After weeks of rumours about cut-price or even free Kindles, Amazon has confirmed that US customers will be able to save $25 on the price of Kindle in return for being subjected to adverts.
By most people standards, $25 is a pretty small sum – if you’re having to offer such a measly discount to sell units are the customers you’re going to attract really the types to pay out for beauty products and cars?
I might be missing something but I don’t see much sell-across potential for customers who are that price sensitive.
Sure, I can see that a FREE Kindle supported by ads might be tempting to some but are there really legions of people out there who have $114 put aside for their Kindle but can’t or won’t save up the last $25 to avoid being bombarded with ads?
We’ll probably never know how well the ad-supported Kindle sells given Amazon doesn’t provide unit sales figures for the Kindle so I trust they’ll excuse the cynicism of anyone not optimistic about its success.
There’s also a potential danger for Amazon here.
A lot of people don’t like adverts, if their first experience of a Kindle is one adorned with ads they may not hang around long enough to find out that a mere $25 extra could spare them a lecture on the anti-ageing powers of some new wonder product.
By coincidence the subject of ad-supported books came up at The London Book Fair which got underway on Monday. eBook distributor 24symbols thinks its “freemium model” of “free-of-charge, ad-supported books” might be just the thing to push greater numbers of ebooks onto the screens of book lovers.
The firm’s David Sánchez says “the free concept is so powerful that we are sure users will accept selected non-intrusive ads.”
I look forward to seeing what they have in mind but I don’t see how any ad in a book can be non-intrusive – when I’m reading I just want to get on with the story. I don’t want to have to skip past a mid-page advert or turn the page between at key point of the story only to be confronted with an advert for a two week break in the Med.
Plus, in an ad-supported market aren’t we moving even further away from true portability and a sense of ownership of digital books?