Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sell a man a book, sell him a whole new life.

Image via United Rotation
There's an article in the Wall Street Journal about the financing of Harry Hurt III's eBook and how, as both consequence and feature, there will be "advertising accompanying each chapter and significant product placement woven throughout its narrative."

However you feel about this, it's interesting to list books where this has been done deliberately, as a narrative choice (American Psycho, Pattern Recognition), and consider how an eBook would go about capitalizing on it. Exploiting it, if you prefer stronger language. Let's consider the possibilities.

Is this a new phenomenon? Not even a little. Will it completely warp the eBook experience? Consider television, consider movies. However, it's important to remember that e-readers are still mostly trying to retain pleasurable aspects of the physical book, from page turning to marginalia. And one of those qualities is arguably an ad-free space. I suspect there's only so far this type of thing can go, unless something is being given away for free.

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