I just saw this press release from EbookPlus, which wants to make books legally free. Sounds good, right? But wait, there’s more. That’s free, with advertising.
eBookPlus.com offers any company the opportunity to create publicity to place in an eBook, whether it is a video, an image or a HTML page. The advertising is unobtrusive, placed only at the beginning of each chapter, volume or part of a particular title. This advertising is presented to readers for a few seconds, after which they can read the eBook normally without interruption during the whole of the chapter. Payment is only debited to the advertiser’s account and credited to the author/publisher when the ad is seen. The majority of funds raised go directly to the author or publisher.
If you spend any time hanging out with people who read e-books, you can probably predict their reaction to this. When Amazon launched the ad-supported Kindles, the most commonly asked question was, “will the ads show up in my books?” (They do not.) Most readers I know are fine with ads on their home screens, but don’t even suggest putting them within the books themselves.
I predict a huge backlash among readers if authors or publishers try this. Personally, I’d rather pay a pretty high price than have ads interrupting my reading experience.