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thans for writing, tuxgirl!

      I appreciate that report. 🙂 I figured it wasn’t happening at this time…but I think they may offer the Special Offers to everybody at some point…well, maybe not all the models of Kindles, but to other people with a K3.

  3. Andrew Says:

    “Hey, I just realized…this is my SO’s first one that isn’t a hand-me-down!”

    Well it would be if you hadn’t opened it and started playing with it! 😉

    Nothing new on my manageyourkindle page. Must just be folks with the KSO.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Andrew!


      I asked first. The hand-me-down part has to do with ownership, and I didn’t own this one first. I was also setting it up for my SO, so there was a legitimate reason…oh, maybe not for sleeping it and waking it up like a bazillion times to check the sleep mode pictures. 😉

  4. Mara Says:

    Hi Bufo, a quick note to let you know that my replacement kindle 3 came with software version 3.2.
    So the version is not linked to SO.


    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mara!

      Hmm..I wonder if that actually means your device has the capabiity to run the ads. Very interesting to know that version came on a device that wasn’t designated as a KSO. It seems unlikely the capability is anywhere but in that software version. If they do offer it to current owners, I think you might not need a software update, and I might.

      Of course, you could be right…it might be completely unrelated. 🙂

  5. Roberto Says:

    FYI: the $20 gift card that I purchased through my KSO came via email.

    So far, I like it a lot. The ads are unobtrusive and the offers have potential. I intend to pounce on the Audible books and MP3 offer as soon as they show up and I already took advantage of VISA’s book offer.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roberto!

      I was just about to update the post…I got mine too, this morning. 🙂

  6. Stephanie Says:

    Have a K3, and my “Manage Your Kindle” page hasn’t been updated. Must just update the account page & all Kindles linked to the account that now has a KSO. Interesting adverstising strategy to make sure everyone who wants to check out the offers has a chance to!

  7. Smart Post Fedex Says:

    […] Hands-on with the Kindle with Special Offers May 3, 2011, 05:06:00 AM, MY TOWN CA US, Arrival Scan. May 3, 2011, 04:07:01 AM, Fedex Smartpost Sacramento CA US, Departure Scan. May 2, 2011, 02:44:26 PM, Fedex Smartpost Sacramento CA US, Arrival Scan. April 30, 2011, 06:32:00 PM … Hands-on with the Kindle with Special Offers […]

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