Amazon.com has released a new, cheaper version of its Kindle e-reader, but it comes with a catch: The devices display special offers and sponsored screensavers from a variety of companies that now include payment card network Visa, car brand Buick and Proctor & Gamble’s Olay line of skin care products.
The new Kindles cost $114, lower than the $139 for the basic model without special offers, and $189 for the model with 3G wireless capability that enables consumers to download books through mobile phone networks. Amazon is accepting early orders for the new device, called Kindle with Special Offers, and says it expects to ship the device starting May 3. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
“The opportunity to offer custom-designed Kindle screensavers was a natural fit for Buick because Kindle is such a unique device surrounded by a community of intelligent, passionate people,” says Craig Bierley, director of advertising and promotions for Buick.
Consumers with the new Kindle will receive special offers on the devices. Such offers could include half off an Amazon gift card and discounts on other products sold via Amazon, including books and music.
Amazon says it will allow owners of the new Kindles to set preferences, via a section of the Amazon e-commerce site, that determine the screensavers readers want to see on the devices. For instance, a consumer might prefer humorous images or pictures with a nature theme. Amazon says it will also allow owners of the devices to preview sponsored screensavers, with votes helping to determine which screensavers Amazon will display.