I’ve written several times before about how Amazon’s Kindle 3 is a fantastic reading experience, and the low price has been a significant factor in the success of the device. Now the price is a little lower, but it comes with another kind of cost.
Amazon has just announced what they’re calling Kindle with Special Offers, a standard WiFi-only Kindle with all the functionality of the original design, but the screensaver artwork has been replaced with advertising, and ads also appear along the bottom of the home screen. In exchange, you get to pay $25 less for the device; the ad-bearing Kindle will run you $114 instead of $139.
This sounds like a pretty good deal, but does raise the question – is $25 enough of a savings to put up with ads in your Kindle?
That’s really going to be a very personal decision that depends largely on how intrusive you find the ads to be. To judge that, here’s the deal on the ads – they do not appear while you’re reading eBooks. Your reading experience is unaffected. You’ll only be seeing them when you’re at the home screen changing settings or selecting a book to read, and when the screen saver activates.
That said, I’ve never been particularly impressed with the screen saver art on my Kindle 3. I actually think that the ads I’ve seen are more attractive than most of them, and Amazon has never before allowed the user any control over the screen saver art, at least until now. On the Special Offers Kindle, there are personal screen saver preferences that allow you to set which ads you prefer to see, and they’ll show up more often than others.
If ads bother you a lot, I’d steer clear of this and put down the extra $25. If money’s really tight and you don’t care about ads, this may increase the temptation factor even further. It also sets something of a precedent; I have a feeling this won’t be the last ad-discounted gadget we’ll be seeing over the next few years.
What do you think, Kindle fans? Ads or no ads? How much would this hurt your experience? The comments await your response.