I couldn't find conclusive information online on whether the new Kindle with Special Offers is a good deal for bargain hunters, so I decided to check it out as a guinea pig, with this on-going diary, partially because the main blog is available as a 99c monthly subscription on the Kindle (to make sure subscribers don't have any problems).
If you have already read this introduction, you can jump quickly to the latest updates section.
UPDATE: Amazon has launched a second Kindle w/Specials Offers, it is the Kindle SO w/3G and Wifi and just like the Wifi model, it sells for $25 less than the regular model ($164 vs $189). The same 3G vs no-3G trade-off applies with the SO models. If you are going to be at places without reliable and consistent Wifi and want to have updates as soon as possible, $50 for a device-lifetime of 3G delivery of Kindle e-purchases is a good deal. Especially if you subscribe to Kindle newspapers and blogs which have multiple updates per day.
If you hate advertisements with a passion, spare yourself the frustration, and avoid the Kindle with Special Offers. The initial $25 discount is not big enough for most people to justify it.
However, if you are a bargain hunter and regular Amazon shopper, the big question is whether the Kindle with Special Offers is a good deal because of the on-going special offers. The examples of special offers given by Amazon during the announcement were promising enough to trigger an investigation (see bottom of the post)!
This post will be updated diary-style, so be sure to bookmark it if you are interested! (permalink)
The offers originate on the Kindle. If you select the offer, you receive an email (to the email address you use to sign-in at Amazon.com) with the offer details and instructions, and then you follow the instructions. The offers are good for owners of the Kindle with Special Offers only and only if you select the offers through your Kindle!
So far, the Kindle is used only to request additional information for the promotion. You do not commit to the purchases via the Kindle. You receive an email to your computer email account with the details, and then, IF you like, you can take advantage of the promotion. If not, it will automatically expire on its expiration date with no cost to you...
I do not know if every Kindle SO user gets the same offers. This blog-post is only what I experience...
Latest update: June 18, 2011 at 11:47am EST - the $10 for $20 Gift Card promotion has returned! This is the first time a special is offered for a second round. I do not know if you can get it again if you already got this deal the first time. I had just missed it the first time it was offered, so I can't test it in this round.
Total Profits and Savings (if you participate in every competitive offer)
+ Profits: $16.18 maximum
+ Conditional Profit: $70 maximum
+ Savings: $245 maximum
+ Wildcard Savings: 20% off HDTVs (discount as large as $900), 25% off Endless.com
+ Profit in this context means you receive it as a balance on your account to spend on future purchases
+ Savings in this context means you get a discount on purchases you make in the present
Pay $10, get a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card (by email)
This was the first promotion that went live on the Kindle w/SO and it has now returned! I do not know if you can get it again if you already bought it the first time. I had just missed it during the first round, so I cannot guinea-pig it this time. I will have to wait for it when it returns for the 3rd time to test it. If anyone has tried this, please leave a comment or use the online contact form as this would make the Kindle SO an even better deal for bargain hunters.
+ click on the offer on the Kindle by June 21, 2011
+ redeem this offer by July 21, 2011
+ Profit: $10 (not added to the sum above)
Pay $10, get $30 to spend at the Amazon Swim shop
This is similar to the Denim special mentioned below. You pay $10, and you get a $30 credit at the Amazon Swim shop. Think of it as a $20 off discount on a purchase of $30 or more! For reference, here is the Swim Shop page where you can redeem this.
+ make a purchase by: July 17, 2011
+ Savings: $20
Get $50 off a purchase of $100+ in Strathwood furniture
This offer gets you a $50 off discount on a purchase of $100+ in Strathwood furniture.
+ make a purchase by: July 13, 2011
+ Savings: $50
25% off at Endless.com
You receive a coupon for 25% off at Endless.com, which is owned by Amazon. I am not familiar with the generally-available coupons at Endless, so I can't tell you whether this is a good deal or not.
+ Savings: unknown
20% off select HDTVs
You select this offer on the Kindle and shortly you receive an email to the email address associated with your Amazon.com account. The email includes a promotional code that gets you 20% off. Use the promo code before the expiration date or let it expire if not interested. There lots and lots of available HDTVs for this promotion from nine different brands including Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, LG, Samsung, Vizio, and Philips.
+ first saw this: June 2, 2011
+ click on the offer on the Kindle by June 5, 2011
+ make a purchase by July 9, 2011
+ Savings: 20% off the current HDTV price (prices range from $130 to $4500+ - and I haven't price-checked all HDTVs, some may be more expensive)
Buy $5 in Amazon Singles, get $5 in Amazon promotional gift card
You are essentially getting $5 worth of free Amazon Singles when it's all said and done. Because of the way they are priced, you will probably end up paying around 94c out of pocket because Singles are usually priced $0.99, $1.99, etc. Since you can't buy partial Singles, to spend the $5 minimum, you would need to spend $5.94.
+ first saw this: May 29, 2011
+ click on the offer on the Kindle by June 2, 2011
+ purchase $5 worth of Amazon Singles by June 15, 2011
+ you will receive a $5 Amazon promotional code by July 15, 2011
+ Savings: $5
50% lighted Kindle covers
You get 50% off the current price ($60) of the Kindle Lighted Cover (choice of seven colors). This is essentially a $30 discount
+ first saw this: May 25, 2011
+ click on the offer on the Kindle by May 28, 2011
+ make your purchase at Amazon.com by August 28, 2011
+ Savings $30 (50% off the current prices)
Six months of Audible AudibleListener Gold for $6
This promotion gets you a six month subscription to Audible AudioListener Gold. You get one free audiobook per month, so you get six audiobooks for a total of $6. The membership does NOT renew automatically. In fact it will expire on its own after the six months. If you are a fan of audiobooks, this is a great deal.
+ The promotion is good for new or existing Audible members (if you want to squeeze more out of this deal, you could sign up with a Audible free trial through Amazon (not the Kindle SO promotion), get the two free free-trial audiobooks, and then sign up for the Kindle SO offer)
+ first saw this: May 20, 2011
+ activate your subscription by June 24, 2011
+ Savings: $62 ($68 price of regular six month membership minus $6 you pay)
Apply for Chase Amazon VISA card, get a $100 bonus
It looks like this previously promised promotion has arrived! This is the big one because it can make the Kindle SO nearly free for many people. If you apply and get approved for the Amazon Chase Visa credit card, you will receive a $100 bonus to spend at Amazon. The regular bonus of this promotion when you get it through Amazon.com is usually $30 to $40, so it is a "profit" of $60 to 70! This is however a CONDITIONAL PROFIT - you have to be approved by Chase for their credit card. With the other offers, you are the decider. In this case, Chase is the decider.
+ first saw this: May 17, 2011
+ offer ends at the end of day on May 30, 2011
+ Conditional Profit: $60 to $70
50% off on a Roku player
+ 50% off from a choice of three Roku players priced (as of 5/14/11) at $70, $78 and $100. You receive an email stating that you will receive more details within 2 days. This is potentially a good deal since the Roku boxes rarely get discounted that much (maybe once every Black Friday)
+ first saw this: May 13, 2011
+ sign-up for the offer on the Kindle by May 18, 2011
+ complete the purchase by August 16, 2011
+ Savings: $35 to $50 depending on which Roku box you buy
+ Status: email received!
Pay $10, get $30 worth of purchases at Amazon Denim
+ This is essentially a $20 off discount of a purchase of $30+ at the Amazon Denim store. To maximize this deal, spend $30 or more.
+ You click on the "Email me this offer" on the Kindle, then receive an email to your email account (the one you use to sign-in to Amazon.com) telling you that you will receive the promo code within 7 business days. This "7 business days" thing is irritating. Why not have the deals go live right away? Grrrr....
+ first saw this: May 9, 2011
+ Sign-up for the offer by May 18, 2011
+ Complete the purchase with the code by June 12, 2011
+ Savings: $20 maximum
+ Status: email received!
Apply for Chase Amazon VISA card, get a $30 bonus
+ This is a major disappointment. The announcement day mentioned a $100 bonus. The $30 bonus is the same bonus you get if you apply for the card on your own. This is the first FAIL deal! I don't know if the bonus amount varies from person to person. The terms say only for new customers who don't already have the card. (I already have the Amazon Chase Visa card, so I don't know if this affects the offer I got). YMMV...
+ first saw this: May 9, 2011
+ Profit: ZERO since it is the same as the standard offer :(
+ Opinion: AVOID
eBook w/Visa, get $10 promotional credit
+ You make a Visa credit card your default Kindle 1-Click payment method,, buy an eBook from a selection of 48 ebooks, and receive a $10 Amazon promotional code by June 30, 2011. The lowest priced ebook is $3.82, so you could make a maximum $6.18 profit on this deal.
+ sign up for the offer between 4/27/11 to 5/21/11
+ Profit: $6.18 maximum
+ Status: $10 promotional code to be delivered by 6/30/11
mp3 album for $1
+ Buy an mp3 album for $1 from 1 million different mp3 albums. This promotion is a maximum $8 off discount. If you buy a $5 mp3-album, you pay $1. If you buy a $9 mp3-album, you pay $1. If you buy a $15 mp3-album, you pay $8 ($15 - $8 discount + $1). To max out, pick an album priced at $9 :)
+ You select the offer from the Kindle, then Amazon sends an email to your registered email account, which says that you will receive a promotional code for this offer within 7 business days from the day you requested it. One painful thing with this is that you have to browse the albums, you can't search the list of 1 million. Use the music categories on the left side to narrow it down. They are ordered by popularity, so if you are looking to buy new/recent music, it shouldn't be painful
+ make the purchase by August 8, 2011
+ Savings: $8 maximum
Pay $10, get a $20 Amazon.com gift card
+ It looks like this special expired on May 4, 2011, a day before I started this experiment, so I missed it. Bad timing! But those who did get it, had a $10 profit. I don't know if it will return at a later date
+ Profit: $10
+ Status: I missed it
Examples of offers mentioned in the Amazon announcement/press release
+ pay $10, get a $20 plastic Amazon.com gift card
+ pay $10, get $30 to spend at the Amazon Denim shop
+ apply and qualify for a Chase Amazon Visa credit card, and get a $100 bonus (the usual bonus is $30-$40)
+ 50% off on Roku box
+ six Audible audiobooks for $6 total