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.