The Kindle Paperwhite went on sale in the UK on October 25. However, some customers that purchased the device from retailer Waterstones have found reason for complaint. Pocket-Lint reports that Kindle Paperwhite units bought at Waterstones are displaying permanent advertisements for the retailer instead of the cycling screensavers on units purchased directly from Amazon.
Users reviewing the Kindle Paperwhite on Waterstones' website have complained that the stock Amazon screensavers have been replaced by a Waterstones ad and it's enough of an issue that these poor reviews have dragged the overall review score of the device down to 2.5 stars on the book-sellers website.
Though you could argue that the screensaver doesn't have much bearing on your reading experience with the Kindle Paperwhite, customers are, understandably upset, that they've purchased what they thought was an ad-free device only to have what amounts to an ad slapped on it. For its part, Waterstones says the screensaver doesn't 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," the company said in a 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."
While the screensaver doesn't highlight Waterstones offers, several customers reviewing the device say it has tarnished the experience. One mentions that she cannot unsubscribe from the Waterstones blog, which suggests all Waterstones-purchased Kindles also carry permanent subscriptions to the retailer's blog.
"I can live with [the screensave] but what I cannot live with is the notion that I have paid full-price for a product that is now my own private property; yet I cannot get rid of the sleep screen or permanently unsubscribe from the Waterstones blog," wrote one user. "If I wanted these I would go out of my way to subscribe but I don't and so, Waterstones are imposing on my private property."