The Wall Street Journalwarns
readers that advertisements are coming soon to an ebook near you. Ebooks have been an ad-free zone, but that's all about to change. Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum notes that ads used to be commonplace in books during the 50s and 60s, especially in the back of paperback novels, but they fell out of favor with advertisers because they didn't generate much revenue. Also, the authors hated them
The new ads won't be in regular, full-priced ebooks. They are more likely to be found in the classics, or in free or heavily-subsidized books to make the idea more palatable. Still, many people are not thrilled with the idea of ads in middle of their ebooks. The WSJ reports:
Regardless, ads will have to overcome the annoyance factor. Imagine an ad for a sports drink that says "Is your day feeling like the worst of times?" that appears in "A Tale of Two Cities" next to the line "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," or ads for condoms interspersed through "The Scarlet Letter," says Forrester analyst James McQuivey.
"It would be an unpleasant distraction in the middle of a narrative," says literary agent Ann Rittenberg. "This is going to be a lot more complicated than putting an ad at the back of a paperback."
Inserting ads in Random House e-books won't happen without author approval, Mr. Applebaum says.
"It's a nonstarter here without their assent, regardless of format," he says. "However, if our authors were ever to be agreeable to it, it might have some traction."