Taking the lead from Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), Kobo is now selling a $99.99 Kobo Touch with Offers, $30 off the regular price.
The ad-supported Kobo Touch is supposed to start shipping in two to three weeks. Like the Kindle with Special Offers, the Kobo Touch with Offers includes “sponsored screens and valuable offers when your device is powered off or in sleep mode, and in other discreet places that are always outside of the reading experience, like on the bottom of your home screen.”
The Kobo Touch with Offers is only available in the U.S. and only for the black version of the device.
Kindle with Special Offers users can pay to turn the ads off, but it doesn’t appear that Kobo Touch with Offers users will have that option.
Last week, at the launch of the Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) also dropped the price of the Nook Simple Touch to $99 from $139, with “no annoying ads.” At that time, B&N president of digital products Jamie Iannone suggested it would be embarrassing to give an ad-supported e-reader as a holiday gift: “Do you really want to have to make the decision to spend the extra $40 on your friend or give them an ad-supported product?”
Having used the $79 Kindle with Special Offers for a few weeks now, though, I have to say I find the ads pretty unobtrusive, and many users on the Kindle Boards like them and actually use them. “I would rather have the ads then screen savers of some old authors,” writes one, while another says, “You really should read the ads. The last time I checked — about a month ago — my kindle with ads had saved me about $500. Groceries saved $200 in one order. Books for $1. Camping equipment. Back to school supplies, household items, backpacks… ALL things I needed to buy anyway.”
Of course, many of the ads on the Kindle with Special Offers are for other products offered by Amazon, whereas Kobo only sells books. It is unclear what types of ads Kobo will run.