You decide: Jane Austen with appendicitis or an Oil of Olay offer

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On May 3, Amazon will start shipping the “Kindle with Special Features,” a $114 wifi-enabled Kindle ebook reader. The device costs $25 less than the technically-identical $139 Kindle model, the “special features” being money-saving coupon offers that show up as screensavers.

Let me stop and repeat that: You must pay $25 more for the “Kindle with NO Special Features,” the one that has standard screensavers that appear to be etchings dipicting famous authors in great pain.

So, here’s the decision you need to make: Pay extra for Edgar Allan Poe with hemorrhoids or save $25 and have screensavers with offers like: a $10 for $20 Amazon.com gift card, $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store, $10 for $30 of products from the Amazon Swim Shop.

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Let me explain this once more: The offers show up when you stop reading the Kindle and it sits there for five minutes or so and the screensaver comes on — these aren’t animated banner ads or email day spa offers. And (in theory at least) since Amazon knows more about what you purchase online that you do, the offer should anticipate that you’d probably respond to that half-off offer for a case of deodorant.

I know, I know, a screensaver depicting Harriet Beecher Stowe with lumbago is worth $25 more than half-off shoes from Zappos, but still.

  • Coble

    Personally, as much as i think a lot of the screensaver pix are less than great, im quite glad i dont have the Special Offers model. nnMy Kindle is for my books. My books are one of the few places i can go that dont have graphics-heavy ads screaming at me from the top, bottom, sides, corner, wherever. I like picking up my kindle and feeling as though i’ve got a ticket to fabulous places. That although it IS a piece of newtech, it is ome that exists wholly in service to the ancient art of writing. The ads would feel like a real invasion of that space. nnI’m glad tje option is open to folks like you who’d rather pay less for the device. But i dont feel at all bad for paying the higher price and would do it again if given the choice.

  • The ads only show up when you’re *not* reading. However, I agree with you. I spend more time with my Kindle App than anything else on my iPad. It has made me realize that I’m not just a fan of books — I’m a fan of reading. I read twice as many books and longform writing as I did before the Kindle.