Monday, December 05, 2011

Buy Kindle With Special Offers Or Ad-Free?

Because I’m a big fan of the e-ink Kindle readers I often get asked whether to buy the “with offers” version that Amazon introduced this past year or the $30 higher (additional cost of special offers varies depending on which Kindle you purchase) ad-free Kindle e-reader.  Here’s my take.


If you’re buying for yourself, ALWAYS purchase the “special offers” version with the ads.  Why?  Because even if you hate those ads, you can always pay the difference and remove those ads permanently.  This gives you the option to see if you can handle those extra ads or not as there is zero risk.  If you’re purchasing as a gift it just depends on whether your worried about being considered a “cheapskate” or not.

To give you a real feel for the “Special Offers version, here’s what the last several ads look like on the Kindle:

Here’s some additional examples of the types of ads that will display when the Kindle is “locked” – in screen-saver mode.  These change each time you soft-power off your Kindle:


If you go straight to reading a book, you won’t see any additional ads while reading.  If you go to the home screen list of books on the Kindle though, you’ll see an ad at the bottom of the screen like this:


If you select one of those ads at the bottom of the main menu screen, it will open up a “more information” screen where you can request that offer to be e-mailed to you.


That’s it.  Nothing too invasive, but instead of getting the standard rotation of Kindle covers, you’ll get advertisements er… special offers instead.  I should note that those offers ARE occasionally nice ones, like the save $5 on $10 purchase offer you see in one of the ads above. 

To remove the Special Offers via Amazon, go to “Manage Your Kindle’ on and sellect “edit special offers”.  You’ll then see a screen like this:


You can then pay up to unsubscribe from the ads.  In my case I’d have to pay $40 to remove the ads for my Kindle touch.  If you already have a Kindle and for some reason you actually WANT to try out the ads on your Kindle, you can go to this same page and turn the ads on.  Those of you in this situation won’t of course have to pay to do this or to turn the ads back off.

So far I’ve left the special offers on my Kindle Touch, although I might attempt a “hack” to remove them just to try it out.  More on that later.