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The Price of a Free Kindle

Posted by susabelle at 5:04 PM on December 31, 2011

When we moved from Missouri to Colorado, it meant we had to find a new bank, new utility providers, the whole kit ‘n k’boodle.  I chose a bank by seeing which one was closest to the house.  A bank is a bank is a bank, in my experience.

So it turns out this bank (FirstBank) gives free gifts to customers who use direct deposit and a debit card.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use these two things, and after three months and three direct deposits, I got an email from the bank informing me that I qualified for a free gift.  The gifts were things like an iPod touch, a Kindle, electric coffee mugs, and ski lift tickets.  I decided to go with the Kindle, since I had had to give up my Kindle DX when I left my job in Missouri.

I got it in the mail, unboxed it, plugged it in to charge…and immediately saw an ad for the Twilight books on my Kindle.  Dismayed is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings about this.  Yes, I realize I didn’t pay anything for this Kindle, but couldn’t they have given me one without ads?  I get to see ads instead of the usual screen savers, and there are ads at the bottom of my menu.  The ads disappear when I’m reading, so far, but how long will it be before a software update gives me ads in the middle of the book I’m reading?  Right now the thing is sitting here giving me a T-Mobile ad because I set it down for ten minutes.  Later, there will be another ad, and generally, the ads aren’t even for things I would buy or be interested in.

I’m annoyed.  I suppose if I’d have been buying the Kindle, I’d have to chosen the non-ad-supported one.  But in this case, I didn’t have any choice, so therefore I have no way of turning off the ads.  I guess I’m stuck with them for the life of the device.

I understand it.  I really do.  Companies need to make money, especially in this economy.  But really, ads on my Kindle, which my bank did pay for, after all?  Really?

How utterly rude.  Can’t they make enough off the books I’m buying, and all the other stuff I manage to buy through Amazon in general, to provide a paid-for device that is not laden with ads?