Amazon has a new ad for the Kindle that pokes fun at the iPad for being hard to read in direct sunlight, and for being quite expensive. Amusingly, the comments sections of the various blogs I’ve seen covering this ad (for example: Gizmodo, CNet)  invariably turn into advocacy arguments between defensive iPad owners and smug Kindle owners.

It’s interesting to note how the advertisement stacks the deck against the iPad, too. The iPad is being used by a man who seems like kind of a slob, while the Kindle is being used by an attractive woman in a bikini. (How is the guy still trying to read in any event if someone who looks like that is lying next to him?)

Of course, her appearance is kind of spoiled when she opens her mouth and turns out to be insufferably smug. Personally, I can’t say that kind of attitude in one of its users really makes me inclined to want a Kindle.

And in any event, it doesn’t have to be an either-or dichotomy. Someone could own both an iPad for reading inside and a Kindle for reading outside—and Whispersync makes it possible to pick up on the one right where you left off on the other.


  1. Chirs,
    re —– “Someone could own both an iPad for reading inside and a Kindle for reading outside—and Whispersync makes it possible to pick up on the one right where you left off on the other.”

    Yes, that’s been the point for some time, driven home this time.

    Kindle users had to see months of columns showing tombstones for the Kindle, or giant ugly reptiles that it represented — in any event, the gist was always that it was an ugly, retro, dying breed “killed” by a much sexier, cooler do-it-all device.
    Can we see ‘smug’ in the other direction?

    One columnist said his Kindle friends were embarrased to even bring their Kindles out into the open when an iPad was around.

    Your reaction’s pretty strong to one ad that focuses on the fact that the Kindle, dedicated to reading, is really just more sensible for use in sunlight.

    The comparisons to the iPad and the stress on how uncool it is to get something so plain and drab “just” for reading have been endless. The Youtube’s complainers about the ad stress over and over again that the Kindle can’t show a video or surf the web or do color. No it can’t. But there’s one thing it does quite well.

    And now the price difference is definitely a factor for avid readers who can’t afford both. Those who want more and therefore have iPads already AND who would like to read more easily in the sunlight can afford both.

    It’s actually a co-existence ad 🙂

    Message: Not dead. And a good complement.

  2. My take on the ad is: “Finally, an ad that fights back!”.

    For months I’ve been subjected to post after post, editorial after editorial telling me that the K is dead, that it is ugly, that it isn’t in color, that it isn’t backlit, that it can only do one thing, that I’m stupid for wanting/owning/using one and on and on and on.

    The iPad is a tablet computer that has an available e-reader app. The Kindle is a dedicated e-reader. They are really very different devices, appealing to very different markets.

    Personally, I’m glad that iPad owners are happy. I just wish they’d stop telling me I’m not.

  3. 1- You’re ignoring the best line in the ad; “I paid more for the sunglasses”.
    2- The tablet the guy is reading isn’t called out by name and I don’t think it’s even an iPad.

    January is right about the articles, though; for the last six months every single publication and website (including this one) has had a steady stream of “Kindle is dead” and “muti-purpose is going to bury dedicated readers” articles. And follow-up debates, of course. (Links can be provide upon request. 😉 )

    All Amazon has done with this, their third(?) ad is to remind folks that sometimes, eink *is* the proper choice. And Kindle is *always* the cheaper reading tool. So far, all three ads seem to be targetting young, working females, and emphasizing *reading* rather than the tech.

  4. I have both a Kindle and an iPad. I read on both of them too—a lot. Both get very heavy use. I use the Kindle to read at home, and when at the gym or walking (using text to speech). I use the iPad to read while I am on breaks at work, as I take it with me to use on my job. Some days, I have both with me (I can be at work in ten minutes on the bus or 25 if I walk, so some days I will choose to walk and then I take the Kindle to listen when I walk. And then I use the iPad at work).

    I think ‘I actually paid more for the sunglasses’ is a very clever tagline. They could do a print ad based on that and it would be very effective.

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