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Amazon To Offer Ad-Supported Kindle 210

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the make-me-an-offer-i-can-refuse dept.
awyeah writes "Amazon will soon be offering a discounted, ad-supported Wi-Fi Kindle called 'Kindle with Special Offers.' The price will be $114, a $25 discount from the $139 wifi-only device. Note that the advertisements will not appear during reading, only on the screen saver and home page. Will that be enough of a discount to get readers to purchase an ad-supported device?"
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Amazon To Offer Ad-Supported Kindle

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:03AM (#35792068)

    An ad supported kindle should be free, or at least under $40. I would gladly pay the extra $25 to not see ads. In fact, I have.

    • yeah $25 off is clearly not enough, it needs to be no more than half the price to make it worth actually considering the ad supported version
      • yeah $25 off is clearly not enough, it needs to be no more than half the price to make it worth actually considering the ad supported version

        I disagree. There are plenty people who buy a kindle that would happily accept a small discount in exchange for some shitty screen-savers. Personally I would get one just for the challenge of killing the ads and turning it into a regular kindle.

      • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @10:01AM (#35792864)

        Prescription, do you own/have you used a Kindle?

        The way these ads are delivered is just about the least intrusive advertising vector I can think of. The ads will be displayed on the hibernation screen that appears when the Kindle is off. On current Kindles what is displayed is a rotating selection of portraits of authors or literary illustrations. Replacing those images with ads will literally cost the user absolutely nothing in terms of cost, time, or attention.

        Quite the opposite, because Amazon's recommendation system is so robust, as a current Kindle owner I would be interested in getting this on my current Kindle. Amazon does a great job of offering recommendations for e-book purchases based on what I've read in the past. We're supposed to be living in the future, it would be nice if my e-book reader is smart enough to make intelligent recommendations on what I might like to read next.

        • Really? If it's only the screensaver that has the ads, then how do people 'click to buy' what's in the ads? User input is disabled in the screensaver.

          • Amazon Link [amazon.com]

            The ads are actually pretty unobtrusive. You can see them at the link above, about half way down the page.
            They do have the ads on the hibernation screen (which are most likely 'un-clickable'), as well as ads on your homepage (which are probably clickable). I agree that $25 does seem a bit slim for the discount, but still worth it, after all how long will it be until a few clever people will probably figure out how to re-write the memory so that you have the full version.
            • I agree that $25 does seem a bit slim for the discount, but still worth it, after all how long will it be until a few clever people will probably figure out how to re-write the memory so that you have the full version.

              I guess Ayn Rand won after all. I wonder when, exactly, it became socially acceptable for people to just turn their ethics off on a whim? You're getting a discount for purchasing a Kindle by agreeing to view these ads - if you don't want the ads, pay the extra 25 bucks. It's simple.

              It's not like you can't get a Kindle without the ads.

        • by Gramie2 (411713) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @10:22AM (#35793136)

          Just because advertising is currently unobtrusive doesn't mean that it always will be. When some manager realizes that his bonus is being threatened, it's amazing how obtrusive they are willing to get.

          Of course, you could say that if it changes you would switch, and after a couple of years you might be looking for a new e-book reader anyway. Still, if Amazon is successful with an ad-supported Kindle you know that other manufacturers will follow suit and there will be few alternatives.

          Remember when cable TV had no ads? I do.

          • Just because advertising is currently unobtrusive doesn't mean that it always will be. When some manager realizes that his bonus is being threatened, it's amazing how obtrusive they are willing to get.

            When that happens (and it is a possibility after all), it will most likely be another product with a different discount. But as it is, as a current Kindle user, I'd take the $25 discount on the deal that exists now, and simply ignore the ads on the hibernation mode screen saver. Or more likely, I won't ignore the ads. Demonize marketing as much as you want (and a lot of it is warranted), but if we are objective, we have to admit Amazon has always done very good targeted advertisement. When I sign in my acc

        • by swordgeek (112599)

          What you say is true, but it doesn't matter.

          It's not a matter of how much it costs the user, it's how much revenue it generates for Amazon. I would guess that they're going to make an additional $200 per user per ad-driven Kindle, so giving me a $25 discount is NOT enough!

          • by tgibbs (83782)

            It's not a matter of how much it costs the user, it's how much revenue it generates for Amazon.

            Why should I care about Amazon's revenue? When I buy a product, I make a decision based upon its value to me. As described, the ads would detract very little from my enjoyment of the product. Indeed, if they advertise products that I'm actually interested in, they may even add value from my standpoint. Besides, I'm already bored with the standard "sleep" displays. Some variety would be welcome, even if it's ads.

          • How in the world did you come up with an additional $200 per user per ad-driven kindle?

            I'm using Facebook as a metric, since their advertising bidding process is readily accessible. Now for this type of advertising I would assume more of a Cost Per Metric than a Cost Per Click bid. On Facebook, their Cost Per Metric bids for around $0.44-0.77 USD per 1000 Impressions. Its a bit harder to measure impressions with a Kindle, because it is not always connected to the network, and its an item that you are goin
          • What you say is true, but it doesn't matter.

            It's not a matter of how much it costs the user, it's how much revenue it generates for Amazon. I would guess that they're going to make an additional $200 per user per ad-driven Kindle, so giving me a $25 discount is NOT enough!

            They don't buy one, and simply pay the extra for the no-advertisements variety. I for one don't give a shit if Amazon makes $1 or $200 per user-ad. I still get my $25 discount, and, considering Amazon's history, I will also get non-obtrusive advertisements on things I'm interested in. My satisfaction is not tied to their profit margin, nor I will wish them not to increase their profit simply because I'm not getting a share of that pie (something I'm not entitled to since I'm neither involved nor invest in t

        • No I don't currently have a Kindle, though I plan to get one once I finish reading several of the physical books I need to read. But my main point is that $25 off from $140 is chump change to me and doesn't justify going for the ad supported version even if its not that obtrusive. So a significantly lower price would be needed for me to consider that, otherwise I'd rather just go ahead and pay the $140 once I'm ready to get one.
      • isn't there a rumor flying around about free kindles for prime members?
        here is an example: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20040764-1.html [cnet.com]

    • by mikejuk (1801200)
      It's not just the reduction in the price you also get special offers and the inital offers include $10 off a gift card and $10 ebook credit and so on... http://www.i-programmer.info/news/152-epub/2279-kindle-with-ads-is-that-a-good-bargain.html [i-programmer.info] Its more like Kindle with coupons!
    • Yeah I wouldn't mind buying the device with ads for 2 years, where if I stop connecting to Amazon they start charging me monthly or something, to pay it off. Device sold by 2 years of served ads, and lucre on purchased ebooks. The trick would be getting a free one and never touching it, which is costly to Amazon; so of course if I'm not connecting to Amazon to get their ads, I should be billed.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It will never happen because the devices can be freed from Amazon and you just got the device for free or cost and Amazon got nothing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by e3m4n (947977)
      They totally missed their opportunity here.. ad support is a good start but they should have worked with periodicals to create a subsidy for a steeper discount. Perhaps they could create a $40 version that required you to subscribe to the NYTimes publication for a period of 12 months that also had the ads on there. The NYT completely saves on printing cost, they expand their reading base, and amazon.com gets more devices out there. Its the cell phone concept that has proven to work very well.
      • by vlm (69642)

        they should have worked with periodicals to create a subsidy for a steeper discount.

        A discount? I'd be happy (a happy subscriber) if "The Economist" cost less on Kindle than in print.

    • by Mr_Silver (213637)

      An ad supported kindle should be free, or at least under $40. I would gladly pay the extra $25 to not see ads. In fact, I have.

      Agreed, the $25 discount for a lifetime of adverts doesn't seem to be a particularly good deal. In addition, if you have the disposable income to drop $114 on a reading device, there is a good chance you can afford the extra to get one without ads.

      Personally I think the discount should have been $40. Only because then it would then make that version of the Kindle cost $99 which, I b

    • by N1AK (864906)

      An ad supported kindle should be free

      And why exactly 'should' it? What if Amazon have estimated the average ad revenue per device to be $25, should they drop the price by an additional $114 dollars because they enjoy losing money. Would it be better if they offered a free version that constantly spews audio ads, and shows text ads inserted in books (to earn that $139 discount) instead of this version with 'unobtrusive' ads? Personally, the discount probably isn't enough to make me take it. Perhaps enough pe

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      $25 is actually insulting. In fact, I think I'm going to punch Jeff Bezos right in his smug face when I see him again.

      And if this turns out to be a precursor to models that *require* ad viewing (the way movies and DVD's have gone now), I'm going to kick him in the balls too.

    • by melikamp (631205)
      They can get a lot more than $25 from you if they can program you to buy useless crap. You cannot purchase your way out of ads, you just have to block them or boycott advertisers.
  • Buyers Remorse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:04AM (#35792084)

    "...Will that be enough of a discount to get readers to purchase an ad-supported device?"

    Probably, but chances are most users, no matter how unobtrusive the ads may be, will likely regret not forking over the "extra" $25 to try and have at least ONE electronic experience that is ad-free, as one can hardly get away from advertising these days, no matter where you are.

    • Ads. Coming soon to your dreams!

      Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"
      Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.

      Damn near prescient [imdb.com] I would say!

  • by Gutboy (587531) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:04AM (#35792090)
    For $25 do I only get ads for a week or two? Or for the rest of the devices lifetime? It's not worth the discount if the latter.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      For $25 do I only get ads for a week or two? Or for the rest of the devices lifetime? It's not worth the discount if the latter.

      Do you mean "the former" or are you being sarcastic?

      • No, he means the latter. I'd take the $25 discount if it was only 2 weeks of ads.

        Seriously though, if the ads aren't there while reading the book, I don't see the big deal even if it's for the lifetime of the device. The only time I look at my Kindle is when I'm actually reading a book. Now, I don't want ads myself, but I know some people who would take that kind of discount. Some people even seem to like ads..

        • by geekmux (1040042)

          ...Seriously though, if the ads aren't there while reading the book, I don't see the big deal even if it's for the lifetime of the device.

          So, I would assume that when you DVR your favorite TV show, you do NOT fast-forward past the commercials? I mean, technically they aren't there when you're watching your TV show...

          • As long as what you're trying to do is read the book, there won't be any commercials. This is more like a DVD player that switches to a (silent) ad whenever it's been in pause mode for more than five minutes, but otherwise never shows one.
  • by turtledawn (149719) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:05AM (#35792102)

    Nope. Not nearly enough.

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:05AM (#35792106) Journal

    I think the inevitable end result of ad-supported e-Books is subtle (or not so subtle) product placements inserted into books. I can't wait until "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" becomes a product placement for Timex, and Tom Sawyer takes a refreshing sip of Coca-cola as he rafts down the Mississippi.

    • by slyrat (1143997)

      I think the inevitable end result of ad-supported e-Books is subtle (or not so subtle) product placements inserted into books. I can't wait until "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" becomes a product placement for Timex, and Tom Sawyer takes a refreshing sip of Coca-cola as he rafts down the Mississippi.

      Well it is already being done. The site wowio [wowio.com] offers some of its books for free with ads placed in the books. They also have comic books with the same formula. I'm sure it will expand a bit and it often can work well if it is the first in a series. Baen [baen.com] has done similar, though no ads in theirs. In that case the Author chose for particular books to be free and Baen was fine with it. I'm sure that publishers will come up with other interesting ideas to get more people reading.

    • Easier to leave the text unedited, and just place banners and fullpage ads.
      The text might be scanned though, and topic-relevant ads might be placed.

    • by proslack (797189)
      Nothing new under the sun. Check out any old pulp magazine from the 20s or 30s, or a modern Reader's Digest or Analog. Ad-supported, just like your local newspaper. Most paperbacks have adverts in the back for other books from that publishing house.
  • An important detail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:06AM (#35792116)
    Will the device refuse to run if it's not able to connect to the ad server?
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      A bigger question: Will it still be hackable? I could see some that planned on hacking the thing anyway saving $25, the same as I've known Linux guys that would take the cheapest trialware ridden laptop because they knew they'd never even boot into the mess anyway, so it saved them money.

      So the bigger question is what is stopping the hackers from doing this now? Anything? And how long before this is mandatory? I bet Amazon isn't making huge profits on the thing to start with (and all corps seem to believe t

    • Will the device refuse to run if it's not able to connect to the ad server?

      Between connections to the Internet, the device would probably display cached ads, and then it would update them when the user buys a new book.

      • A question that your post just raised for me is if Amazon will require periodic connections in order to push those ads. For the 3G users that's not so much of a problem, they can just turn on the 3G radio for a minute until the notification goes away. But as a Wi-Fi only Kindle user I might be a little peeved to find out that Amazon expects me to find a wireless network every 2-3 weeks to check in.
    • by vlm (69642)

      Will the device refuse to run if it's not able to connect to the ad server?

      Blocking an ad server over your own wifi would be trivial.

      Blocking an ad server over someone elses wifi, tough, but theoretically possible if you trespass inside someone elses wifi-router.

      Blocking the 3G data connection to the ad server... probably not easy at all.

      • Blocking an ad server over your own wifi would be trivial.

        Not if the ad server is the Kindle sync server.

  • by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:08AM (#35792134) Homepage Journal

    Sign me up!

    -Rick

  • by metrometro (1092237) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:08AM (#35792138)

    At a hardware level, the e-ink screen is begging for this kind of treatment. When powered off, it's basically a coffee-table billboard waiting to happen, married to all the radios and spyware you need to profile the house its sitting in and deliver the ads.

    I'm totally grossed out by this. For now it's opt in, but it won't be in the future. Expect this to show up on all kinds of crap as e-ink screen prices drop. Lunch boxes, refrigerators, etc.

    Just another reason the $75 Kobo is the best e-reader on the market (I've owned a Nook, Kindle and Kobo).

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      it's too bad RCA doesn't get back into the eReader business

      i had an REB 1100 which included a resistive touch screen indiglo backlit LCD and integrated modem to dial in and buy books.

      it still had the best UI i have seen for an e reader

      the the page foreward and back buttons were large flipper-ish buttons on the side that could be hit with a palm squeeze, and one of the functions was a direction button where any of the 4 sides could be designated as the top, since it was not physically symmetrical this wa
      • Kindle offers orientation changing (though not automatically like the iPad and not with a single button press). The page buttons aren't as nice as what you're describing, though.

        • Kindle offers orientation changing (though not automatically like the iPad and not with a single button press). The page buttons aren't as nice as what you're describing, though.

          The last two generations of Kindle had automatic orientation changing, though of the five people I know with Kindles, none have left the feature enabled because it's annoying when reading while lying on one's side.

    • by boristdog (133725)

      The most popular e-readers in Europe:

      http://www.pocketbook-usa.com/products/ [pocketbook-usa.com]

      A little pricier, but a good selection of products.

  • Amazon will eventually drop the price to $99 or less, and at that price point buyers will be willing to accept a cheaper, ad-subsidized device.

    • That's redundant. If $99 is a price point [wikipedia.org], then by definition it'll be accepted by buyers. I think you mean "price," not price point.

    • I think you are right on. That $100 mark is a weirdly magic number for a lot of electronic devices. If Amazon can get a Kindle in for $99 or less, that thing could kick babies and people would still think they're getting a good deal on it.
  • Who in their right mind would subject themselves to advertising for the life of a product to save a measly $25. One would think that after the success of the Kindle and its proprietary nature they would be able to approach advertisers and offer a rather large captive audience that is fully trackable and work out a deal to basically give kindles away....that would have impressive and could have worked to make kindles as ubiquitous as television.

    • It's not that dissimilar from the ads you see in the back pages of the trashy sci-fi paperbacks. The ads are there, most people ignore them (most don't even realize they're there) but occasionally someone spots a title they might be interested in.

      The Kindle ad isn't like a TV ad that you have to sit through to continue watching your show. The ad is displayed on the screen when you're not using it and disappears as soon as you turn the device on. As a current Kindle user I would be interested in getting

      • by grapeape (137008)

        Except they aren't just on screen saver, they are also on the menu's and they aren't ads for other books, in fact their first client is Buick.

  • The Kindle is based on e-ink, which consumes a negligible amount of electricity when displaying a page. The ads will only be displayed on the lock screen page, and the bottom of the home page. There will not be any ads on the bottom of the books themselves. This might work if Amazon regularly includes really great offers to owners of the ad-Kindle such as half-priced Amazon gift cards and books, as the article suggests.

    Personally, I'd rather pay the extra $25 to get an ad-free version. However, if this work

  • Sorry, if it's going to subject me to ads then it needs to be free, or so cheap that I'll *feel* like I'm actually getting a deal. Ferretman
  • Oh, the horror... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Diddlbiker (1022703) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:28AM (#35792418)
    ...of having an ad on the cover of a device when it is turned off. Thank god your tablet, smartphone or laptop does not have a big logo on the cover, advertising its manufacturer.

    I wouldn't mind getting a $25 discount for that. The two problems that I have with it are:
    * Are the ads related to what I bought on Amazon? If I buy, say, a dozen dildos, do I have advertisments for sex toys on the cover of my kindle for the next two weeks (or until I buy something else)
    * Is Amazon going to pull a bezos on me? After two months reverting and saying "you know what, we are going to insert advertisements inside your e-book on second thought. You know, a bit like "an e-book on the kindle is just like a real book. Except that we can yank it from your shelf if we decide that's a good idea".
    • by Loosifur (954968)

      Mod parent up.

      I sincerely hope that all of the people who recoil in horror at the idea of ad-bearing products don't own clothes, shoes, cars, or any other products that bear their manufacturer's logo prominently.

    • by dlgeek (1065796)
      You realize Amazon lets you control whether products you've purchased or viewed in the past are used for recommendations, right? There's a "Don't recommend products based on this item" button and you can even remove items you've viewed from your history....
    • by jfengel (409917)

      If I buy, say, a dozen dildos

      Sounds like you throw one hell of a party.

  • This discount is on the version that you have to hook to your computer in order to update. A single $25 discount seems inappropriate for this devices.

    I would rather see a discount on the free-3G/wifi version of the unit. In this product, you get free 3G for life. An ad-supported model makes more sense because you continue to receive a service in exchange for continuing to receive ads. It would also allow them to update those ads more often.

    The best solution would be to discount the reader a bit *and* di

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Are you quite sure you can't download updates over the 802.11?

      Also, wrong. The idea is to get people the cheapest e-reader possible to encourage uptake.

  • What would be interesting is determining how much advertisments cost to put on a kindle - how much Amazon takes from each 'click' (do people still pay for impressions?) and work out just how many times a user needs to react to an ad for Amazon to get its money worth.

  • I'd have bought one... given that I rooted mine 20min after taking it out of the box. This discount version would have saved me $25 I could have spend on a case. Oh wait, i hacked up an old pocket organizer and velcro'd the kindle in... I guess amazon just can't win with me.
  • Seriously a $25 savings for a life of ads? Fuck that shit.
  • I wonder if this process [howtogeek.com] would eliminate the screensaver ads that amazon wants to load?
  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Sorry, ad supported for $25.00? get bent.

    Free for add supported? then they will generate interest. Whoever though that a pittance discount = the value of the invasive advertising is nuts.

  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @10:13AM (#35793008) Homepage Journal

    When the original Kindle came out, people complained it was horribly expensive. Whenever Amazon released a new model and/or chopped the MSRP, people complained it was horribly expensive. When it went under $200 people bitched that there was no reason for it to sell for more than $150. When the Wifi model came out for $139 people complained that there was no reason for it to cost more than $100. Now the Wifi can be purchased for $114 and people are going to come up with any excuse to complain about the price, ads or both.

    I am 100% convinced that even if Amazon gives it away just for the cost of shipping (free if you are on Prime), people will still bitch and moan about the stupid ads.

    I have owned two Kindles (awesome, cludgy), two Kindle 2s (awesome, period) and currently two Kindle 3 Wifi (awesome, keyboard sucks). All of our previous Kindle devices were sold to friends for a reasonable price, and all of them are (that I know) still up and running today, and each and everyone loves them.

    Both my wife and myself adore this device, for people like us that read a book or more per week these devices are extremely practical. The Wifi model uses so little power that it freaks me out whenever I realize that I actually need to charge it.

    • by geek (5680)

      I agree. I bought one a few years ago, the old 2nd gen with 3g. I've always been an avid reader but my girlfriend not so much. I got her the new wifi version when it first came out and she's done nothing but read on it since. We don't even watch movies anymore, a lot of nights we "go to bed early" just so we can read. It's truly a great device in every way. I just can't grasp all the whining about it. I think it simply has to be people who've never used or owned one.

  • I spend more than that a month for Audible audiobooks (Amazon) and Kindle books. And I use it all through my Android DroidX. After a year, I should be getting a FREE Kindle. I'd be willing to put up with ads ONLY if it were completely free. If they add in a stipulation that you've purchased at least $250 worth of content, I'm fine with that too, because I have. I've bought the Kindle as a gift for someone else, and really liked the readability. Reading on a DroidX kinda sucks, but I love books. Why sh
  • "...Will that be enough of a discount to get readers to purchase an ad-supported device?"

    The better question is:

    How long before the ad-free version stops being offered?

  • by dmomo (256005)

    "Will that be enough of a discount to get readers to purchase an ad-supported device"

    Yes. Because I'm sure that Amazon has done the market research. They didn't just make up a magical amount. I'm sure they did a cost / revenue analysis and also researched what discount would encourage customers to buy the device.

    I hate advertisements, but I thought it interesting to see Amazon take a different approach. They are allowing customers to give feedback on the ads. I am curious if it is easy to upgrade the S

  • How many more kindles will this pricing option sell?
    Are there really that many people out there that would walk away from a $139 kindle, but are willing to buy a $114 kindle with ads?
    The discount would have to be much steeper in order to result in a measurable increase in sales.

    I suspect that this is really about improving margins, not selling units. People who were already going to buy a kindle will opt for the cheaper one. The ad revenue it brings in will more than offset the purchase discount.

  • 1) Kindle will not work with epub, or many other formats. Libraries typically use epub format.

    2) B&N nook color will be a complete android platform soon. Read any format. Or just use your phone and/or computer to read any ebook format.

    3) Ten days without a recharge is, typically, not needed.

    4) No color.

    5) The "LED eye strain" claims are a hoax. I read an LED all day without eye strain. I'm 52 and I have never had great vision.

    6) Kindle does not work well in dim light.

    7) Kindle is a unitasker. Why carry

  • Only Ads on the homepage? I can deal with that. Doesn't sound like much of an annoyance. Give me ads while I am reading and a huge discount on ebooks, and then we will really talk. I buy the majority of my books used, and rarely pay more than a couple of bucks for a book. When I see the kindle prices of $10 a book, I laugh.

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