We’ve run a couple of speculative pieces about the idea of advertisements or product placement in e-books. Responses have tended to run toward shuddering at yet another way for publishers to make money on top of gouging consumers. But at least one e-book publisher is moving forward with it.
A Fox News article looks at Wowio, which has long offered free PDFs incorporating ads to pay for their download. Now Wowio is looking to branch out into EPUBs of up to 50,000 better-known books from distributor Ingram. These books will not be ad-supported (yet), and prices are yet to be determined, but Wowio has applied for a “very broad patent” on e-book advertising next month.
According to the article, Wowio’s advertising is not intrusive, beyond adding a few extra pages to the front of the book. And if it allows them to offer the books at a reduced price, then it might be a good thing. I would be willing to put up with an ad or two for a reduced price in an e-book, especially if the reduced price was “free”.
Of course, if the books are offered in the standard Adobe Adept DRM, downloaders could simple crack the DRM and edit the EPUB to remove the ads. But then again, that’s a lot of effort to go to just to save a few bucks, or to keep from looking at ads.