ad modelLast month I wrote about eBookPlus, a startup that wanted to make books free, with ads. To say I wasn’t thrilled would be an understatement. Most of you who commented on the post agreed with me.

Forbes had an article today on another startup, HitBliss, that might actually have it right. From Forbes:

The Lexington, Mass. company, run by husband and wife team Andrew Prihodko and Sharon Peyer, operates a Netflix-like app for iOS and Android that gives users access to a whole slew of TV shows and movies. But all that’s a sideshow; the payment method is what’s interesting here. Customers can choose to pay for shows piecemeal by credit card or they can watch 30-second ads to build up credit. After two or three ads—or a minute and half in total—most customers earn enough to buy a show or rent a movie.

ad modelToday their model is aimed at movies, but they plan to bring other media, including books, into the mix later.

When I read the article, I was surprised at my own reaction. I didn’t immediately think, “Yuck! How horrible.” I actually thought, “Hmm. I could see myself doing that.”

I’m curious to know what you think. Would you be willing to view a few ads before renting a book, assuming that, in fact, the ads don’t interrupt you while you’re actually reading? I think I would be.


  1. I can see myself letting the ads run while I go get a cup of coffee. By the time I got back, the ads would be over and I’d be ready to watch a movie. I doubt I’d be the only consumer to see this possibility and take advantage of it, so I have to wonder how successful this would be with advertisers.

  2. Agree with January. I don’t see advertisers getting excited about what amounts to a preroll on a medium designed to be read over a period of time. So, I start my Nook, punch an ad, check my mail on my PC, then, when I’ve sorted out the mail, the ad is over and I read my book. As a reader I think it’s great. As an advertiser, I don’t buy it. As a publisher, I’d love to see the ad money.

    Movies are easy and songs are easier. You start them when the ad ends. If the reader is off getting coffee, he misses the song. With a book, page one just sits there waiting for me to get to it.

    Rob Preece

  3. No thank you. I’m not going to go for ads. And I doubt watching three 30 seconds ads will deliver a new $14.99 biography to my Kindle for free. It’s a pipe dream. Or maybe a sales pitch to suck in investors with shirts to loose.

  4. They did mention some function that would require you to interact with the ad. So they seemed to be attempting to stop the “run get coffee while the ad plays.” However, I’m sure enterprising viewers and readers will be able to get around it. Swagbucks has a model that allows you to get credit for viewing ads, and believe me, everyone has learned ways to have the darned things run in the background while they do other things.

    I agree that it’s probably not going to work the way the advertisers hope. That said, as a viewer/reader, I’m open to giving it a try.

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