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Do You Really Want to Own an Ad-Supported Kindle?

written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 5/23/2011
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In order to help reduce the cost of the Kindle, Amazon has released a device which is ad supported. The question then becomes how much the ads effect the quality of the Kindle experience and whether it is worth considering this device.

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    In an attempt to continue to lower the price of the Amazon Kindle, Amazon has released a Kindle with special offers. These offers will appear as your screen saver so when you set down the kindle for a while images will appear. In addition you will get ads on the bottom of the screen, similar to the banner ads on many websites. These appear only on your home screen and while you’re looking for your library of books so should not interfere at all with reading.

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    Price

    The Amazon Kindle is already one of the least expensive of the eBook reader devices with the wi-fi only version of the Kindle costing $139. The ad supported version of the Kindle costs $114 for the identical specs as the most recent Kindle. While this is only 25 dollars it is enough to buy three or four books for your Kindle. In addition the special offers have on occasion been very good, though most of the time they are simply ads that you are not going to care about.

    There is also some speculation that as Amazon has more advertisers they may be able to reduce the cost even further so if you’re thinking of upgrading it may be worth waiting to see if the price is lowered further.

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    Ads

    kindle special offers ad 

    While some people are extremely bothered by ads regardless of their type these are reasonably simple and non intrusive ads. The screen savers are the biggest of the ads but only appear when you’re not using the device and since the images on previous Kindles were simply images of authors you are not missing anything.

    The remainder of the ads are small and mostly out of the way on the bottom of the screen. Since this is eInk device you won’t have scroll over, flashing or pop up ads. They are simply small static banners at the bottom of the screen.

    The quality of the special offers will change over time, but Amazon has advertised offers such as $10 for a $20 Amazon gift card or $1 for an Amazon MP3 album and if these continue then those ads may actually add value to the device for those who want to use them.

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    Hardware

    The hardware specs of the Kindle Special offers is identical to that of the Kindle Wi-fi. This is a 6 inch screen with pearl e-Ink, a full keyboard and five way button and the ability to buy books from the Amazon eBook library. That this does not have the 3G option is the only real detraction, but this is the same for the non ad supported version of the Kindle.

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    What it All Comes Down to

    Since the ads in the Kindle with Special Offers are the only real change in the device the question is a personal decision of how much ads bother you. If you don’t mind seeing a few ads when you’re exploring your device then there is no reason to avoid getting this, but if the idea ads is going to bother you at all pay the extra $25 and you don’t have to worry about it ever again because the truth is that $25 really isn’t enough to worry about it.

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    Resources

    • Source: Cnet, http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-20059481-82.html
    • Source: Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Special-Offers-Wireless-Reader/dp/B004HFS6Z0/ref=amb_link_356229022_5?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=18SEY0T5ZJGBT6QHRZP5&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1297435162&pf_rd_i=507846
    • Images, Courtesy of Amazon.com