(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
advertising, ebooks, patents


Would Amazon Offer Up Free eBooks With Advertising?

from the and-does-that-deserve-a-patent? dept

A bunch of folks have sent in a MediaPost story about a recently granted patent and some patent applications by Amazon that suggest the company is at least considering offering free ebooks with contextual advertising mixed in or possibly the ability to get a free ebook with the purchase of a physical book. To be honest, the idea doesn't seem all that surprising -- and ebooks supported by ads is something that's been talked about for ages (after all, once it's digital, it's effectively the same thing as a web page anyway, right?). So I'm a bit confused as to the reason for a patent. The basic process doesn't just seem obvious, but with tons of prior art, unless you suddenly want to pretend that an ebook is somehow different than any other digital file.

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  • identicon
    CleverName, 8 Jul 2009 @ 5:09am

    Buy One Get One

    They want to patent BOGO advertising ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Griff (profile), 8 Jul 2009 @ 6:19am

    Offline is the key

    People rarely view web pages offline.
    Though ads might keep changing while you're online, so there is a limit to how many you can show.

    On a Kindle you could throw a load of ads that suit this user (from his/her profile so far) onto the Kindle when they are online and then slowly work through them during the reading experience, even if the user is offline. No particular hurry. Not all ads require a click through (ie brand building), and "add it to my Amazon wishlist " might be as good as a clickthrough for a gadget ad.

    Maybe even some clever context sensitive ones based on what has just been read. (The characters in the book drink coffee, and lo !, an ad for a nearby Starbucks pops up while your mind is on coffee, the characters see their house burnt down, an S3 ad for backing up your data appears). This might necessitate some sort of file format for linking key events in an ebook text to ads that are attached to it at download OR some realtime parsing of the book on the device itself to determine if a good ad opportunity arises.

    And of course ads for the author's other stuff.

    Personally I'd find it a bit of a turnoff but if it got me my fave book for free I might put up with it.

    Could end up like adwords.
    Could destroy the last place in the world where you are free of all these annoyances (ie lost in a book).

    I recall MS had a patent for pushing ads to the OS a few years back. It hasn't actually materialised as a reality, has it ? Though the Real Message Center shows just what a PITA it could be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Osno (profile), 8 Jul 2009 @ 6:31am

    Free ebooks when you buy a book? Who would have thought of that??

    But seriously, when Amazon first created the "digital library" I assumed I'll have a full Amazon Preview on the books I bought. Since books take so long to get here, I thought it would be cool to have such a feature. Here's to hoping that this is simply Amazon telling us what they're intending to do instead of an actual real patent (which will be more than absurd), and hoping that they're actually considering the service I always thought they should have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mike42 (profile), 8 Jul 2009 @ 6:37am

    Defensive patent?

    Could it be that these obvious patents with prior art are really just a defense against more general patents? Maybe Amazon knows that there is a patent on doing this with "Electronic Data" somewhere, so they got this patent to fight the other one(s)?

    Just a thought, foolishly hoping for sanity from the PTO...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Schmoe, 8 Jul 2009 @ 7:50am

    "...or possibly the ability to get a free ebook with the purchase of a physical book..."

    If and when I get pushed over the edge [and buy a dedicated ereader], this will be a selling feature for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sk8 Punk, 8 Jul 2009 @ 7:53am

    Wowio already did it

    Old News. Wowio did this a while ago. wowio.com. Now they just sell em cheap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeff Dierking (profile), 8 Jul 2009 @ 8:11am

    Ads? No thanks!

    I am all for getting free content, but the last place I want to deal with ads is in my reading.

    I bought a Kindle a couple of months ago and I love it. I would likely not make use of a free/reduced price catalog if it meant ads were going to interrupt the flow of the book I am reading.

    I would like to see Amazon implement a policy whereby purchase of a hardcover book qualified for a reduced price Kindle version. I own a few dozen hardcover books of authors I enjoy. However, a first read of any book for me entails carrying it with me to work, on the bus, etc. A hardback just is not suited to that. However, a re-read is something, at times, done more leisurely. When I contacted Amazon asking about reduced Kindle versions with purchase of a hardcover, I was told that was not an option.

    We'll see where this goes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matthew Dickinson, 11 Sep 2009 @ 10:28am

      Re: Ads? No thanks!

      My biggest turn off to the Kindle, or any ebook is that I want the physical book. I would be willing to pay a little extra for the digital version to be included as an add on, but no way am I going to pay full price for the ebook version.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 8 Jul 2009 @ 10:11am

    problem with author contracts

    One problem Amazon might run into is with the author contracts with publishers, many of which stipulate that ads can't be put in the authors' books.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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