Amazon is offering a cheaper version of its Kindle e-book reader subsidized with ads. Aghast book lovers may be comforted to know the new ads will not interrupt the reading experience, and Amazon appears to be taking steps to safeguard the quality of the ad experience.
The product is named Kindle with Special Offers and retails for $114 – $25 off the list price for the standard Kindle product. Ads take two forms. The highest impact is a “sponsored screensavers” display, the first of which will be offered by Buick, Olay, Visa, and Amazon.com Reward Visa Card from Chase. The second ad type displays on the bottom of the home screen.
Craig Bierley, Buick’s director of advertising and promotions, praised the device’s ad potential in a statement. “Kindle’s high contrast e-ink display eliminates glare and is perfect for emotionally engaging and impactful brand imagery,” he said.
To enhance ad quality, Amazon is soliciting user feedback on individual ads via a Kindle app called AdMash. Kindle customers who have installed the free app will preview pairs of sponsored screensaver ads, and the one with the most votes will go live to a wider audience of kindle owners.
Users can also set preferences for the screensaver ads, for instance requesting more travel, architecture, or landscape images.
“Together, AdMash voting and Kindle Screensaver Preferences help us select the most attractive and engaging sponsored screensavers to display on your Kindle,” Amazon said.
Kindle with Special Offers is available for pre-order in the U.S. and will ship on May 3.
No stranger to digital media sales, Amazon appears poised to become a larger player in interactive advertising. The company has lately begun advertising a number of advertising related posts, as observed by Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Group.
In a recent job posting it noted, “Third party advertising on Amazon’s retail websites is one of the company’s fastest growing and most profitable businesses, and Amazon itself is making significant investments in display advertising across the web.”