HarperCollins is considering selling interactive ad space in factual e-books, New Media Age reports. The ads would be limited to books that convey factual information, rather than fiction titles. HarperCollins group digital director and publisher David Roth-Ey explains:
“Certain kinds of books create immersive reading experiences whereby ads would be too interruptive for readers, and publishers and even advertisers aren’t likely to put a premium on that. But information books, for example a Collins birds guide, could provide very valuable real estate for contextual advertising – in this case potentially a binoculars manufacturer.”
Other HarperCollins efforts mentioned at the company’s DigiFest conference include ways of increasing the discoverability of e-books to make up for the inability to discover e-book titles by bookstore cover browsing.
I have little doubt that most TeleRead readers will greet the news of ads in e-books with a loud chorus of boos and hisses. But on the other hand, it does seem to work for magazines, doesn’t it? And publishers are in dire enough straits lately that it’s hard to blame them too much for looking for income where they can find it. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see whether this leads to a slippery slope or not.