The latest version of Amazon’s phenomenally successful Kindle reader – the “Kindle with Special Offers” – allows customers to get a $ 25 discount on the price of a standard Wi-Fi only Kindle. The latest Kindle will start shipping on May 3, and it does more than let you buy a Kindle for just $ 114 – it highlights a few of the reasons why the Kindle is such a great success for Amazon, prompts some questions about the method of pricing e-book readers whilst simultaneously hinting at other products which Amazon may see fit to develop and launch, possibly in the near future.
The latest entry level Kindle puts adverts and special offers on Kindle screen saver pages in place of the pictures of famous authors used in earlier, standard Kindles. There will also be ads featured near the bottom of the home page menu screen. The actual reading experience is, according to Amazon, not affected, Amazon will earn money thanks to ad revenue and extra sales, which means that consumers can get their hardware at a reduced price. There’s something in it for everyone.
Of course, there will be those who are unhappy about the notion of adverts on their Kindle, but some people seem to dislike the entire concept of e-book readers pretty much on a point of principle. It’s a matter of personal preference when all’s said and done. In any event, anyone who is uncomfortable with adverts on the Kindle can pay a little extra and get the standard, ad-free, model.
There are a number of companies with Kindle ad campaigns prepared and ready to launch. Chase, Procter and Gamble, Visa and General Motors are a selection of the companies who want to see adverts for their products on the Kindle. However, it seems reasonable to suppose that a large percentage of the ads will be for special offers which will be available direct from the Amazon website.
In some respects you would have to ask why Amazon haven’t done this before now. It’s the ideal advertising platform for practically any product on sale on Amazon’s website.
Apart from the obvious fact that anyone who has a Kindle is going to be in the target demographic for Kindle books and any personal electronic device, Amazon are adept at tailoring personalised offers to consumers based upon both their browsing and buying history. Targeted adverts, and the ability to make a purchase at the press of a button, make advertising on the Kindle a very lucrative proposition for Amazon.
It’s an advantage which Amazon enjoys in the e-book reader market – and one which is out of the reach of many of their competitors. However, it’s debatable as to whether or not a discount of just $ 25 is an accurate reflection of the true worth of Kindle advertising to Amazon. Some industry watchers are already speculating that we could very well see a free Kindle reader in the near future. If the “Kindle with Special Offers” proves to be a success, then a free Kindle, possibly with some strings attached – such as a minimum number of Kindle book purchases per annum – may not only be a possibility, but might be here faster than you think.
And, as exciting as the opportunity to get a free Kindle reader may be, the success of Amazon’s sponsorship efforts has even more wide reaching implications. The prospect that Amazon will release their own tablet computer has moved beyond the realms of speculation and rumor to an event that seems to carry an air of inevitability about it. ZDNet’s James Kendrick is on record as saying that “Amazon would be remiss in not producing its own tablet.”
By closely coupling a new tablet computer with the Amazon web-store, Amazon would be able to set the selling price at a considerably lower level than their competition. It could be another big winner for Amazon