Will readers accept ads in exchange for a cheaper Kindle?

Amazon's new Kindle with Special Offers costs $25 less but also exposes readers to advertising.

Amazon is hoping that readers won't mind a few ads on their Kindles in exchange for a lower price.

Would you put up with ads on your digital device if it meant it a lower price tag?

With its new Kindle with Special Offers, Amazon is betting you will. Amazon announced yesterday the upcoming release of its newest Kindle, an ad-supported e-reader that, at $114, is $25 less than the standard $139.

Amazon has kept lowering the price of the Kindle since it released the first version at $399 in 2007. This is the first price reduction that includes ads on the e-reader.

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“We’re working hard to make sure that anyone who wants a Kindle can afford one,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, in a statement.

Amazon is also working hard to compete with the juggernaut of eye-catching iPad ads and increasing competition from other e-readers and computer tablets.

At 60 percent of the e-book market, Amazon still dominates the field, but the iPad, with all its bells and whistles, threatens to displace the e-reader king, and Amazon is pushing hard to retain its top spot. It thinks the ad-supported Kindle is the answer.

The ads would appear on the device’s screensaver and the bottom of the home screen; ads would not appear within e-books themselves.

“It’s very important that we didn’t interfere with the reading experience,” said Kindle director Jay Marine, in an interview with the Associated Press.

The first series of Kindle screensavers will be sponsored by General Motor’s Buick, Proctor & Gamble’s Olay, Visa, and the Amazon.com Reward Visa Card. The new Kindle ads will also offer a number of deals including $10 for a $20 Amazon.com gift card, a free $100 Amazon.com gift card when you sign up for a Amazon Rewards Visa Card, and $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 store.

Other than the addition of the ads, the newest Kindle will be identical to the current one. That means features include Wi-Fi to wirelessly download books, grayscale electronic ink, a 3-week battery, and space to store 3,500 books.

Amazon will start shipping the newest Kindle reader on May 3. It will also be sold in Target and Best Buy stores on that date.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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