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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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December 2010
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Ads in Kindle Books a Possibility?

As eBooks gain more popularity, it can’t really surprise anybody to see advertisers trying to cash in.  Does this mean we can expect to start seeing ads in our Kindle books?  There’s no real push that way yet, but it only makes sense, really.  If offsetting some of the cost of a new book by putting up with a few pages of ads is possible, I doubt most people will mind.

Before anybody gets too up in arms, I should probably point out that this isn’t precisely a new and innovative concept.  Off the top of my head, the earliest example of ads in books (and I’m not making any claim of this being the actual earliest example by any means) would be in Victorian serials, such as most of the Dickens releases.  In more recent years, not much has changed.  WOWIO, a popular eBook marketplace, has proven that it is possible to provide free books to interested consumers without taking sales revenue away from the authors by allowing advertisers to adopt specific titles and “wrap” them with ads at the front and back of the book.

The only question is what format the advertising is going to take.  We’ve discovered over the years that the internet, traditionally a primarily textual medium however much that is changing in recent years, didn’t exactly encourage people to stick with your average magazine ad equivalent.  Pop up ads, obnoxiously loud talking ads, animated gifs, flash animation, and more have all become pretty much a staple of internet browsing.  Let’s be honest and say that there’s not much that could destroy the reading experience more effectively than these things manifesting in the middle of your book.

Overall, there’s a lot of potential here, both for great things and for unpleasantness.  My impression is that a lot of the reason advertisers avoid books is that they sell in small numbers, compared to other forms of media consumption, and they last too long to be useful.  What good does an ad do for somebody when it’s in a book I bought five years ago, right?  Well, with devices like the Kindle, there is at least some potential for periodic advertising updates in books located on their servers, right?  Sounds unpleasant, but it ends up being all about the implementation.

The only place where I’m really leery of what might happen is on the many Kindle apps, and possibly future hardware offerings, which are capable of displaying video and playing sounds.  It’s neat to be able to play integrated video in your eBooks, but if that means that ads can be inserted that will take advantage of the same capabilities, it’s not worth it.  For now, at least it’s nice to know that the Kindle device itself is safe, and that authors are given enough control over their works through Amazon, in general, that this will likely not be something that sneaks up on people if or when it does come around.  When it does, who knows but that we might really appreciate the opportunity for some great new free or cheap eBooks in spite of the ads?

10 comments to Ads in Kindle Books a Possibility?

  • tallpaul8

    Given the restrictions on loaning ebooks and the unreasonable pricing policies of the Jurtassic-age publishers, ads would only be forgiveable if they resulted in big price drops. Remember free, over-the-air TV?

  • J Jakob Markin

    Any advertiser putting ads on my Kindle will be ignored, the product unbought. And if Amazon starts putting in moving ads, our ads with sound, I shall move on to another e-Reader that doesn’t plague us with such things. Just because advertising is trying to be ubiquitous doesn’t mean we have to put up with it.

  • Easy done – some shortcode like [googlead1] and you’ve got an ad at the start or end of the book.

    I don’t know why Amazon hasn’t put in their own additional “you might also like” page after the main content.

  • Azstu

    If they add advertising in books I wont buy them. I amazon starts putting ads on a kindle . I will ditch my kindle. I read to get away from such crap

  • Adam

    I’m with Mr. Markin. If ads are added to Kindle books, I will drop that sucker in a heartbeat. There would have to be a SIGNIFICANT reduction in the price of a book for this to be of any value to me. I’d say a bestseller would need to be priced at $1.50 – $2.00 to not drive me away.

  • Al

    If adverts appear anywhere on my Kindle or its books I will throw it in the trash and hence forth boycot Amazon or any Amazon product.

    P.S. I love my kindle, such a move would be heinous.

    regards
    Al

  • Chuck

    The most interesting thing that’s not mentioned in this article is the fact that WOWIO was actually granted a patent for the placement of advertising in eBooks that covers publications of all kinds. It’s not a question of if at this stage, it’s more a question of when and how…

  • Mona

    You say…
    “There’s no real push that way yet, but it only makes sense, really. If offsetting some of the cost of a new book by putting up with a few pages of ads is possible, I doubt most people will mind.”

    And then, knowing that is so wrong, you immediately follow-up with…
    “Before anybody gets too up in arms,”

    Well, listen up! The villagers MIND. Oh yes, we do. We say “NO” to books becoming riddled with ads!

    And where have you been that you don’t know that? Of course it’s been tried before! And the market rejected it! Decades of publishing, no books full of ads. The buyers just don’t buy it.

    Are you trying to give someone ideas? Did some advertiser twist your earlobe, or what? That the books are digital isn’t going to make a difference, but let them try again if they want…

    Where’s my pitchfork?

  • Any advertiser putting ads on my Kindle will be ignored, the product unbought. And if Amazon starts putting in moving ads, our ads with sound, I shall move on to another e-Reader that doesn’t plague us with such things. Just because advertising is trying to be ubiquitous doesn’t mean we have to put up with it.

  • matthew

    Mona,

    Much as I approve of the concept of the exercise of consumer power, and I most certainly do, I just don’t see that being what happened here. Ads in books were viable when they were being released serially, but whole volume publications haven’t allowed for timely distribution of updated material. I’d like it if books were never filled with ads, of course, but I also consider some advertising presence an inevitability and can only hope that it helps to overcome publisher concerns over profit enough to loosen up on some of the ridiculous eBook pricing schemes we’re stuck with for the moment.

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