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Waterstones forces a self-promoting, non-removable screensaver ad onto Kindles

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Gallery Photo: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review pictures
Gallery Photo: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review pictures

Watersones, a UK bookseller and rival to Amazon, has upset a number of customers who bought the Kindle Paperwhite from its stores after the company decided to issue a firmware update replacing Amazon's screensaver with a Waterstones advertisement. While some Kindle devices are ad-supported and discounted, customers say the firmware update was forced even onto full-priced devices with no ads. In an email statement provided to customers who complained about the unwelcome addition, Waterstones offered no sympathy, but spin; it writes that "it is our view that this screensaver does not constitute advertising and differs substantially to the advertising-supported Kindles available to the US market." We're not sure in which universe a non-removable, mandatory splash screen with a company logo is not an advertisement, but Waterstones is at least gracious enough to observe that "the change was made without consultation" — as a result, it will let customers who bought a Kindle Paperwhite from its stores return it for a full refund.