Amazon Ad-Free Kindle Kids Edition Aims to Boost Reading

Amazon’s upcoming $109.99 Kindle Kids Edition features a six-inch e-ink display, adjustable front light and long battery life. The device, whose hardware is identical to the entry-level Kindle that costs $20 less, offers cases and wallpapers that appeal to young people. A two-year guarantee will replace a broken unit. Amazon also provides a one-year subscription to its FreeTime Unlimited, which gives access to curated e-books within a walled garden. When the year is up, subscriptions range from $2.99 to $9.99 per month.

USA Today reports that Amazon will provide availability to “more than 2,500 age-appropriate e-books” in an ad-free environment and also recommend “books the kids might like based on characters and themes.”

Kids can also search for content. Amazon stated that “it won’t share reading data with advertisers or third parties.” Parents will also “have visibility into the kids’ reading activity and progress through a dashboard they can access remotely on a phone, computer or tablet.”

Amazon will soon release a Spanish-language library and “hundreds of audiobooks from Amazon-owned Audible that kids can listen to via Bluetooth headphones or a speaker.” The company also just expanded “Amazon FreeTime parental controls and FreeTime Unlimited to even more devices, including select Fire TV streaming devices and soon smart TVs, and a new $199.99 Fire HD 10 Kids Edition tablet.”

The Kindle Kid Edition also highlights features that “might encourage the kids to read more, or at least help them better understand what they’re consuming.” That includes Word Wise, which “places simple short definitions in smaller type above somewhat challenging words for a younger reader.”

Parents can control this feature to “surface more or fewer Word Wise definitions based on reading level.” Words that a child looks up in the dictionary are added to Vocabulary Builder “where it can be used in flashcards that may help the kid learn.”

By setting goals, kids can earn achievement badges “from an ‘over-achiever’ who exceeds his or her daily goal to a ‘super book worm’ who meets the goals that have been set for seven straight days.”

The Kindle Kids Edition and Fire HD 10 Kids Edition will ship on October 30. Amazon said that “for a limited time, people who buy two of the Kindles can save 25 percent.”