HarperCollins to Include Ads in eBooks
All of those people getting their panties in a bunch about the written word going the way of the dodo need to chill out. Why? Because our first chink in the eBook armor has officially arrived. That's right, HarperCollins has announced they will be including advertising in their eBooks as per their digital director David Roth-Ey. Not their entire catalogue, mind you. HarperCollins will yellow the snow in their informational portion of books first, and from there we can wait for the stain to spread. Here comes some positive spin courtesy of the director himself:
Certain kinds of books create immersive reading experiences whereby ads would be too interruptive for readers, and publishers and even advertisers aren’t likely to put a premium on that. But information books, for example a Collins birds guide, could provide very valuable real estate for contextual advertising - in this case potentially a binoculars manufacturer.
Come on, people, don't act like you don't know where this is headed. Remember when YouTube used to be just videos? Now you've got to sit through car insurance ads just to watch a Ke$ha video. A few years ago you could go to Express and buy your sweaters in peace. Now the cashiers want your email so they can flood your inbox. It's all about product placement and making another sale off the previous sale. If you don't believe me, type "Pepsi" or "Pizza Hut" into a Facebook update and look what pops up in Related Ads.
HarperCollins is officially kicking this nightmare off, and considering what we know about how popular eReaders have become, it's not going to be long before it spreads to all genres beyond informational. That's simply the nature of the beast: introduce a product, make the consumer dependent on said product, then introduce advertising. Yes, your eReader has begun its slow shift to billboard status.
Fictional characters eat and drink name brand products all the time, so is it really that hard to believe that a character drinking Mountain Dew won't come with a Mountain Dew ad? Will Max Barry finally get some Nike money for all the name-dropping he did in Jennifer Government?
Time will tell. One day though, maybe even just a few years out, people will start to complain how there are too many ads in their books. The joy of reading will become a sales pitch. People will start to say, "The paperback costs a little more, but I like my books ad-free."
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