Archive for the ‘History’ Category

3 years of Special Offers

April 11, 2014

3 years of Special Offers

Three years ago, on April 11, 2011, Amazon introduced Kindles with Special Offers in this

press release

The basic idea is that the buyer of a new Kindle could agree to see ads, and in exchange for that, that initial purchase price was lowered.

That’s why they are also called “ad-supported” models.

It was up to the customer: get “paid” for watching ads by getting a discount, or pay the normal price and avoid seeing ads.

It’s a simple idea, but there was a lot of buzz around it at the time.

Many people decried it, equating it with ads in books.

First, there were ads in books before that…I have some mass market paperbacks that have a cardboard ad stuck in the middle of them.

Second, the ads don’t appear in the books themselves. They appear on the sleep screen, and (originally) at the bottom of the list of books on the homescreen.

This idea may have been complicated by Amazon having gotten a patent to put relevant ads in e-books. I wrote about that a bit here:

Advertising in E-books

That wasn’t this, though…and Amazon hasn’t followed through on ads in books themselves.

Another concern people expressed was that the ads might be “inappropriate”. Basing it on television, they though that kids might see ads for “mature products”, as one example.

While we did see ads for things like cars, we haven’t had alcohol or intimate  hygiene products.

Over time, my feeling is that the ads have actually gotten more tied into what the Kindleers want…more ads for books and Kindle accessories, for instance.

Now, that could be because it didn’t turn out that a Kindle was a great way to sell a car…so those companies stopped buying the ads.

I think it must work somewhat, though, since we still have Special Offers.

It’s also tended to be that SO models are more popular than their non-ad-supported, full price counterparts.

If you think that’s just because people want to save the money (and that they don’t really like the ads), I’ll tell you that I’ve seen plenty of statements to the contrary. Many people like seeing the ads: they know they sometimes get deals that way, and hey, if nothing else, it’s something new to see. 🙂 A lot of people didn’t like the old “woodcut” type pictures we had, and one reason was that after a while, you’d “…been there, saw that”.

With the advent of the Limited Time Special Offers on the current Kindle Fires, folks (including me) have been saving a lot of money.

Looking at the list of “recent deals” on the above linked page, you could have saved $674.96 buying those six items…an average of over $100 per deal!

We bought a Kindle Paperwhite for $19, when it was normally $119 at the time.

These LTSOs are a big incentive to go with a Kindle Fire, that’s for sure!

If you want to stop getting Special Offers, you have that choice.

You would, naturally, have to pay the difference between the original discounted cost of the device and the full price…on the order of $20.

You do that by going to (at AmazonSmile)

and clicking or tapping

Manage Your Devices

You can then “unsubscribe” from Special Offers if you want.

Can you opt into getting Special Offers if your device came without them?

Sure…same thing as unsubscribing above, except that you choose to subscribe.

Oh, and they won’t retroactively give you the discount.

Still, I think many people do make that choice, just to have the option of getting a discount on something.

While we are talking about this, let me ask you hypothetically about ads in the books themselves (again, this is something different and not on the table right now):

If you want to tell me and my readers more about what you think about this, feel free to comment on this post.


* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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