What Will We Sacrifice to Save $25?

Amazon’s Kindle e-readers are now selling at $114 instead of its usual $139. Why the $25 price reduction? Well Amazon was able to drop the price on the Kindle with the help of advertisers. What’s the catch? Well the newest Kindle, “Kindle with Special Offers,” will show ads as screen savers and at the bottom of the home screen.

Amazon is really trying to extend its brand from e-commerce retail to a complete digital media company. Amazon’s price reduction is in response to the growing competition in e-reader price wars. According to a New York Times’ article the “new Kindle is $35 less than Barnes & Noble’s least expensive Nook and $66 less than Sony’s least expensive Reader.” Let’s not forget to mention that it is a few hundred dollars cheaper than Apple’s iPad.

The “Kindle with Special Offers” will have the same hardware as the most recent, $139 Kindle, with Wi-Fi, a one-month battery life and an 8.5-ounce body. But instead of the typical Kindle screen savers, like images of authors, Amazon will show ads from brands like Buick, Procter & Gamble and Visa. These ads will not only be screen savers, but will also show up on the home screen. However, you will not see them inside e-books.

Amazon will also allow users to choose the ads they would like to see, users can vote either online or on AdMash, a Kindle app, for their favorite of two ads. The user will also be able to control whether they want to see more or fewer ads with specific elements like illustrations. In order to make this experience worth it to the users they will have the opportunity to receive discounts through their Kindles.

Books have also been a “free ad-zone,” but will Amazon’s newest Kindle ruin that? Perhaps, but are we willing to tarnish that reputation in order to save $25? Is this the future of advertising? In my opinion Amazon is being strategic in their thinking and only time will tell whether their plan will work, but perhaps more personable ads as screen savers and home screen will be the newest form of advertising in this high-tech world.