Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Kindle You Not, Here's Some Advertisements

Amazon’s Kindle was a groundbreaker when it was released. Reading books on a screen that’s large and easy on the eyes without having to carry around a big hunk of wood became a possibility.

However, it was only a matter of time before they broke ground on advertising, too. Now you can pay for your Kindle and enjoy advertisements anyway, like this full-page ad for Visa that collapses down into a banner ad along the bottom of the screen.

At least these ads are in the book browser; let’s just hope that these ads stay out of the books themselves. Yes, magazines have long held an amazing amount of advertisements—generally every other page—but they’re also paying for paper, ink, and shipping. Your subscription or purchase price pays the staff and the office’s utility bills, and the ads pay for the physical product. Book costs, however, mostly go to the materials, and not so much to the author, editor, and publishing house staff, so there's not much need to recover funds within them with ads. That's why you never see ads inside of a paperback novel.

I can't blame Amazon for trying to fit in unobtrusive advertisements where they can. Jeff Bezos is a marketing genius, and I generally support his methodology. If this helps keep the price of the Kindle down, I say go for it, especially if it means that more of them can be donated to schools and other causes.

However, if your e-books start carrying ads that blink on the screen while you’re trying to concentrate on the story, you might just consider going back to the old-fashioned pre-1984 lug-around edition of your favorite novel.

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