Would you buy an ebook if it had advertising embedded in it? No? What about if those ads were full-page ads added at the start and end of the ebooks? No? What about if they meant that the ebooks was free? Hmmmm.
Even though the whole concept of advertising embedded in ebooks usually sparks howls of outrage, shortly followed by irate blog flaming, under the above conditions the issue starts to look less black and white.
I, for one, would at least try an ebook with a couple of pages of ads at the front or back, if they were whole pages that didn’t impinge on the body of the book. And I don’t think I’d be the only one.
I think this ebook model has legs, and here are three reasons why:
1. We are used to ads in books.
What publishers call trade paperbacks have been using this model for years. I suspect we’ve all bought thrillers and other fiction with a couple of pages of ads bound in at the back. They are often full-colour ads for other authors from the same genre and publisher. And that’s not counting “also by this author” ads.
2. We are used to ads in other media.
Picked up a physical magazine lately with no ads in it? What about a magazine app? A newspaper? Watched an ad-free show on free-to-air TV? Didn’t think so. We understand that advertising pays for the content we consume and are usually happy to put up with it in order to get free stuff. Of course, some are prepared to pay extra to get rid of ads – premium TV subscriptions etc – and I think this will also apply to ebooks eventually.
It’s also happening in music. Seen a free music service called Guvera? It’s exactly the same model. Advertisers decide what music fits with their brand, and then sponsor those albums, artists by creating (for example) the Coke channel. Yes, you’ve got to put up with advertising banners around the download buttons to the songs, but they aren’t as intrusive as you would think. And all the songs are free. And the service is taking off, constantly adding more advertisers.
3. The barriers between media “genres” are slowly breaking down.
By media genres, I mean books, magazines, web video, static web pages, RSS, film, television etc. What some people called “enhanced” ebooks now often contain video, Static web pages commonly have embedded video from elsewhere, TV show can be streamed over the web, as can magazines, which are apps, and sometimes have embedded RSS feeds, and often video … the list goes on.
So I think some ebooks– especially non-fiction titles – will start tending to look like magazines. If you try to define the two genres, you quickly see there’s almost no difference anyway. So it wouldn’t seem so unusual that an ebook/magazine would have pages of advertising.
Graphic novel and ebook publisher WOWIO certainly thinks the idea has legs. They’ve been inserting ads into PDF publications for a while now, and now Fox News is reporting that they’re interested in moving into EPUB ebooks. As Fox reports:
The ads themselves aren’t intrusive: There are no annoying highlighted links in the text, nor are there irritating animations or takeovers to interrupt the reading experience. The advertisements are simply pages added to a book, typically up front: Notices for movie site Fandango and auction site iTaggit appeared in the copy of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds that I read. It’s much like the advertising you’d see in a magazine, except that if you want more information or are enticed by a promotion, all you have to do is click to visit the advertiser’s site.
This week the firm announced a major step forward by signing a deal with massive distributor Ingram, which will give the online store access to more than 50,000 popular books on November 1. Ingram has many bestsellers, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and Legacy by Danielle Steel
hey’ve even gone as far as applying for a patent on in-ebook advertising, which they were granted last week, according to the press release.
So don’t lose your lunch the next time someone mentions ads in ebooks. The more ways to pay for them, the more there will be.
Via Jason Davis’ BookBee