Amazon Kindle Paperwhite owners normally take to social media to celebrate their new purchase, but now customers in the UK are up in arms over new devices purchased from Waterstones. The company has put up a simple advertisement promoting itself via a firmware update that cannot be negated.
In the USA, you can purchase a Kindle Paperwhite with Special Offers or without them. If you pay the additional fee, you are not served advertisements when your device is in standby mode or on the main screen. If you elect to save $30.00, you can purchase a model that will display these adverts. The Waterstones version does not really give customers the ability to opt in or out of the Special Offers program.
Customers are venting their frustration on the main Waterstones website. One person mentioned, “I really enjoyed reading on it, but after a few days a software update was applied. This replaced the beautiful artwork the device displays when in sleep mode with some ugly advert for Waterstones. I hate it.” Another user chimed in and said, “Really a shame to force a Waterstones screensaver on a device that is supposed to be ad free. Whatever they may call this it is still advertising. I will be returning mine and ordering from Amazon.”
Waterstones sent an email to customers that said: “It is our view that this screensaver does not constitute advertising and differs substantially to the advertising-supported Kindles available to the US market. The Waterstones screensaver is a non-dynamic, static image that will change infrequently and not advertise any specific product, offer, or website. It is not possible to remove the Waterstones screensaver to replace it with the former Amazon screensaver.” Waterstones added: “We apologize that this change was made without consultation, and hope it does not detract from or alter your reading experience.”
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.