Why I'm choosing the Kindle with Special Offers

Gripe all you want about Amazon's decision to incorporate advertising, but for me it's a simple question of dollars and sense.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
So I get to save $20 in exchange for teeny little ads like the one at the bottom of the screen? OK, deal!
So I get to save $20 in exchange for teeny little ads like the one at the bottom of the screen? OK, deal! James Martin/CNET

There was quite the hullabaloo last week regarding Amazon's new Kindles.

Turns out that the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD tablets were all "Special Offers" models, meaning they'd display ads on their lock screens and main home screens.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos neglected to mention this when announcing the prices for all these Kindles, causing a minor uproar in the hours that followed -- especially when Amazon reps said there would be no way to opt out. Then, barely a day later, Bezos and Co. reversed course and gave Kindle Fire customers the option of paying $15 to opt out of Special Offers.

If you buy a Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, or Kindle Paperwhite 3G, the opt-out charge is $20.

Thanks, Amazon, but no thanks. Now and forever, I'll gladly accept a lower price on the hardware in exchange for ads, so long as those ads don't intrude on whatever content I'm consuming.

In fact, although it's practically heresy to say something positive about advertising, I like the Special Offers. Dirt-cheap deals on e-books? Discounts on music? Coupons for clothes and other useful stuff? I fail to see the downside.

And the upside is that I'm saving $15 or $20 from the get-go -- money I can use to buy, say, a new best-seller or an entire season of "The Shield." Note to Apple: feel free to steal the Special Offers idea if it means I can get an iPad Mini for less than $350.

So, yeah, when I get around to ordering my Kindle Paperwhite, you can bet I'll be choosing the $119 Special Offers version, not the $139 ad-free model. Advertising may be the scourge of television, but on my tablet or e-reader, I'm fine with it.

Agree? Disagree? I know you've got an opinion on this. Spill your guts in the comments.

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