New ad-supported Kindle: lame name, but good idea
Amazon today announced a new Kindle version -- one that will save you a few bucks if you don't mind being sharing screens of Jane Austen with ads and sponsored screensavers. The Kindle with Special Offers costs $114, compared to the regular price of $139 Kindle, or $189 for 3G.
My take? First, the name is lame. Sounds like the marketing department wanted something so politically correct that it couldn't be accused of disguising the new version's intent: to generate revenue for Amazon and for advertisers. But KwSO? Ugh.
And as for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' statement: “We’re working hard to make sure that anyone who wants a Kindle can afford one.” Hey, we're all adults here. You can just say that you're trying to find new revenue streams for the Kindle. After all, the New York Times, and every newspaper in the world, is also trying to find new ways to monetize digital content.
Still, I bet plenty of folks will buy the ad-supported Kindle, and be willing endure ads such as those offered as samples: $10 for a $20 Amazon gift card, or $6 for 6 audible books. Companies such as Groupon have made digital deals seem chic, a sort of insider's club. And everyone's used to seeing ads plastered all over websites. So what's wrong with a few more? (Actually, I'm amazed publishers haven't tried this with print books, but I don't want to give them ideas.)
The big battle will be for Amazon to keep the ads and other discreet and tasteful. Not as easy as it sounds, once big money is involved.