In 2008, we predicted that in-book ads were inevitable for companies such as Amazon. At the time, there were discussions about Amazon charging for the wireless service it offered for free on Kindle. Things have changed since then, but we still keep hearing about e-book advertising platforms that are supposedly in the works. With what Google has accomplished with its advertising platforms, it is no wonder other companies are interested in getting their piece of the pie. The e-book industry is exploding. Apple is getting ready to release a 7 inch iPad. iPad 2 is not that much behind. B&N may have not been as successful as it was hoping with Nook, but it is going to release Nook 2 in a couple of months regardless. Kindle 3 is going to start shipping very soon. This all means that a ton of people will be holding e-book readers in their hands or consuming e-books using their computers.
The inclusion of ads in e-books is going to be a tricky proposition. e-book fans are not big fans of intrusive ads. Google has done a decent job of making its ads relevant for its visitors. e-book publishers should aim for relevance with their ads too. I agree with WSJ that sample e-books will most likely get those ads first. Will you pay $9.99 for an e-book that is full of ads (product placements and other types)?
The concept of in-book ads could work if it is implemented the right way. For starters, the ads need to stay out of readers’ way. We love books because unlike magazines and newspapers they are more focused and have less distractions. The quality of work is often higher, which is besides the point. Many e-reader owners have complained about the prices of e-books being too high. As long as e-book prices are not dropped significantly, it’s tough to see people embracing ads in their e-books. A new pricing plan (accounting for e-books with ads) may be the solution.
Amazon already has its advertising platform (ClickRiver). It’s not out of the realm of possibility for the company to implement its own ad platform for Kindle in the near future (Amazon does need to sell a ton of e-books consistently to get there). It would not be all that bad if the price is right (for Kindle and its e-books), wouldn’t you say?