Should Amazon Discontinue Special Offers Kindles with Ads?


One of the most annoying things about Kindles is the fact that Amazon insists on placing advertisements on the homescreen and on the lockscreen.

You can pay an extra $20 to get rid of the ads so it’s not really a big deal, but the fact that Kindles come with advertisements at all is kind of absurd when you think about it.

Could you imagine if you had to manually close an ad window every time you turned on your computer before you could use it, or your car?

At the very least Amazon should stop putting advertisements on their more expensive models. It’s absolutely ridiculous to sell the 3G Kindle Oasis for $360 with ads.

Selling a super cheap Fire tablet for $49 with lockscreen ads is one thing, but including ads on a $200-$360 Kindle just seems needlessly greedy.

The most annoying thing about the lockscreen ads is the fact that it forces you to swipe the screen to turn the Kindle on.

It’s a two step process. You have to hit the power button, then swipe the screen. It’s pointlessly redundant. I can see how lockscreens on tablets and phones can be useful (I always turn them off) but on ereaders the concept doesn’t make sense. Other ereaders don’t make you swipe the screen to turn them on.

Luckily there is a workaround, but it takes more time to power down. If you hold the power button for 6 seconds to turn off the Kindle, it goes to a blank screen instead of an ad, and then when you hit the power button it takes you straight back to reading, no pointless swiping action or ad viewing required.

No other ebook readers come with ads. Only Kindles. Kobo tried to copy the idea briefly with an ad-supported Kobo Touch but it didn’t last long. The whole thing started back in April of 2011 when Amazon released a Kindle 3 with Special Offers for $114.

It gives Kindles an unfair advantage when comparing with other brands because most people see the lower price and think the Kindle is cheaper but in reality it costs $20 more to remove the ads so that has to be added to the equation. Like right now the Kindle Paperwhite is on sale for $99 and that sounds better than it really is because it’s actually $119 if you don’t want ads, but many people probably don’t realize what “Special Offers” means until they start getting annoyed by the advertisements every time they want to read.

When other companies like Kobo and B&N put their ereaders on sale for $99, that’s a legitimate $99 price. But Amazon gets away with faking it all the time because they never put the Paperwhite on sale for $79.

It would be better if they just had the option to turn on and off lockscreen recommendations. Make it feature, not something that you have to pay $20 to remove.

21 Responses to “Should Amazon Discontinue Special Offers Kindles with Ads?”

  1. I actually like the special offers. I prefer watching a different image every time I turn on the Kindle, instead of the 4 or 5 pre installed screensavers. Besides, living outside the USA, I can just contact Amazon and ask them to remove the special offers for free.

  2. Definitely agree ads should not be on the higher end kindles.

    My question would be…how much world the over all prices have to go up if they did simply removes all the ads on all devices? $5? $10? Definitely not $20?

  3. Well Amazon does give you a choice, either get the ads or pay more for what the device is really worth. The ads have never bothered me… I just ignore them.

  4. I like the special offers and it’s no big deal to skip over them. What is irritation is the Fire special offers. When you enter your password they disappear and you hove to scroll through the special offers page to find them.

  5. That alone is the main reason I do not own a Kindle. Having to pay to not have Ad’s I find offensive.
    I migrated from Sony to KOBO

    • The bad thing about Kobo is that you cannot transfer and send book notes, highlights and annotations to your PC or Mac making Kobo eReaders practically useless in my opinion.
      So while i prefer the hardware, larger size and options Kobo gives me, I never use it which is frustratingly sad.

      A good topic would be that with all the customizations and features Kobo gives you, why is it that they left out this most crucial feature? Why is it that after many years, they haven’t implemented a send to PC option from the device itself?

  6. I do not mind the ads. They are done very aesthetically and I like looking at them.

    It used to cost $15 to get rid of them, now $20. Huzpa! I wouldn’t pay $5 to get rid of them. I have bought a book via the offers only once in 5 years since my first Kindle Fire. I would suggest that Amazon offer to delete them from Kindles if the owner buys a certain amount of books a year.

  7. On the Fire tablets it isn’t an issue; it is a one step process and there are no ads once you unlock the tablet.

    On the Kind e-readers it’s annoying – first you need to go through a two step process to start the device but Amazon also takes space when using the device by placing a banner at the bottom when navigating collections; what makes it worse is that this is on a 6 inch device where space is tight.

  8. People get exactly what is advertised, so I am OK with the ads. I read what is advertised before buying something, so I don’t feel betrayed or be tricked into something …

  9. I agree that the ads should not be on higher end kindles. That said, they do not bother me. I have gotten so used to seeing them that I have been able to effectively block them out. I could not tell you what the last ad was that I noticed. When I sit to read, I am focused on reading and the ad is ignored. I have not paid to have them removed for that reason. Wasted money for me.

  10. Amazon ads are annoying, especially on more expensive models but not as annoying as not including an AC adapter. I mean how is it that a $50 Fire Tablet includes an adapter but not a $360 Oasis? Absurd!!!

    Also annoying is not being able to have the current book cover in sleep mode as a wallpaper, like Kobo.

    You pay $20 to remove ads just to get garbage wallpapers that Amazon force feeds you. Ridiculous!!!

    • That is absurd. They want people to pay $20 for an adapter when it comes free with Fire tablets. I also like the book covers on Kobo’s when the device is off. I have it set to full screen. It’s much better than ads and generic wallpapers. It makes it more book-like.

      • I agree with Extragooey — I have so many adapters that I don’t want to pay extra for an adapter.

        Also, the adapters on the Fire are not “free” — Amazon almost certainly charges more for the Fire than it would if the adapter was not included.

        • Sure I have a million adapters too but it’s the concept that Amazon doesn’t include it in any eReaders let alone a $360 kindle oasis while it includes it in a $50 kindle fire. You’re missing the point.
          You’re Logic would mean that the $50 fire tablet would cost $30 without the adapter? I don’t buy that. Amazon just has their priorities all mixed up.

          • No, I suspect that it would be $45 without the adapter because Amazon can “get away” with charging more for something sold separately.

            I suspect Amazon only includes the adapter with the Fire because it uses more power than the e-ink Kindles. (I also wish Amazon would cut $5 off the price of a Fire and not include the adapter.)

    • I can do without the AC adapter. I have like about a billion chargers from all the gadgets I have. I don’t need another.

  11. It’s kind of cool to have an e-reader that can show the cover of the book when it is in sleep mode. One thing I really like about my Sony PRS-T1.

    That being said I own a Basic Kindle, paid $50 for it, and the special ads is not an issue. I like the option in keeping the price down to $50.

  12. 90% of the ads on the Kindle lockscreen are for trashy romance novels, it seems, which is pretty entertaining. There’s no attempt to target at all, which is odd for a company like Amazon. The ads on the homescreen do seem targeted.

  13. Absolutely the ads should go. I HATE ad and have paid extra for them not to be there.

  14. I don’t mind the ads. I just wish they would get rid of having to swipe every time to get to your book. That is is main reason I always opt out of ads.