Ad-supported Kindle

Amazon has just announced that they will be selling an ad-supported version of the Kindle for $114, about 20% less than the ad-free version. This sounds horrible, but given the way a Kindle is used the ads may not end up mattering as much to you as saving $25. Ads come in two forms, sponsored screensavers and a small bar at the bottom of the home screen. The screensaver is eminently ignorable, unless it might embarrass you to have other people see an ad on your idle Kindle. And the home screen is not a place you’ll spend much time, going there only to select something to read.

I’m intrigued that it is worth $25 to put this sort of unobtrusive advertising in your hands. Given how early it is in the era of e-readers, economies of scale are sure to drive prices down much further as their availability grows. Soon enough people who have little interest in them will own at least one, which they bought for $19.95 in order to have access to a few things that were otherwise inconvenient to obtain.

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3 thoughts on “Ad-supported Kindle

  1. Comment on your latest Curiosity — Scott Adams on getting a real education. On his list of lessons, he left out dulling the conscience, which seems to be pretty important if you want to succeed nowadays.

  2. Kelly,

    On his list of lessons, he left out dulling the conscience, which seems to be pretty important if you want to succeed nowadays.

    You’re quite right that a dulled conscience is a prerequisite for success and happiness nowadays, at least as society defines it. Other things, too—a materialistic bent, self-centeredness, aesthetic blindness, probably more.

    But I don’t think Adams was wrong to leave them off his list. He is talking about things that need to be studied, whereas the qualities you and I point to are the freely bestowed gifts of modern industrial living. As Neil Postman pointed out, nobody needs a course in remedial television-watching. Similarly, nobody needs to actively dull their conscience or nurture their narcissism—a lazy and thoughtless approach to life will take care of that.

  3. Good point.

    I’m also thinking about your recent comment at Cindy’s blog about fitting in, or succeeding on the market’s terms. It’s a little bit frustrating (okay, more than a little) to find out that the good guy really does finish last an awful lot of the time.

    Not that my ultimate goal for my kids is worldly success, but I used to think that the kinds of material blessings mentioned in Scripture that the Lord bestows when he is pleased with his people worked on an individual basis. Now I’m thinking that that sort of thing is mainly a corporate blessing, and since we’re living in a society that generally doesn’t give a hoot…

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