I called it almost a year ago. Amazon was always going to start its own ad system to monetize the Kindle platform. In fact, Amazon has been going back and forth on this issue for months now. Implementing an ad system for Amazon Kindle devices is not straightforward. Not everyone is open to having ads show up in their books, and it’s hard to see how Amazon can introduce these ads in a non-intrusive manner. But Amazon is already working on this ad service, and you can expect yet another clash with consumers over how these ads show up.
The ad industry never stops innovating. When you are surfing the web online, your computer is bombarded with cookies and all kinds of code snippets that help large companies track your behavior, your surfing habits, and more. That means a lot of us do not have too much privacy online. Now imagine that happening on your Kindle as well. Sure, an ad service on Kindle can help businesses better target their prospects and reach out to folks who are interested in their products. But at the same time, the move will produce a backlash against Amazon and Kindle.
I wouldn’t mind showing ads on my Kindle as long as I get discounts on books or earn “Kindle credit.” But it all comes down to how Amazon implements these in-book ads. Are these ads going to show up as small banners at the top of each page? Or will we see those annoying ads that make you wait 10 seconds before you can close them? You’ve got to think about content publishers as well. Will we see Adsense-like services for e-books? Are we headed for “spambooks?” The details are very sketchy at this point, and nobody knows what Amazon has in store for us. But many experts have already objected to the possibility of ads showing up in e-books. Privacy still matters.
Let’s hope Amazon and its competitors don’t get too greedy here. The market may be growing fast, but consumers are not ready to give up their privacy and painless reading experience just yet.
Your turn: would you be open to Amazon displaying in-book ads on your Kindle?