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Apparently people will sit through ads to save $25

Amazon launched its latest Kindle eReader recently with a lower price point. The catch, however, was that users would be bombarded with ads while the device was sitting idle. The surprising thing for many when the new Kindle launched was that it was only $25 less than the version that doesn't require ads. The big question on many minds was if consumers would buy the ad-supported versions to save a few bucks.

It appears that the answer is yes; the ad-supported Kindle at $114 has taken over the top spot for best-selling electronics on Granted, most take that with a grain of salt since Amazon provides the numbers. The fact that the ad-supported version took the top spot is impressive and might herald a new rush of cheaper eReaders from other providers that are ad-supported. 

There is a chance that an ad-supported version might be more lucrative for Amazon and others than the standard version. That would depend on the price Amazon is able to charge for ads.

While the ad-supported Kindle is doing well in the market, there is rising speculation that Amazon may be readying a tablet. Amazon certainly has the customer base to sell a tablet and could leverage some of the eReader systems already in place for the tablet.

Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps from Forrester wrote, “Amazon could create a compelling Android- or Linux-based tablet offering easy access to Amazon’s storefront (including its forthcoming Android app store) and unique Amazon features like one-click purchasing, Amazon Prime service, and its recommendation engine. More consumers considering buying a tablet say that they would consider Amazon (24 percent) than Motorola (18 percent).”

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bad math
By kelmerp on 5/17/2011 4:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
The ad supported Kindle is the 3G version, not the wifi-only version. The 3G version is $189, so it's actually a $65 savings. The ad-supported Kindle has a permanent, worldwide 3G internet connection which is actually he thing I find most intriguing, but I'm still sitting on the sidelines a little longer since I have some concern over the DRM.

RE: bad math
By sprockkets on 5/17/2011 4:56:30 PM , Rating: 3
Unless you have the actual device in your hands, their website says otherwise.

RE: bad math
By darckhart on 5/17/2011 9:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't bothered to compare all the tech specs, nor all the special "offers" tied to this ad kindle, but it is UNFAIR to claim #1 selling if there are other variables than simply ads being the only difference. That would be confounding. I mean, if it's a better model, comes with tons of promos, and comes with free ice cream, OF COURSE IT WILL SELL BETTER. PANTS ON FIRE!!

RE: bad math
By GulWestfale on 5/17/2011 10:32:12 PM , Rating: 1
while i myself would rather pony up the extra cash to avoid ads, i do think that giving people the option to choose is a great thing. other companies would have taken the non-ad supported device off the market entirely, and then we'd all have to suffer through the asinine lies that pass for advertising these days.

furtehrmore, as an author who has seen virtually all of his sales on amazon (and almost none on ibooks/B&N/sony reader), i always welcome a new addition to the kindle family, as more machines equals more book sales for me. i saw a spike in sales in january (after the new kindle became amazon's best-selling item), and i am noticing another spike right now. i hope they will keep introducing new (and cheaper) hardware!

if anyone wants to check out my books, here's the link:

RE: bad math
By GulWestfale on 5/17/2011 10:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
hmm, that link doesn't work. just search for 'sascha von bornheim' on amazon (US, UK, or DE sites), and you'll find me. :)

RE: bad math
By darckhart on 5/18/2011 11:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
i do think that giving people the option to choose is a great thing

Yup, I have no problem with that. And like yourself, I prefer an ad-free option here.

My main beef is the PR twisting. The ONLY difference between them better be price and ads. To have other confounding variables and then make claims as such is unethical.

RE: bad math
By epobirs on 5/19/2011 9:01:37 AM , Rating: 3
It isn't a separate hardware model. It is the exact same unit unit as the existing 3rd Generation WiFi unit, just with different firmware for the ads.

As such, this is serving to demonstrate that cost of entry is a major factor in the growth of this device category.

Interestingly, if the offers are useful to you with enough frequency, this model can be considered free. One of the first offers I got on mine was a $100 Amazon gift card if applied for and was accepted for an Amazon Visa credit card.

No, I'd been planning to get one of those for a while. I currently do almost all my purchasing on a Toys R Us MasterCard that pays off at 1% TRU credit for most purchases and 4% within TRU. So it helps cover much of my video game purchases. But lately I've bought more games through Amazon and the have an immense variety of other products, so their points card may make far more sense.

Between that and some of the other offers it almost feels like they've paid me to take the Kindle. I'm already a happy Nook user but since I'm doing e-book production I wanted a Kindle for testing. The Previewer app is not completely reliable. That this is working out this way is rather a bonus.

RE: bad math
By epobirs on 5/19/2011 8:48:12 AM , Rating: 2
You are completely wrong. I have a unit at hand that was delivered three days ago. Interesting packing/mailer, BTW.

The Kindle w/ads is WiFi only. It would be extremely counterproductive for it to have 3G support due to the bandwidth costs. When Amazon passes this cost on the book publishers the rate is 15 cents a megabyte. This may not sound like much but it's a big byte if you're selling something with a lot of illustration at a low price.

DRM is a nonissue. There are freeware tools that will strip off the DRM. I've also had no problem loading MOBI file obtained from torrents or converted via Calibre from EPUB files obtained from torrents.

MIsleading article
By lecanard on 5/17/2011 9:11:16 PM , Rating: 3
The article says users "will sit through ads" are "bombarded" with ads while the device is idle. When the device is idle, it isn't being used. The user is not "bombarded", not do they sit there staring at the lock screen. There are no time-based ads to sit through. You only see the ad briefly as you pick up the Kindle and unlock it. And there is a banner at the bottom of the book selection screen, which you will see once every time you switch books and never while you are reading one.

RE: MIsleading article
By tallcool1 on 5/18/2011 12:14:36 PM , Rating: 3
Welcome to the SPIN Zone...

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." -Thomas Jefferson

... or blogs...

RE: MIsleading article
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2011 1:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
Typical hype and spin. Keep moving, nothing to see here

Bombarded? Really? Really?
By epobirs on 5/19/2011 9:11:54 AM , Rating: 3
The ads solely appear on the screensaver/privacy standby and at the bottom of menu screens. Meaning that the most prominent display of the ads is when you're not looking at the device. It's hard to imagine how they could be less intrusive and still exist at all.

Imagine if you only saw ads on television when you turned it on and on the bottom of the channel guide display but never interrupting a show.

That is how it works on the Kindle. The downside is that the ads might be so easily ignored as to lack any value to those paying for their inclusion. I want this to big a big success and drive the price even lower. The cheaper reading devices get the better the market gets for the books. I have a lot of friends who are authors and I'm involved in e-book production, so I have a high level of interest beyond my personal enjoyment of the products.

The battery in that ?
By kensiko on 5/17/11, Rating: -1
RE: The battery in that ?
By ZachDontScare on 5/17/2011 3:17:03 PM , Rating: 3
Isnt the image on e-paper static? That is, it takes some power to draw the page, but not maintain it.

RE: The battery in that ?
By kensiko on 5/17/2011 5:17:46 PM , Rating: 2
True, but how much ads do they send hourly ?

RE: The battery in that ?
By bjacobson on 5/17/2011 5:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
much ads or many ads?

RE: The battery in that ?
By kensiko on 5/17/2011 8:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Many, sorry (I'm french).

RE: The battery in that ?
By brshoemak on 5/17/2011 3:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that e-ink only draws power when the display is updated - and not very much at that. I wouldn't imagine that the ads change fast enough to cause a significant power draw. Also, how long would you leave your Kindle on if you're not reading it anyway - you would have to leave it idle for quite a while to see a big drop in battery life.

If Amazon decides to make a tablet, it will probably take the place of the Kindle DX which has a larger screen than the basic Kindle, yet it's still B&W. Of course it would be more like the B&N Nook and have to deal with issues of glare and reduced battery life - which were main advantages of the Kindle in the first place. It might just end up being another tablet among many. Also, the margins can't be that great (if any) and there is already a Kindle app for Android that works on any Android-based device.

I'm still going to wait and see if the rumor is true that Amazon Prime members will get a free Kindle around Nov/Dec of this year. If not, I'll just pick one up later.

RE: The battery in that ?
By DanNeely on 5/17/2011 3:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Last year's rumor was that we'd've had one 6 months ago. Don't hold your breathe on this years rumor.

RE: The battery in that ?
By brshoemak on 5/17/2011 4:07:06 PM , Rating: 1
Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath - I don't really have a need for an e-reader, wife is the big reader in the family. She's debating between a e-ink device or something like the Nook.

Personally, I would take the Nook in a second if it was a non-neutered Android tablet but it still can't use the Android Marketplace. My wife, on the other hand, wants to get an e-reader for actually reading books........c'mon, who does that? :)

RE: The battery in that ?
By theapparition on 5/17/2011 5:09:56 PM , Rating: 3
The Nook is a e-ink device. The Nook Color, which is what I think you are referring to, has a LCD display.

After 10-15 minutes, the Nook Color is a fully functioning Android tablet with full Market access. CM7 is fully stable Gingerbread, and the universally accepted best ROM package is Phiremod.

Also, since it boots from SD card, it is impossible to brick, and you can do other neat things like install full Android onto the uSD card, and when you remove the card, it goes back to completely stock with full warranty intact. Cool, eh?

RE: The battery in that ?
By brshoemak on 5/17/2011 8:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I meant the Nook Color.

So if you load a new ROM the Nook Color can take advantage of all the apps in the Android Marketplace unless they require GPS or something similar right? If so, that may give me some ammo in my case for a Nook Color. Thanks.

RE: The battery in that ?
By theapparition on 5/18/2011 3:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
You can either "root" the stock firmware on the Nook Color and gain Android Marketplace and get other apps, like launchers that make it look different than the stock launcher. Acts just like a decent Android tablet, yet still retains all of the base NC functionality, like Read-to-me books and in store free reading.

Or, you can completely rewrite the firmware with the latest CM7 (Gingerbread) and have a fantastic tablet. Phiremod is based on CM7 and is great.

Or as I mentioned, if you're nervous about getting your feet wet, you can burn the firmware onto a uSD card and then boot into that, and when you remove the card it's bone stock again. Does require a fast card to make it usable, Class 6 as a minimum, Class 10 even better.

RE: The battery in that ?
By epobirs on 5/19/2011 9:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
I greatly doubt the DX model is going away. There is a market segment that really values those qualities it delivers that cannot be matched on currently shipping color displays.

There may be a new version of the DX soon, however. Or a competitor from Barnes & Noble. Epson just announced a 300 DPI e-ink panel and support chipset that is amazing in its clarity. It is exactly the right size to base a new DX model around.

Barnes & Nobel is having a press event on May 24 to announce some new product. May be a 3G version of the Nook color. May be something else.

RE: The battery in that ?
By smackababy on 5/17/2011 4:34:39 PM , Rating: 3
All Kindles draw a picture on the screen when idle. Changing that picture to one with an ad takes just as much battery as before.

Also, I am curious as to what "bombardment of ads" really means. Is it just on the idle screen or something more intrusive like between each page turn?

RE: The battery in that ?
By lecanard on 5/17/2011 8:58:13 PM , Rating: 3
It's only on the lock screen and at the bottom of the book selection page. No ads in books.

I almost wish I could opt in on my full-price Kindle because I'm tired of the same old lock screen images.

RE: The battery in that ?
By epobirs on 5/19/2011 8:53:58 AM , Rating: 1
The ads are screensavers and also appear at the bottom of menu screens, such as the library listing. As such they're very unobtrusive. They never appear within book content or interrupt reading. Amazon did not make that mistake.

This means you cannot easily add your own wallpaper and screensavers (a misnomer since none are needed for e-ink, these are really privacy screens) as you can on the Nook. Go to for examples.

I cannot tell how the battery life but in the days I've had it I haven;t needed to charge it again since the initial session. It's been plugged in to my PC several times as I loaded files to it, so that would have added some charge. But in general, this should scarcely make a dent in the Kindle's excellent battery life.

RE: The battery in that ?
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2011 1:13:37 PM , Rating: 1
The Kindle only draws power when redrawing the page or when downloading. Sitting with a static page draws pretty much nothing.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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