Customers who have bought Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite eReader from Waterstones bookshops have had their feathers rustled by the inclusion of a static branded screensaver bearing Waterstones branding.
Whereas Amazon-bought Paperwhite models have rolling pictorial screensavers that change with every shutdown, those bought from Waterstones only have a single one advertising the high street bookstore.
In the US, cheaper models of the Kindle, which also feature rolling advertisements, come at a discount. But with the Waterstones model selling with the same £109 price tag as the ad-free Amazon model, some new owners are feeling a little hard done by.
"This is my second kindle and, whilst I love the device, it seems that if you buy through Waterstones the usual screensaver is replaced with an advert for Waterstones that does not change," reads a purchase review by jrad47 on the bookstore's website.
"I paid the same price as I would have paid buying from Amazon, but have been saddled with this ad which really impacts my enjoyment of the device."
John4 shares similar feelings with his review: "Really a shame to force a Waterstones screensaver on a device that is supposed to be ad free. Whatever they may call this it is still advertising. I will be returning mine and ordering from Amazon."
Another one-star review said: " I really enjoyed reading on it, but after a few days a software update was applied. This replaced the beautiful artwork the device displays when in sleep mode with some ugly advert for Waterstones. I hate it."
Waterstones are now offering refunds to disgruntled customers, though are maintaining that the screensaver does not constitute advertising:
"It is our view that this screensaver does not constitute advertising and differs substantially to the advertising-supported Kindles available to the US market," reads a company statement.
"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."
Waterstones screensaver placement is understandable. Though themselves offering an online digital eBook portal, the bookchain has suffered in recent times from falling sales, no doubt in part due to the growing popularity of eReaders. If a small screensaver/advert on the Kindle in anyway helps slow the decline of the veritable high street chain, that's no bad thing in our opinion.
Via: The Bookseller