Having predicted it a year ago, it’s not a surprise to hear Amazon weighing the idea of introducing in-book advertising on Kindle to raise more money from Kindle. According to numerous sources, Amazon has filed for a couple of patents for technology that enable it to show contextual ads on Kindle. The opportunity is certainly there for Amazon to build a mobile advertising platform for Kindle. If you think of books as a collection of blog posts, you can easily see why Amazon is pursuing this option. How effective this platform will be is a whole other story.
The idea of in-book advertising has infuriated a lot of experts. We are all familiar with the idea of in-game advertising but that is not as intrusive as what Amazon is planning for Kindle. We do know that readers will be shown contextual ads. What we don’t know is where those ads show up. Do they show up as a small banner on the of your book or will they take the whole screen and ask you to wait 20 seconds or skip the ad. I wouldn’t have problem with neither approach if Amazon plays its card right.
Unlike many Kindle fans, I am not opposed to Amazon showing ads on my device. But I do want Amazon to offer me a big discount for the right to show those ads on my Kindle. How about giving us a $300 discount on the gadget? After all, if Kindle’s ad platform is half as successful as what most expect it to be, Amazon won’t have trouble reducing Kindle prices for folks who don’t mind seeing ads on their device. If Amazon doesn’t want to drop prices on Kindle, the least it can do is offer a revenue-sharing program for its ads. In essence, if you are a reader who has opted in for Amazon ads on your Kindle, you should get a percentage of the revenue that Amazon is generating from these ads. That’d be only fair.
Nobody knows at this point what Amazon is planning. The company was always going to look at ways to raise more money from Kindle. Kindle has been a big investment for Amazon, and you can’t just expect the company to stand still. I am skeptical about how much money Amazon can raise through Kindle advertising, but it’s certainly worth a try for it. The more people buy a Kindle, the better chance Amazon has of succeeding with its ad platform. Let’s just hope Amazon doesn’t ruin the Kindle experience in the process.