What to Buy: Amazon Kindle WiFi vs Kindle w/ Special Offers

There are more options than there used to be when thinking about which Kindle it is that would suit you the best.  You can go with anything from the $379 Kindle DX to the $114 Kindle with Special Offers and you are certain to get the best value for your money, but that doesn’t really help much with the decision.  Since the ad supported Kindle is the newest and most easily misunderstood of the line, let’s look at that one a little closer.

The best comparison is between the new Kindle and the older Kindle WiFi.  Mostly this is because they are exactly the same thing.  This is probably already common knowledge, but it’s worth reiterating.  The Kindle with Special Offers is just a Kindle WiFi with advertisements thrown into a couple places that have nothing to do with the reading experience. You will even eventually get a chance to choose ahead of time what you find least objectionable in an ad using the soon to be released AdMash service from Amazon.

Now, plenty of people have been offended by this concept.  A lot of the objections have centered on the popular opinion that advertising has no place around books.  It’s a little bit difficult to understand this point, given that most paperbacks will already have lists of other books by the publisher or even preview chapters for future books in the last few pages, but it’s a point that gets brought up a lot.  To me, this is a lot like getting upset that the local Borders has up banners advertising an upcoming sale.  If the ads don’t actually show up while you read, you’re not too likely to notice them.  Even the ones that are there while browsing your library are small and unobtrusive to the point of being almost unnoticed.

The other big objection that comes up time after time is to the fact that you have to pay for the device at all. After all, if Amazon is making money off of selling ad space then why should you have to pay for the hardware in the first place?  This one is a bit more understandable, but it’s a bit premature.  I could definitely see the Kindle becoming a completely free device in the future based on the sales of ads, but it is still an unproven money-maker for Amazon and it just wouldn’t make sense to give anything away yet.  As it is, you get a chance at some cool coupons, you save $25, and you aren’t stuck looking at an endless procession of author portraits.  Honestly, it can’t really be more annoying than most of those, anyway.

As always, no matter which option you go with you’ll be getting a great reading experience.  It’s just a matter of the little details relating to the shopping and shelf-browsing that will be different.  My personal take is that you can’t really go wrong getting the Kindle with Special Offers because there’s never a reason to complain about saving $25 and you’ll miss the majority of the ads anyway just by closing your case.  It’s all a matter of where you choose to place your priorities.

2 thoughts on “What to Buy: Amazon Kindle WiFi vs Kindle w/ Special Offers”

  1. I honestly wonder, what would be the consequences IF Amazon would offer a Kindle with Ads for free. I would probably “buy” 1 or 10… Hope they could cope with the demand. Even if they would sell it for about $49, I guess it could have a really bad impact on the whole e-reader business. So at the moment, even if would be possible at all, this wouldn’t do any good – not even to Amazon itself.

  2. I have an original DX and would welcome some new screen savers and the elimination of some of the “Ugly” ones. (Emily Dickinson for example!) And yes, I know their are ways to hack the screen savers but I really have no interest in doing this.

    In the future, if there was an option to opt into getting ads on my DX I wouldn’t mind. Especially if it continued to subsidize the cost of the 3G connection that I enjoy.

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