I finally bit the bullet and bought an Amazon Kindle, even though I didn’t particularly want one. I know that sounds odd, especially for someone who advocates saving money as much as I do. But that is the exact reason I bought the Amazon Kindle – buying the Kindle actually saved me more money than the cost of the Kindle, making it essentially free!
Amazon Kindle with Special Offers
By now you’ve probably read or heard about the Amazon Kindle with Special Offers, the Amazon Kindle that sells for a $25 discount from the standard model, which is ad-free. I remember reading about it when it first came out and I thought it was an awful idea. The discount wasn’t enough for me – in my opinion, if Amazon wanted to place ads on their Kindle, they should give them away for free.
Fast forward a few months, and I bought the Amazon Kindle with Special offers. I know, it seems I’m not doing well here… I didn’t really want a Kindle, and I especially didn’t want the Kindle that has ads. But like I said, it was essentially free, so I couldn’t pass it up.
Free Amazon Kindle? No Way!
You’re right. I paid face value for the Kindle – $114, plus tax at a local Wal-Mart (I would have purchased it online, but time was of the essence).
So how was it free?
I was under the impression that Amazon created the Kindle with Special Offers as a means to place 3rd party ads and subsidize the discount. But Amazon also puts their own ads on there. In addition to heavily promoting the Amazon credit card, they also run deals at Amazon.com from time to time.
The deal that netted me a free Amazon Kindle. After living without a TV for the last 6 months, my wife and I decided it was time to buy a new one. When I research a major purchase I read a variety of professional and independent reviews, look at the item in person if possible, and compare prices. During this last step I found a thread at Slick Deals which lists Plasma HDTV prices and deals. This was the key.
The thread at Slick Deals listed an Amazon discount for 20% off an HDTV at Amazon (expired), but it was only available to owners of the Kindle with Special Offers, and it was only available for a few days (hence the need to buy the Kindle at Wal-Mart instead of directly from Amazon). Amazon was smart about it too – the Kindle had to be registered in the buyer’s name for the discount to work… the only way to take advantage of the deal was to own the Kindle with Special Offers.
Since I had already decided on which TV I would buy, simple math told me that I could buy the Kindle, get the discount on the TV, and still come out ahead by $40 in the end. At that point it was a no brainer – I was already prepared to spend the money, so the free Kindle was a bonus. Net result: TV + Kindle + date money. Not a bad deal!
Thoughts on the Kindle with Special Offers
I honestly didn’t think the Kindle with Special Offers was right for me. I was planning on waiting for the eReader market to mature a little more because I don’t like paying the early adopter’s tax and I didn’t like the idea of ads on the eReader. But the net effect of getting it for free plus saving a few bucks made it right for me in the end. Additionally, the ads only show when you are on the home page (menu) or when it it turned off; they don’t otherwise interfere with your reading experience. So it isn’t that bad, and it’s a nice way to save $25 if you don’t mind the ads – and if you’re lucky, you might even be able to save a lot more!