Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Special Offers?"

I recently learned that popular online retailer Amazon sells a version of their kindle e-reader, quote, "with special offers." Basically, what this means is for $20 cheaper, you can get a kindle with ads in it.

I am of the opinion that you can either put adverts in something or you can charge money for it, but never both (unless the money charged is clearly less than the actual value). Whether or not putting up with ads is worth USD $20 is up to you, but I suppose this qualifies as not an abuse of advertising privileges, since the ad-supported one is genuinely cheaper.

That said, referring to ads as "special offers" is a flagrant mutilation of the English language that should be punishable by three months in a prison referred to as an "enlightenment facility." It's a common euphemism that seems to be part of marketer-speak along with referring to companies as "brands," but it drives me several varieties of nuts, including, but not limited to, macadamia, wal, and almond.

Curiously, the cheaper version of the kindle with, *cough*, "special offers," is only available on the American version of Amazon. On and, they only have the regular ad-free kindle at $139 and £109 respectively. Apparently, America is the only country that tolerates that sort of shit. However, the British do tolerate higher prices, as their kindle costs the equivalent of CAD $178.

Also curiously, in the splash page for the kindle on American Amazon, the kindle in the picture is displaying a page from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, while in the splash page on Canadian Amazon, the picture shows Above All Things by Tanis Rideout, and in British Amazon, the picture shows The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. My best guess was that they tried to customise each splash page with an author from that country but they had never heard of any American writers.

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