If Amazon’s Bestsellers in Electronics page is to be believed, the latest Kindle with Special Offers (the ad sponsored version) is the top bestseller, racing ahead of the $139 Kindle 3 Wi-Fi which is the same device sans ads and special offers. While there are people who’d much rather prefer forking out an additional $25, this proves that Amazon has attracted new customers who have no problem with the ads.
This has a lot to do with the way ads have been integrated into the Kindle 3 with Special Offers. You sign up for a lifetime of ads in lieu of a $25 discount. The ads appear only on screensavers and the home screen. They do not come in between your reading. That is to say, your reading experience on the $114 ad-sponsored Kindle 3 and the $139 Kindle 3 Wi-Fi is in effect the same. Even the special offers come mostly from Amazon and are the kind of things that appeal to Kindle customers – a 50% discount on an MP3 album or a gift coupon, etc. In addition, these offers are exclusively for ad-sponsored Kindle owners.
Obviously, Kindle buyers don’t mind watching ads and special offers when they’re not reading.
Amazon has hit the jackpot here. Not only are the Kindles selling like hot cakes with the lowered price, Amazon’s building up revenue with the advertisements and special offer sponsors. It’s a win-win deal. We can expect the Kindle to get even cheaper in coming days.
Can we also expect the Kindle to go colored in the near future? CEO Jeff Bezos says that the color display isn’t ready for prime time because the colors are very pale. But there is constant improvement and “it makes a lot of sense for there to be a low-power, reflective color display. I think that’s something you could build a fantastic product around.”
Asked whether Amazon will also jump on the tablet bandwagon, Bezos said to ‘stay tuned’ on the company’s plans. The tablet device (if it comes) will probably supplement the Kindle and not replace it.
“We will always be very mindful that we will want a dedicated reading device,” he said. “In terms of any other product introductions, I shouldn’t answer.”