Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not in My Book

Ads in ebooks? Huh? (Warning: Rant follows.)


Recently, via email, I became aware of a, uh, service which will place ads in ebooks and thus "monetize content" for the author. I don't know about you, but one of the reasons I enjoy books (including ebooks) is that they don't have ads—except maybe ads for other books by the same author or publisher at the very end. Not between chapters. And not on the title page.

If I'm into a real page-turner, one thing I don't need to see at the end of a bloody chapter where a character is stabbed to death is an ad for a carpet cleaner. Or for a good defense lawyer. Or ginsu knives. Or—well, never mind.

I tolerate TV commercials (they're handy for bathroom or snack breaks) or ads in magazines, but I really don't think I could tolerate ebook ads.

Now a company (the name of which I have partially obliterated) promises to let the author approve the sponsor, etc. Here's a page from the website:

But take a look at how a typical book would be sponsored (again, I've obliterated the name of the company):

Do you notice something missing on the above ebook's title page? (Like maybe THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR?) What does Olay have to do with a "perfect Christmas" anyhow? If I saw this ad at the beginning of a book, I'd expect one of the major characters to have perfect skin (thanks to the sponsoring product) or maybe dreadful skin (that the sponsoring product might cure).

While I'm a fan of the Old Spice ads on TV, the company's ad in an ebook would be, well, distracting. Again, notice there's no author's name on the title page below. Obviously, the author isn't important. The ad is.

I can't figure out the ad company's pitch to authors and publishers. If "monetize content" isn't bad enough, there's also "high-value consumers" and "new and intimate medium." What the heck?

Now this idea of monetizing or whatever got me thinking. If my middle grade novel Stuck were to be made into an ebook, what company might "proudly sponsor" it? Here are some possible products that convey the suggestion of stuckness: 

As you can see, the title provides lots of opportunity for potential sponsorship by sticky things that might reach "high-value consumers," whoever the heck they are. But what about chapter sponsorships? See if you can select appropriate ones for two sample chapters:

Chapter 1 ("The Worst Day") of Stuck ends with the main character—a fifth-grade girl—learning her mother just died. Which company should "monetize content" by placing an ad at the end of this chapter?

Chapter  13 ("Wishes Don't Come True") takes place on the main character's 11th birthday. Which ad works best at this chapter's end?

OK. So none of these are really appropriate. I can't think of any ads that would be. At least, not in my book.

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Blogger Kimberly said...

i have to agree with you. Keep ads OUT of books! How distracting. (Although just think how much fun you could have if you were the one choosing the ads . . .)

9:49 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

When I saw this, I was not surprised, but I was saddened. I fear this will become standard.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Elena said...

I have published two eBooks and I wouldn't dream of having ads in them. I won't even put ads on my blog! I remember a time when we went to the movies and only trailers were before the actual film. Now, there's about ten minutes of ads there too!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Putting ads in books is like slapping an ad on a painting.

2:38 PM  

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