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Amazon throws Kindle into the daily deal fray

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Daily deals are now popping up on the screensavers of the Kindle and Kindle 3G. Amazon.com announced today that, when they aren’t reading, Special Offers customers will receive deals directly on their Kindle screens from AmazonLocal.

AmazonLocal on Kindle with Special Offers is launching in New York City. The plan is to expand it to all AmazonLocal cities by the end of 2011. The company is probably hoping this daily deal addition will encourage customers to go with Kindle instead of competing e-readers such as the Kobo or Nook for holiday gifting.

“We think customers are going to be thrilled with this new, convenient way to take advantage of AmazonLocal deals,” says Jay Marine, director of Amazon Kindle in a company statement. “You can view, purchase, and redeem the deals using only your Kindle — no computer, no printer, no hassle.”

Customers will redeem AmazonLocal offers by showing their Kindle to an employee, manager or owner of a local business. While paperless deals are certainly ideal, I am dying to see this “show your screen” concept in action, especially at larger stores where not every employee has been notified that paper vouchers are not necessary for redemption. It is bound to take some getting used to. If there is an issue, customers can print a copy of the voucher by visiting local.amazon.com/purchases.

AmazonLocal offers can be made directly from the Kindle without re-entering account or credit card information.

Examples of the offers for New York City Kindle customers include $7 for a one-hour bike rental in Central Park ($15 value), $59 for one month unlimited yoga classes at Bikram Yoga Grand Central ($180 value) and $5 for $10 worth of ice cream and ice cream cakes at Coldstone Creamery. Which brings me to the most frustrating part of “local” offers: they typically include discounts from national chains that can afford the risks of running daily deals. Why buy local when you can get massive quantities of Coldstone for $5?

A Kindle with Special Offers costs $114 and a Kindle 3G with Special Offers is $139 with free 3G wireless. These Kindle editions have become the bestselling Kindle devices, according to Amazon.

The functionality for receiving AmazonLocal deals on Kindle with Special Offers will be included in a software update for latest generation Kindles in the coming weeks, according to Amazon.

AmazonLocal launched in 2011 and is now available in 44 locations. Anyone, not just Kindle users, can go to AmazonLocal.com and sign up to be notified when AmazonLocal is available in their area.