Ah, the good old days of plain-text e-book readers side-loaded with content from now-defunct Fictionwise! Now, even the most basic readers out there are borderline mini-computers these days. Amazon’s Fire Tablet is a full Android tablet and costs less than an e-ink reader.
One of the side effects of today’s always-connected devices, though? Data charges. And they can burn through your money in surprising ways. This Techdirt story, for instance, offers an intriguing hypothesis that links the rise of ad blockers to data charges. I would have guessed that people use these tools primarily because they simply don’t care to see ads. But a new survey suggests that it may be because media-rich ads can consume a ton of mobile data. And that can get expensive.
So, could an e-book reader cost you money if it advertises to you? My e-ink Kindle does try to push content suggestions at me from the home screen, but that device is not hooked up to a data plan and only uses WiFi. It’s not the villain, if there is one.
A more likely “bad guy” would my phone, which does use data. If the Kindle app started embedding advertising into that, I’d have to reconsider my mobile app choices. I don’t mind paying for my books, but I don’t want to pay every time I read them too with unwanted data uses.