Customers are complaining that Kindle Paperwhite eBook readers bought from high street bookseller Waterstones come with a permanent advert for the shop as the screensaver instead of the rolling Amazon ones.
Waterstones sells its Kindles at the same price as Amazon - £109 for the Paperwhite - so some are saying they feel 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," says jrad47 on the bookstore's online site. "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 also posts a one-star review, even going as far to say that he will be swapping it for an Amazon-bought version. "Really a shame to force a Waterstones screensaver on a device that is supposed to be ad free," he says. "Whatever they may call this it is still advertising. I will be returning mine and ordering from Amazon."
The issue stems from the fact that, in the US, you can buy a Kindle device for a cheaper price if you are willing to put up with overt advertising. Waterstones is not offering any point-of-sale discount. However, it is offering a refund for those dissatisfied with their device, even though it doesn't believe the standby screen is an advert.
"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 company says, in a statement to customers.
"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."
In Pocket-lint's view, we can understand Waterstone's stance. The bookstore is already facing serious competition from Amazon in selling paper books, and is trying to remind customers of its own existence on Kindle devices. However, it may simply have gone about it in the wrong way. We certainly don't want to see the end of a traditional high street book shop.
Pic: (cc) Graeme Pow