Buy Your Kindle At Waterstones? You're Now Locked Into One Screensaver... The Waterstones Logo

from the Waterstones-hopes-you-love-Waterstones-as-much-as-Waterstones-loves-Waterstones dept

There's no better way to treat your paying customers than by taking away some functionality. Most people would consider the previous statement to be completely full of shit, but when you look at it from the perspective of a proud bookstore chain that seemingly adores its own tasteful logo, it all begins to... Nope. It's not working. The thought process involved in the following debacle seems to have short circuited somewhere between the marketing team and the IT squad, resulting in this bit of branding stupidity.
Remember how Waterstones was going to sell the Kindle and take a sales commission on the hardware and any ebooks bought from that device? Apparently they decided that the subtle but positive relationship of simply making money off the Kindle wasn't good enough; now they've turned the Kindles they sell into billboards.

The Kindles sold by Waterstones got a firmware update in early November. This update wasn't rolled out to all the Kindles, and for good reason. According to a couple different users (this story has also been confirmed by Waterstones) the only change in the update was a new screensaver.

I have not yet seen it myself, but the Kindle owners are reporting that all the screensavers have been replaced by a Waterstones logo. Furthermore, there's no way to disable or replace that screensaver, so every time these Kindle owners pick up their device they will be reminded where they purchased it.
Advertising on the Kindle is nothing new. The ad-supported version is available at a discount if the buyer's willing to put up with being advertised at in exchange for a price break. But, as The Digital Reader points out, Waterstones-branded Kindles aren't discounted.

Instead, as thanks for purchasing a portable Amazon ecosystem from a brick-and-mortar, Waterstones' customers are now locked into a single screensaver that will constantly remind them who they need to contact for a full refund... which, unbelievably, Waterstones is actually offering.
Thank you for your email regarding your Kindle Paperwhite from Waterstones.

I am sorry you are disappointed by the addition of a Waterstones screensaver after the recent software update to Kindle. It is our view that this screensaver does not constitute advertising and differs substantially to the advertising-supported Kindles available to the US market. The Waterstones screensaver is a non-dynamic, static image that will change infrequently and not advertise any specific product, offer or website.

It is not possible to remove the Waterstones screensaver to replace it with the former Amazon screensaver. We apologise that this change was made without consultation, and hope it does not detract from or alter your reading experience. However, if you feel it does, please let us know and we will arrange for the return of the device and a full refund.

I am sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Yours sincerely,

**********
Customer Service Team
Waterstones.com
This should do some serious damage to what was already a rather sketchy hookup. Back in September, Waterstones' CEO James Daunt made the following ostensibly cheerful statement announcing its partnership with Amazon.
"There are substantial difficulties for us around working with our major competitor," Daunt said at the Independent Publishers Guild Digital Quarterly Meeting on Tuesday, according to The Bookseller. "But we think we have an agreement which protects some of the most significant bear traps that sit there, and there are some major upsides for us."
Notably, Daunt didn't say that the agreement protects Waterstones from "significant bear traps." Instead, his Freudian slippage states that the traps themselves will be unharmed, even if, as it appears, Waterstones has to trigger the traps on its own.

The deal was never advantageous, what with Waterstones making the most money when purchasers bought ebooks using its in-store wifi network. It's hard to believe this strategy of getting customers into the physical store in hopes that they'd spend part of the time shopping on their Kindles has paid off. Perhaps the always-on "W" is meant to remind customers where they purchased their Kindles and why not go have a look around the bookstore a bit then.

On the plus side, Waterstones customers were threatened with warned about promised some additional bonuses for their branded Kindles during this rollout announcement:
At yesterday's IPG event, Daunt revealed a few more details about Waterstones' Amazon partnership. "Waterstones-specific Kindle screensavers, bestseller lists and a Read For Free offer are among the plans," The Bookseller reports.
That's a pretty frickin' specific screensaver, Daunt. Shame it changes so "infrequently" as to be completely undetectable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    anon, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 5:56am

    hahaha

    I wonder how long before there is a simple hack that takes a few minutes to complete to change the screen-savers, I did it with my previous Kindle I do not see any reason I can't do it with the paperwhite in the near future.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:01am

      Re: hahaha

      I have no doubt that at best it voids your warranty. But you're also stealing and funding terrorists now, you evil hacker, so expect a pickup crew to arrive at your doorstep any minute, to take you to the nearest copylaw re-education center.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      anon, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:02am

      Re: hahaha

      Well that was rather quick, a simple search in google for "kindle paperwhite screensaver hacks" and the first result helps resolve this issue, here is the link (if i am allowed to link and it does not get deleted).

      http://www.howtogeek.com/125944/kindle-paperwhite-jailbroken-ready-for-custom-screensav ers/

       

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      •  
        icon
        Planespotter (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:30am

        Re: Re: hahaha

        From a comment on that post...

        Paperwhite Kindle owners beware. NONE of these are for the PW. All old links and useless for us.

         

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    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 3:13am

      Re: hahaha

      Or don't buy Kindle, don't buy overpriced e-books, get an Android device and be virtually immune to all this corporate ########. If Amazon, Sony, [insert company here] think they own my device and think they can remove content I bought or modify my equipment as they please then they can get their hardware and stick it in their arses.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Jardinero1, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:19am

    At least they don't have to look at a picture of Emily Dickinson.

     

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    •  
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      akp (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:28am

      Re:

      The "dead authors" screensavers have been gone for a while now. For the past few years, Kindle screensavers are more abstract mostly featuring pens, letter building blocks, books, etc.

       

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  •  
    icon
    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Three steps to protecting your stuff:
    -Pay in cash (and make it public when Apple refuses legal tender)

    -Don't register your product, stupid.

    -Jail break the device and pirate the content.

    It's the only way to keep things yours after purchase, customer.

     

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  •  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:25am

    Surely screensavers are a non issue? I mean, you don't buy a Kindle (or other device, for that matter) to look at a screen saver. You buy them to use and enjoy.

    Anyway, Waterstones are funny, they have had a few rants in the past about how the Internet is negatively affecting their business when, ironically, they put a lot of independent bookstores out of business when they came on the scene.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      "Surely screensavers are a non issue? I mean, you don't buy a Kindle (or other device, for that matter) to look at a screen saver. You buy them to use and enjoy."

      Considering Amazon discounts the Kindle if you purchase one that displays advertising on the screensaver, I would be willing to wager some money that there has been at least one study that has shown people notice the screensaver on these devices.

      More importantly, it would be nice to actually OWN something that I BOUGHT. Not that I would actually buy a Kindle, but if I did, I would like to be able to expect the functionality it had when I bought it would not be revoked by the company I purchased it from at some arbitrary time in the future.

      I bought a new car a few months ago. I would be more than a bit upset if the auto-maker stopped by my office and painted "Mini" on my driver's door.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re:

        Analogy fail. Amazon:Waterstones::Auto Maker:Dealership. Most cars are branded by the maker in manner that can't fail to be noticed. In addition to this many dealers add their branding.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not quite. In the analogy above, it is just the driver's-side door that is painted with the word "Mini". It would still have the branding on, say, the front grille/hood from the manufacturer.

          The analogy is more correct than you think.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Explain to me then how an auto maker painting the word "Mini" on a driver's side door is analogous to Waterstones' screensaver? I don't see it at all.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Let me make this simple.

              My car door is black. It was black when I bought the car. If they come and paint "Mini", it is no longer black. To add more to it, I can remove any Mini logo from the car I want to.

              If you bought a Kindle from Waterstone, it had a regular screen saver on it when you bought it. Then, they sent out an update that changed the screen saver to their logo.

              They decided to prominently attach their logo to these Kindle's in a way that the owner cannot change or remove it without damaging the device - and they did so AFTER people bought the device.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:56am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                But doesn't the screen saver disappear once you activate the device? That's how my nook works.

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 10:32am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The difference is that, on the Nook, the screensaver is changeable to a point. On Kindles sold by Waterstones, you've basically bought malware updates.

                   

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:41am

        Re: Re:

        I bought a new car a few months ago. I would be more than a bit upset if the auto-maker stopped by my office and painted "Mini" on my driver's door.

        Seriously? You bought a Mini? Why?

         

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    •  
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      PaulT (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      Well, I'd see the main problem as being the fact that they're using the device as a free advertising stream, something that wasn't communicated to customer up front. This strikes me as being more of a complaint on principle than any direct negative effect, but I'd definitely be pissed if I bought a non-discounted model that suddenly started showing the ads that supplement the discounted ones. It's as much the principle of companies changing the way the device operates without warning after purchase, than any harm caused by the screensaver itself.

      FWIW, my first Kindle was an older model whose screensaver was an rotating, eclectic mix of dead authors that couldn't be changed. I didn't really care that much but, as a horror fan, I didn't appreciate the occasional comment from friends asking me why I'd apparently been looking at pictures of Jane Austen!

      "Anyway, Waterstones are funny, they have had a few rants in the past about how the Internet is negatively affecting their business when, ironically, they put a lot of independent bookstores out of business when they came on the scene."

      I also seem to recall Blockbuster having major issues with Netflix, Lovefilm and other internet companies affecting their business model, despite them absolutely pushing many smaller businesses out of the market when they were in their prime. What do you know, large companies don't like their cash cows disappearing when the customer manages to get the better end of the deal...

       

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    •  
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      John Fenderson (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      Surely screensavers are a non issue?


      I'm sure they are a nonissue for a lot of people, but they're a big deal for some. I would return the device over this, personally. I try to avoid advertising where I can, and would resent being unable to remove this form of it.

      At the same time, I recognize that I am more allergic to ads than most people.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      SheriffFatman, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

      Re:

      Surely screensavers are a non issue? I mean, you don't buy a Kindle (or other device, for that matter) to look at a screen saver.


      The "issue" is that changing settings on someone else's electronic device without asking permission is fucking rude: doubly so if you make it so that can't switch things back.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    Why would you need a screen saver on an e-ink device? It wastes power for 'page turns' to show it, and then restore to the page you left the device at.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 6:59am

      Re:

      You also don't need screen savers on LCD screens. However, people seem to want them.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:25am

        Re: Re:

        If a device has private data on it, then a screen-saver to lock put prying eyes is a good idea. But for a book reader, why bother, unless it is to ensure that only the owner can read a book on it.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Chosen Reject (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your book list or the book you are currently reading can be a private thing, and it doesn't have to be salacious or otherwise embarrassing stuff. Some people might get queasy if they knew you were reading about bombs, even though you don't intend to detonate one. Your boss might be interested in the fact that you are reading a book on how to get employed somewhere else, or about laws concerning working conditions, etc. Or maybe you just don't want anybody to know you are reading Charles Dickens.

          The great thing about these screensavers is that the owner gets to decide what is private. If you want everyone to know you're reading list, feel free to share it. If someone else doesn't, they have that option.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 3:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The great thing about these screensavers is that the owner gets to decide what is private"

            You are confusing locking a device with a screensaver. They are not synonymous.

             

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      •  
        identicon
        Rich, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re:

        Actually, even though LCD do not suffer from burn-in, the pixels can get stuck if a static image is shown for an extended period. Newer devices are not as prone as they use to be, but it still can happen.

         

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    •  
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      PaulT (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      It's basically to give an easy indication that the screen has locked.

       

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    •  
      icon
      akp (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re:

      It's not really a "screen saver," in that the image doesn't change. It's a lock screen. The kindle will go into it automatically after about 5 minutes, (and you can activate it) so you don't get accidental page turns when it's knocking around in your bag.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    Kindle

    Do people still think they own something when they buy a Kindle?

    Let's get this straight right now.

    When you 'purchase' a Kindle, you have actually paid for a license to use the device. At any moment, Amazon can revoke your books, the retailer you 'purchased' it from can change your screen saver, and I am pretty sure there is some fine print somewhere that says Bezos can send someone into your home and take the device away (just in case you have found some use for it as a paperweight, door stop, or to prop up a chair with one short leg).

     

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    •  
      icon
      John Fenderson (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:56am

      Re: Kindle

      At any moment, Amazon can revoke your books


      Unless you remove the DRM, which you should absolutely do.

       

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      •  
        icon
        akp (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re: Kindle

        Or put your own... ahem... Documents from other sources on it.

        Amazon can only remove or change items that were transmitted over the wireless from Amazon. So.. everything you bought on Amazon and had delivered via Whispersync.

        If you were, instead, to purchase and download your books either from Amazon or elsewhere, load them on your Kindle and keep your wireless turned off... Amazon can't touch anything on your device.

         

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    •  
      icon
      Martin R (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 10:44am

      Re: Kindle

      ....... unless you have all your ebooks, from whatever source, backed up on your pc using whatever free library program you prefer (I use calibre myself) then amazon or whoever can delete all the books they want from my kindle as I can put them back whenever I want. Which is nice

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Jake, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why my ebook reader is a netbook running Linux.

     

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  •  
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    Berenerd (profile), Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    I guess I will have to return my KF and order one from Amazon. I have mine disconnected at the moment. I will also return all my Ebooks, 200 of them, that I purchased through them.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    root root root

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Adman, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Your invoice!

    Dear Waterstones,
    Thank you for renting advertising space on my Kindle.
    Since you chose the "don't contact us" option your rental for the advertising space will be at peak rate.
    Please contact our advertising department to discuss a range of options that will suit your needs.

    Daily rental "Kindle" ad space $1.20 @ 30 days $36.00
    One off administration fee $45.00
    ======
    Total for December 2012 $81:00

    Please pay by 20 January 2013.
    Thank you
    Adman advertising Services.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Michael, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    Inconvenience

    "I am sorry for any inconvenience this has caused."

    Why do people say this after handing you a big s*** sandwich? No, you are not sorry for this inconvenience you a**, if you were, you WOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 10:35am

      Re: Inconvenience

      Nope, if they were genuinely sorry, it wouldn't have happened in the first place. As it is, I'll now consider Waterstones a distributor of malware, and subsequently avoid them like the plague.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

      Re: Inconvenience

      Haven't you learned to translate these kinds of phrases? "We're sorry for any inconvenience this has caused" translates to "We're sorry that you noticed how inconvenient this is for you."

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Trap advertisement.

    AKA: Ads you can't get away from, or ignore.

    On TV, you fast forward through the commercials. Billboards, no matter how flashy they are, can be ignored.

    Enter trap advertisement. Every time you pick up your kindle, you will see the ad. You probably have to swipe through it or enter a key sequence to open the document. That is free advertisement to them.

    Another example of the trap advert: The gas pump. You can ignore the credit card offers/rewards gallons/what have you plastered on the top of the pump. You can bypass the prompt for the carwash if you pay cash or go inside.

    It is harder to escape the panhandlers/salesmen that approach you while you are pumping fuel, but usually reaching into the truck bed for the steel pipe deters that approach.

    What you cannot do is escape the ~75db ad that blares at you from the screen once you start the pump. (I also could have sworn that it actually took longer for that gallon of gas to come out.) After a minute I shut off the pump and went back inside to the balance of what I had pre-paid.

    The cashier actually quipped to me about how I didn't need as much as I thought, and my reply was, "I don't need the ads, I'm going somewhere else."

    It's nice to be able to go somewhere else. As for the branded lock screens and special offers? there will always be something else to switch to.

     

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  •  
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    sonia (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    Have to jailbreak

    Don't we have to jailbreak so as to customize the screen savers? I did not like to do that, but I did it. Anyway, I like the customized screensavers very much.

    This is the last webpage I went to and it helped a lot:
    http://www.epubor.com/7-places-to-download-kindle-screensavers.html

     

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  •  
    identicon
    dewa, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    kindle prices

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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