Kindles with “Special Offers” Explained

KIndle Paperwhite 4

There have been a lot of people asking about “Special Offers” over on the product page for the Kindle Paperwhite 4, so here’s an explanation about how Special Offers work and how to get rid of them.

All Kindle models (except the 4G LTE wireless versions) have the option to purchase a version with Special Offers or a version without Special Offers.

Basically, “Special Offers” is just a marketing term that Amazon made up to describe advertisements.

Kindles with Special Offers have advertisement on the lockscreen and on the homescreen.

The ads do not appear while reading in books, but every time you go to the homescreen there’s a banner ad at the bottom of the page, and every single time you turn off your Kindle there’s an advertisement on the sleep screen (mostly for romance books, it seems).

The way it works is you’re essentially paying $20 less for Kindles with these ads; the non-ad Kindles always cost $20 more, regardless of model.

To avoid the ads, you either have to pay $20 extra to get a Kindle without Special Offers, or if you already have an ad-supported model you can pay Amazon $20 to permanently remove the ads (or you can complain to customer support about them and they’ll sometimes remove them for free).

To remove the ads on a Kindle with Special Offers, simply go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page at Amazon, then select the Devices tab, then locate your Kindle model from the list and hit the Action button, and from there you can click the Edit link under the Special Offers section to unsubscribe by paying $20.

The most annoying thing about having a Kindle with Special Offers is it requires you to swipe the screen upon waking your Kindle before you can read, even if you spent $65 on Amazon’s premium leather cover with the so-called auto-wake feature.

I find this the single most annoying thing about Kindles, far more annoying than the ads themselves—it’s just a pointless swipe screen that forces you to stare at an ad for 5 seconds before the Kindle turns on.

Personally, I think Kindles with Special Offers need to be discontinued, but it’s something that Amazon has been doing since 2011 so they’re unlikely to quit anytime soon. It would be better if they just had the option to turn on and off lockscreen recommendations in settings instead of forcing ads on every Kindle owner that doesn’t realize they need to spend $20 more for a version without Special Offers.

16 Responses to “Kindles with “Special Offers” Explained”

  1. I noticed that with my new Oasis, the backlight stays on when it is showing these ads at night. I really didn’t think it would bother me, but my battery is draining faster than I thought it would. One time I put down the kindle to look at my wife’s tire. Ended up bringing her car to Tires Plus. She came and picked me up right after. All in all, was gone about an hour. Didn’t think much of it, but when I got back to my Oasis, the light was on still and a book was being advertised. Since it hasn’t happened since, it was probably just a bug. But, I wonder if I had come back the next day to the Oasis if would have been dead.

  2. I wish Kindle without special offers allowed book cover as a screen saver.

    • Me too. Why can they put a book cover on the lockscreen for an ad but not for the book currently being read?

      • Of course they could; Amazon just prefers to push content relentlessly. They are surely aware that many readers would like the option to display covers of current reads on their Kindles, but having this option would prompt many readers to remove special offers.
        I “question” that Amazon loses money without special offers at the price Amazon offers Kindles.
        Even without covers I find the extra screen swipe annoying-and remove special offers.

  3. I would also like them to used your currently reading book cover as the sleep screen/lock screen/screen saver. That file is already there. Kobo had always done it.

  4. I’ve had Kindles since they first came out. Once they started the Special Offers ad in 2011, all I did was call customer support and complained that the advertising was interfering with my reading experience and each time they did remove the ad.

  5. I’d like the default “wake-up” screen would show the owner’s info so it can be easily returned. It would be user controlled so you can limit what info you want to show!

  6. I’d like to be able to put my contact info on the initial screen that comes up!

    • Best suggestion yet on this topic:

      “This Kindle eReader belongs to:
      Mr A. Bee
      123 Any Street
      07890123 4567”

      • Good idea! I’m absent minded and having my contact details as the screen saver would be useful if I forgot my Kindle somewhere.

  7. I am used to the ads by now, but I agree with all comments here.

    When they were first releasing e-readers, people argued they were selling their devices so cheap because they wanted their profit to be in the content purchased, so the ad thing made a little more sense. Now, though, their devices are no longer the cheapest options on the market and that argument can’t be debated as reasonably.

    I don’t bother removing the ads because there is still a generic, uncontrolled image on the wake-up screen. I would definitely pay the 20.00 if I could customize my screen. Little things like that make big differences to me. It’s the only reason I’ve been tempted to jailbreak, but I’ve held off since I have newer devices I keep updating and don’t want to risk it.

  8. This morning, I nicely asked an Amazon customer service rep if she could remove the special offers from my Paperwhite for no charge, and she did it!!

  9. Hi,

    I contacted the support via the Amazon site and said I want to remove the Ads from my Kindle Paperwhite.

    They said usually this cost 20 $ but they removed them for free.

    Colleague of mine tried it as well and they removed the ads for free.

    You can try 🙂

  10. I have run into the kind of problem I hate. When I go to Amazon and select action beside my Kindle, there is no option to edit special offers. Every help page says to go there to turn this off but of course mine does not show this option. Irritating.