Advertising in Books

Image via WikiCommons

Image via WikiCommons

Unlike magazines, books have somehow always avoided the encroachment of advertising. They’ve even managed to successfully resist product placement - at least for the most part. The website Publishing Perspectives yesterday visited a subject that will shock bibliophiles everywhere. Under the banner, ‘Is it Time for publishers to Offer Advertising in Books?’, the article considers the implications of cloud reading. Cloud reading, as we’ve covered before, is an alternative to the conventional model of buying and reading ebooks. Instead of downloading a digital file, cloud reading - such as that offered by the Readings online ebook store - gives readers access to a file stored remotely via a web connection.

The success of a Swedish music website called Spotify prompted the Publishing Perspectives article. Spotify gives music lovers remote access to a database of 13 million songs. Its business model offers listeners free access to music if they’re willing to put up with some advertising - much like conventional commercial radio broadcasting. Otherwise, for a fee, they can enjoy commercial-free listening.

In a related article, Javier Celaya, vice president of the Spanish Digital Magazines Association, points out that the returns to writers of such a business model will be meager, if Spotify is any indication. And he frets over the social implications of this kind of business model. He writes: “… we are allowing the creation of a very unequal digital society where readers with higher spending power will be able to enjoy screen reading without advertising interruptions whereas those with a lower budget will enjoy a very different experience.”

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