Amazon turns to ads to shave $15 off the price of Kindle Fire HD tablets

Amazon turns to ads to shave $15 off the price of Kindle Fire HD tablets

Summary: It's worth $15 to Amazon to be able to use the Kindle Fire HD to pipe "special offers and sponsored screensavers" - ads in other words - to owners. However, if you don't like them, you can remove them, for a price.


While Amazon was coy about mentioning it at last week's press event, the book giant has turned to adverts to shave a few dollars off the price of the Kindle Fire HD tablets.

The new Kindle Fire HD tablets will show ads in two different locations. Ads are displayed on the lock screen when the device is not in use, and more ads will be displayed in small text at the bottom of the home page.

The ads, which Amazon cleverly call "special offers and sponsored screensavers," will be used to pipe deals on digital content and consumer electronics to owners, as well as movie posters, music covers, and book covers for upcoming titles.

While most people are unlikely to find these ads intrusive, they will undoubtedly annoy some people. Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, is one of these people:

"I bought ad-supported Kindles for every member of the family last holidays and none of them were comfortable with it," writes Moorhead. "I didn’t think I would mind it but I did. The odd part is that my family members were annoyed that everyone else could see the ad and that it didn't feel personal".

Moorhead goes on to say that, "Amazon should at least give an option to pay to make the ads go away".

Fortunately for people who don't like these ads, Amazon does just that. The company has confirmed that owners will be able to opt out of these special offers by clicking a link in the "Manage Your Kindle" page and paying Amazon an extra $15. Also, ad-free versions of the Kindle Fire HD hardware will be made available shortly.

Kindle hardware incorporating "Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers" is only available in the U.S. Other territories will pay full price for the hardware.

Image source: Amazon.

Topics: Amazon, Android, Hardware, Tablets

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  • technomercials "sell a gadget with ads"

    It is like buying a new car and have to pay to remove stickers from it.
  • Cart before horse.

    You have this backwards. Amazon don't need the $15 to "subsidise" the Kindle. Amazon want the ads on there to encourage users to buy more content. So the $15 charge is just a mild inducement to keep the ads on your device. Amazon aren't interested in the $15, you have the cause and effect the wrong way around.
    • I think we all understand that....

      But why charge to remove the option?. $15 is not going to kill me, but it is the matter of principle!..there are other ways of attracting people to buy from Amazon!!!. I still think it is a very stupid idea.
      • Simpler

        They will probably not offer add-free models of the Fire in the US, since it would double the number of models. What is the difference between paying $314 for add-free or pay $299+$15 ?
      • Ahh

        That's "friction" it just makes you consider the decision - otherwise more people would just think "I don't want that" and switch it off. The $15 makes you consider the question.

        That's all it's for - they don't actually care about the $15.
  • Ads are essential to their business model, I get that.

    My problem is they're not offering the option to purchase any of their device without the ads from the start. It feels a little dirty asking consumers to pay $15 to remove it after you purchase the device. This is very different from how they sold the Kindles in the past, where I believed they offered a $25 discount on ad supported Kindle devices. Now Amazon is saying everyone's getting ads (yea!), and to remove it you need to pay us.
  • Apparently, all Amazon needs to do is personalize the ads

    Quoted in the article:
    "The odd part is that my family members were annoyed that everyone else could see the ad and that it didn't feel personal"

    P.S. I would pay an extra $15 U.S. upfront to get an ad-free Kindle.
    Rabid Howler Monkey