Shannon Stacey

My thoughts on the Kindle with Special Offers

I know some people are hesitant to buy a digital reading device that comes with “commercials”, like the Kindle with Special Offers, even though it’s only $114. So here’s what the addition of Special Offers means to the Kindle 3.

The regular K3 has an author on the screensaver. The KSO has an ad:

The home screen of the K3 lists the books. The home screen of the KSO lists the books and has a small banner ad across the bottom:

A close-up of the ad:

That’s it. Those are the only differences. There are no ads inserted into the books themselves.

I could have bought a plain Kindle 3. I chose to buy the KSO because I’d already seen several Special Offers I would have taken advantage of. If I was going to buy a second Kindle for the household, why not buy the one that’s cheaper and will offer me bargains in the future? Now, if they change the rules in the future and decide they’re going to put ads IN the books somehow, or an ad will display every 20 pages or something, then I might chuck it. I don’t want commercials in my books. But, as of right now, the Special Offers are unobtrusive and sometimes possibly lucrative.

If you’re interested in seeing previous Special Offers, you can check them out at Books on the Knob, an awesome blog that highlights free and bargain digital books (and more). (That link will take you to the entries tagged “KSO”, by the way.)

And if you get a Kindle, with Special Offers or not, don’t forget the Kindle Lighted Cover because it’s perfect for the Kindle and worth every penny.

10 comments to “My thoughts on the Kindle with Special Offers”

  1. Stephanie
      · June 8th, 2011 at 4:38 pm · Link

    Thanks for this! I am on the verge of purchasing a Kindle and wasn’t sure if the special offers would be obnoxious or not…I think I’ll take ’em and save a few bucks!

  2. Shannon
      · June 8th, 2011 at 4:43 pm · Link

    As long as they don’t change the way the ads are done (such as interrupting my reading with them), I think the KSO is a super-great deal. And sometimes the Special Offers might be small, but nice to have. Like there was one (before I got mine) where you got any 1 music album from Amazon for a buck.

    And I love the Kindle best of all the readers, Special Offers or no. You should go for it!

  3. Laura (in PA)
      · June 8th, 2011 at 6:19 pm · Link

    Thanks for showing this. I got my Kindle before the special offers deal came out, but I was wondering what the difference was. From your example, I think it’s more than worth the better price.

    And I love my lighted cover. :)

  4. Shannon
      · June 8th, 2011 at 8:35 pm · Link

    The lighted cover is probably the biggest reason that my husband (who had a nook) refused to give me back my Kindle after he borrowed it to read an Amazon freebie. It’s ingenious, really.

  5. infinitieh
      · June 8th, 2011 at 11:16 pm · Link

    As much as my Kindle gives me fits re: epubs, I love the lighted cover! Mine is in Hot Pink so that I will be able to find it and no one wold want to steal it.

  6. Carin
      · June 9th, 2011 at 9:24 am · Link

    I have a lighted cover for my Sony reader and I LOVE it. So awesome, though I hear the Kindle cover runs off the rechargable Kindle battery, which would be nicer than swtiching out my AAA battery every couple weeks.

    I wouldn’t mind the Kindle ads as you’ve shown them, Shannon, but the fact that Amazon CAN change how they use those ads is concerning.

    I wonder, though, if someone offered me a book for a super cheap price if I agreed to look at an ad, say once a chapter? I’d probably be in for it. I wouldn’t like it, but I’d be unable to resist the cheap-factor.

  7. Shannon
      · June 9th, 2011 at 9:32 am · Link

    I have the hot pink, too. When I bought the first lighted cover, I bought it at Staples and they only had black, so I’ve pawned that off on the husband.

    Since I posted this, I’ve wondered about that as well, Carin. Apps come with two price tiers—one price for ads and one without. (Although the one with ads is usually free, so not an exact match.)

    But if I could pay $12.99 for Nora’s new hardcover, or if I could pay $7.99 and have an ad display every twentieth page or so…it’s an interesting question.

    Maybe the thing is that I’m not willing to tolerate ads IN the books to subsidize the cost of the device, but if I could get a book for half the price in exchange for having an ad after each chapter break, would I be willing to compromise.

    I’m not sure, really.

  8. Cassandra Carr
      · October 6th, 2011 at 11:41 am · Link

    Thanks for this! I asked for a Kindle for Christmas to complement my Nook, and whereas before I wouldn’t have considered the one w/the special offers, this doesn’t look bad at all!

  9. Shannon
      · October 6th, 2011 at 11:46 am · Link

    Some of the recent special offers have included a mystery/thriller for $1 and a romance for $1 and $10 off of a $25 purchase. The special offers I’ve used have probably 3/4 paid back the price of the Kindle and I’ve only had it since June.

    The ads really are unobtrusive.

    (Disclaimer: I have the Kindle 3, so I can’t speak to the new models. I’m guessing, though I don’t know for sure, the ad set-up didn’t change.)

  10. Dave L
      · November 17th, 2011 at 9:48 am · Link

    Amazon is now allowing the ‘special offers’ Kindles to be upgraded to no ‘special offers’ via their website. You of course have to pay the price difference, $30 or $40, depending on the model.

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