droneCClicensedSimonFraserIt was a no brainer. A cool new company loved an article that TeleRead Editor Chris Meadows had written without commerce in mind, and its offerings should delight many lovers of books and other media. You’ll soon be seeing sponsored content from it, here on TeleRead. Likewise obvious are book excerpts and book-industry-related topics, as well as how-tos of interest to phone and tablet users.

But what other sponsored content should TeleRead run? How far should we wander from books? For example, would you go for an e-store’s how-to for hobbyists who want to try out drones? Would you read it out of curiosity if nothing else? We want to keep our focus on books, especially e-books, but since we’re for “lovers of books and gadgets,” would nonbook-related gadget articles work out as well? Remember, we would like our sponsored content to be as interesting to TeleRead community members as our regular posts are. And no hype, please—or at least very little!

As publisher of TeleRead, I’d prefer to move away from the regular ad networks and go for sponsored content and ads over which we and the advertiser enjoy complete control. Please help us out by telling us what kinds of products and services you would most likely go for, both as a reader and prospective customer. Speak up in our comments area, and if you’d like to share your thoughts privately, I’m at davidrothman@pobox.com, and my phone number is 703-370-650 in Alexandria, VA, near Washington.

Even better, if you yourself want to run honestly labelled sponsored content or an ad, please catch up with me and we’ll see if the fit would be right. Read our guidelines, and if you really want to understand what this is about, check out Content, Inc., by Joe Pulizzi, a top expert on sponsored content.

Image credit: Here.


  1. @Everyone: Please help. I know how much people hate obnoxious ads, so it’ll be great if TeleRead community members can share their thoughts on the right kind of sponsored content as an alternative. Just how book-related should TeleRead’s sponsored content be? Must the gadget-related kind be heavily book related? We want sponsored content that you’ll like to read. So speak up, either here or by email (davidrothman@pobox.com) or even phone (703-370-6540)! That will influence the kinds of sponsors we go after. Gadget-related ones often pay better than book-related ones, but we still want to be a bookcentric community. Many thanks! David

  2. I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking. Books, ebooks at least, use gadgets so a most book related ads will be gadget related. Are you asking if we would mind ads for smart watches, bluetooth speakers, etc? If so I wouldn’t find those objectionable if they’re tasteful ads.

    Personally I think it’s less important what the ads are about than whether they get in the way. I come here to read the articles. I do have an ad-blocker but it’s often disabled. A lot depends on what other sites I’ve been to. When it’s disabled if ads start popping up or making sounds or have distracting visuals I’ll turn on the ad blocker and refresh the screen. If ads don’t do that I probably won’t really notice what they are. Of course if I was at a site earlier with bad ads I might still have the ad blocker enabled. It usually gets disabled when I think of it but that has a low priority.

    I don’t own a TV and I haven’t for most of my life because I find ads disturbing. I don’t mind that they’re there but I don’t want them to affect my mood or my concentration. If they do that I do whatever I can to get rid of them. Before Netflix and Amazon I got the few TV shows I liked to watch from pirates just to avoid the ads. Now I have Netflix and Prime video so I only get a few things from pirates that they don’t have. I much prefer to pay for what I watch but I want to watch what I want to watch and having to watch and listen to ads that take me out of the mood of the show I’m watching is too high a price.

    Anyway, my vote is keep the ads tasteful and I won’t care what the products are.


  3. @Barry: Thanks very much for the feedback. Just to clarify, I’m talking not just about traditional ads but even more about “sponsored content”–how-tos, book excerpts, etc. They appear like regular articles except for explicit labels on the home page describing them as “sponsored content.” In addition, the articles carry disclaimers making clear they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TeleRead but rather of the sponsors. No blinking. No flashing. Just regular text (ideally informative) and perhaps well-behaved video.

    I suspect a lot of people feel the way you do–caring more about the behavior of the content than about the exact topic. If that’s the case, the text may not be book or e-book related, but, no, we’re not going to be pushing quack medicines or get rich schemes or astrological predictions–just goods and services that we think might appeal to our intelligent, rational community members. And in fact, as I said, the content will be how-tos and other things that people may want to read on their own anyway. OK. That’s the plan. I’d love to hear further from people about how they feel.


  4. First things first: I’d prefer well behaved quack medicine ads since they’d be even easier to ignore. 🙂

    As for sponsored content, on other sites that have it if it’s not completely obvious without having to think about it that that’s what it is I find it irritating. I’ll start into what I think is an article and then realize I’m reading an ad and I stop reading and start grumbling.

    I don’t think I’d mind if it can’t fool me into thinking it’s one of your articles, and labels aren’t really enough to assure that. I read a blog by glancing from headline to headline till one grabs me and then I’m reading the article. If I have to analyze every headline to be sure it’s safe to read that would take away from the pleasure of the process.

    I’m not against you making money and I do realize that to make money you’ll have to do some things I don’t like and that’s just life on this silly planet.


  5. @Barry: My continued gratitude for the feedback! You won’t have the slightest problem deciding if something is regular content or sponsored content. No need to analyze the headline. Just look at the category tag that accompanies the headline at the top of our site or within our “Latest Articles” area: “Sponsored content.” The other thing is, we really really want the sponsored content to be fun, useful or both.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.