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It’s an Ad Ad Ad World

June 5, 2011

Kindles with Special Offers

I am not against advertising per se, I’m really not. Magazine ads, TV commercials, radio ads, they have all helped pay the bills for many years. Sometimes they’re entertaining, sometimes informative, often annoying or obnoxious. Nothing new here. What concerns me is ad creep, the insidious way they have of infesting every corner of our lives. I remember when cable channels first started showing their logos in a corner of the screen. They were tastefully done, and in the beginning only faded in and out periodically, maybe every ten minutes. Now they are splashed everywhere, nearly all the time, and many of them are unabashed ads that scrawl across the bottom of the screen, distracting as can be. It’s so bad that I don’t watch any live broadcasts anymore (except for sports); I watch TV shows exclusively on DVD; no commercials, no annoying logos.

Oh, that’s right, this is supposed to be about the Kindle. The positive reviews of the Kindle with Special Offers usually make the following points:

1. The ads are tastefully done; some of the artwork is quite nice, better than the screensavers on the regular Kindle. Fair enough, but that’s exactly how things started with channel logos on television, and look where we are now. I’m glad the ads are handled nicely and do not appear while reading a book, but will it always be so? Slippery slope and all that. Time will tell.

2. They’re not just ads, but special offers, and many of them are quite worthwhile. Okay, I can’t argue with that per se, but I’m not sure I want to be inundated with offers of any kind on my e-reader (to me it’s almost like spam). But I can see that lots of people like the offers, so I can’t argue with that.

3. If you don’t like the special offers, you can just buy a regular Kindle, and everybody’s happy. I agree with this completely as long as all these choices remain. Again, I worry about how this may shake out over time. Right now, there are 5 Kindles: Kindle Wifi, with and without special offers; Kindle 3G, with and without special offers; and the Kindle DX. There are also pretty solid rumors of a Kindle tablet coming later this year. So my concern is whether Amazon will actually keep all of these in production; note that with their recent foray into Wal-Mart, only the Kindles with Special Offers are available there (to the best of my knowledge; my local Wal-Mart carries only the $114 Kindle).

Let me emphasize that I will be happy as long as I continue to have the option of a Kindle without Special Offers. If that option ever goes away, I will really be concerned about the road down which Amazon will be heading.

Some Favorite Covers

While I know many people enjoy their e-readers “naked,” I really like using mine in a cover, both for the added protection (e-ink screens can be a little fragile) and for the comfort they provide while reading (I realize this is a subjective thing). I have tried a lot of different covers for my devices but have settled on a few favorites: one for the Kobo; two that I switch between for the Kindle, and one for the Nook Color.

Monster Cover for Kobo:

Nice textured feel.

Left side can be folded back and under the Kobo, and the clasp then snapped.


Two covers for the Kindle: One a clasp style, the other a flip-stand style.

Very comfortable; Kindle held securely in place.

Comfortable in the hand; great also for hands-free reading.


 A  flip-stand cover for the Nook Color:

Sturdy and comfortable.

Book Recommendation: A Public-Domain SciFi Novel

Published in 1920, David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus is a fascinating read. Though the writing is at times awkward, the book is interesting and a good read. The action takes place mostly on the planet Tormance in the Arcturian system but is more fantasy and philosophical allegory than science fiction. I enjoyed it and hope you will too. Available for free at Manybooks,  Feedbooks,  Project Gutenberg, and Amazon.

News on the Kindle

I no longer watch televisions news and don’t have time to read full newspapers (digital or paper). But I do like receiving the New York Times Latest News on my Kindle. It is sent three or four times a day; each edition contains 12-15 articles, though there are some articles that are repeated for two or three editions. I find it to be just about the right amount of news to digest each day (the articles are not too long). Price is $1.99 per month; like all newspaper and magazine subscriptions, it has a 14-day free trial period.

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