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Amazon to ship ad-backed Kindle for $114 to fight Nook, iPad

updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon April 11, 2011

Amazon plans ad-sponsored Kindle for 114

Amazon up-ended the e-reader market on Monday with word of an ad-sponsored version of the Kindle. Called just the Kindle with Special Offers, it will have ads both on the bottom of the home page and on its idle screens. The new reader would drop the price by $25 over a Wi-Fi version and should ship both online and through Best Buy and Target on May 3.

Buick, JPMorgan Chase, Olay, and Visa would be some of the initial sponsors. It would be virtually identical in hardware to the Wi-Fi model. None of the books themselves will have ads, Amazon was keen to emphasize. Readers can have ad offers e-mailed to them and can fine-tune the preferences.

The move was explained by Kindle team lead Jay Marine as a way to expand the reach of the e-reader beyond its current audience. It will more likely serve as at least a competitive shot at Barnes & Noble's Nook Wi-Fi, which at $149 would now be $35 more expensive. Rivals like the Kobo eReader and Sony Reader Pocket Edition may also be hurt by the lower price.

It may also be a way to further distance the price of the Kindle from the iPad. Although Amazon has often insisted it's not directly trying to compete with Apple, it has lately attacked the iPad directly in TV ads. Many iPad owners also have Kindles but in some cases are buying instead of an e-reader or have no intention of buying one once they discover reading on the tablet.

by MacNN Staff



  1. rvhernandez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Enough...

    $25 savings to put up with ads?
    Ads Amazon is selling for a boatload of money?
    Ads for books I have to buy on Amazon?

    Look, they should sell you a Kindle "with Offers" for $139 and because all those ads, they should have made it free by giving you back $139 in store credit. That way, they don't get "poachers" wanting a free Kindle - you still need to front $139, but you get it back in credits for books.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'll bet Amazon's share price will go up

    because of this offer. Wall Street loves companies that seem to be giving things away for free. Amazon never seems to to be downgraded by analysts for reduction of margins, for some reason. I see nothing wrong with this offer. I'm probably one of the few consumers around that actually doesn't mind ads. To me it's just something I've put up with most of my life and have learned to enjoy looking at different ads.

    I also agree that Amazon could have probably made the ad-based Kindle free but I guess they're not stupid enough to give away something that they could get paid for. I think Amazon will sell more Kindles because of this offer. As far as I'm concerned, the Kindle has absolutely nothing to concern itself about the iPad 2. It's in a far different class. Even if Amazon gave away the Kindle, Apple will still have consumers waiting on line to get the iPad 2. There's just no comparison with all the things the iPad 2 can do.

    At one point last year I thought that schools would be grabbing the Kindle to use instead of the iPad because of its lower price, but fortunately I was wrong.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Spend on ebooks instead

    You write: "Many iPad owners also have Kindles but in some cases are buying instead of an e-reader or have no intention of buying one once they discover reading on the tablet."

    In my experience, the opposite seems more common. Someone who can afford a $500-and-up Kindle can easily afford the now-$114 Kindle 3, particular given its light weight and month-long battery life. The opposite isn't usually true. Someone who loves reading is likely to get a Kindle and spend the $400 they've saved on ebooks. Also, those who 'discover' reading on the two tend to favor ePaper. No one gets eye strain using it.

    This new Kindle-with-ads offer is certainly tempting me to abandon my 'wait for the Kindle 4' pledge. I usually find ads irritating, but ads on a Kindle's idle screen won't bother me at all. They'll certainly be more interesting than those b&w sketches of writers.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    think group-on

    People love coupons - people love reading about deals on craigslist or e-bay auctions.

    The ads listed above are not typical of what Amazon, at least so far, is claiming they will have - get a $20 gift certificate for $10.

    The exec interviewed seemed to know what it has to be - not an annoyance, nobody will find it worth an annoyance for $25 - but what it needs to be is an exciting service - real deals.

    So, that part I think they know what the goal is, and seem to be trying to achieve that goal.

    And the ads are the screen saver - they never interrupt reading a book.

    With that said $114??? How about $99 - that's a better price.

  1. JTh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But Inkling

    I respect your point of view, but really? For $35, which is just over a 20% price difference, you are willing to accept advertising on a product that you paid for, that allows you to read material that you also pay for?

    I'm sorry, but in my book (or Kindle, hee hee), if I accept advertisements, it'd better be one heckuva price drop. This c*** is a slap in the face, AFAIAC.

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