NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Shoppers can save $25 on the newest Kindle if they don’t mind having to read a few ads.
Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) launched an alternate version of its bestselling e-reader this week that is the same as the previous Kindle in every way except that it displays advertisements and special offers from companies like Visa and Buick at the bottom of the home screen and when the device is in screensaver mode.
The new Kindle, which Amazon is calling the “Kindle with Special Offers” (not the catchiest name), sells for $114, cheaper than the traditional Kindle without ads that costs $139 and well below the price of competing e-readers from Sony (Stock Quote: SNE) and Barnes & Noble (Stock Quote: BKS). The obvious caveat, however, is that consumers must accept having advertisements incorporated into their overall reading experience.
Amazon, for its part, has tried to make the new sponsored feature as unobtrusive as possible. Shoppers have the ability to customize the style of the ads, with options ranging from landscapes to literary references, so that the advertisements better match the reader’s tastes. Moreover, the new Kindle boasts a special app called AdMash that lets users vote on ads to determine which ones will be featured on their devices.
Most importantly though, the ads are not incorporated into the e-books themselves (at least not yet). Instead, readers would only see the promotions as small banner displays on the home screen or displayed in full on the screen when the product is no longer in use. Regular Kindles, by contrast, have no ads, and instead display random black and white pictures of famous authors and novels as a screensaver. But unless you’re someone who really wants to see an old picture of a grimacing Emily Dickinson, the advertisements might not be so bad.