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Books Media Patents The Almighty Buck

Amazon Wants Patent For Inserting Ads Into Books 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-was-the-best-of-times,-it-was-comcastic dept.
theodp writes "Three Amazon inventors set out to correct what they felt was a real problem: that 'out-of-print or rare books ... typically do not include advertisements ... the content is fixed and, therefore, has not been adapted to modern marketing.' Their solution is spelled out in newly-disclosed Amazon patent applications for On-Demand Generating E-Book Content with Advertising and Incorporating Advertising in On-Demand Generated Content. From the patent apps, here's what the future of reading may look like: 'For instance, if a restaurant is described on page 12, [then the advertising page], either on page 11 or page 13, may include advertisements about restaurants, wine, food, etc., which are related to restaurants and dining.' So, what would a delightfully-tacky-yet-unrefined Hooters ad do for your Hemingway experience?"
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Amazon Wants Patent For Inserting Ads Into Books

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  • How Pointless.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:04PM (#28576327)
    This is totally pointless. I mean, if you already paid for the book, why should there have to be ads? Heck with digital distribution why even have ads on free stuff because the price of the device itself more than makes up for the minuscule price of transfer.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:06PM (#28576341)

      Yeah, I mean when I paid for cable TV they took out the ads! Wait. Shit.

    • by shoemilk (1008173) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:16PM (#28576403) Journal
      Because they are greedy. Why stop there? Why not insert the name of the restaurant into the text? Auto replace "restaurant" with "Chili's". Does the main character put on a coat? Why not make it an Armani coat? Does she take a sip of water? Spice up that water to your brand soft drink for a small fee! Why stop there? Let sponsors have characters "As Captain 'Pizza Hut' Ahab looked out over the sea, he saw her, Moby Dick, brought to you by Target."

      Seriously, though if I wanted ads breaking up what I was reading, I'd buy a newspaper. But I don't so I'll never buy one of those books or a newspaper.
      • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:30PM (#28576517)

        I know a better solution:

        'Share and Enjoy' is the company motto of the hugely successful Microsoft Complaints Division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium-sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years.
        The motto stands-- or rather stood-- in three mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadrax. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the offices of many talented young Complaints executives-- now deceased.
        The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read "Go stick your head in a pig," and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.

      • by Garbad Ropedink (1542973) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:34PM (#28576543)

        If that ever came to be I would wholeheartedly endorse book burning.

        Good god, why not just stick ads in all the old works? I'm sure Picasso would have put a coke machine in Guernica if he knew how cool and refreshing it was....
        'I painted this to protest the lack of coca-cola in my homeland. It will be returned to Spain when there is a coke machine on every corner'

      • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:40PM (#28576583)

        This is no different than cable TV. I pay x dollars a month just to watch via cable. But then I still get advertisements thrown in. I get ads between "scenes", I get ads that are product placements, and then, imho the worst are those that the channel overlays some animation in the corner.

        So changing "Bob goes into his local restaurant for a greasy cheeseburger" to "Bob goes into TGIFridays for their Super Texan Bacon Burger" is only one step. Most of the books I own have blank margins. Why not put a few ads in there? At the end of a chapter, if the chapter ends with a partial page, why not just put a 1/2 page ad there? I'd love to see, "STIHL Chainsaws present, Chapter 6 in Stephen King's new thriller..."

        My phonebook has a section in the middle with coupons, why not inject a few pages of coupons into the next Harry Potter book? I'm sure all the teenagers reading it could benefit from the acne cream ads.

        I always thought that most people today that read Stephen King's Christine had no idea what a 1958 Plymouth Fury looked like. So maybe they should update it to be a 2008 Toyota Prius. Now while the Prius doesn't evoke fear due to it's toothy chrome grille or tension with it's low rumbling demon-like engine. I'm sure someone would be scared of being sneaked up on by a hybrid.

           

      • by linguizic (806996) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:32PM (#28576861)
        Somehow "the Fudruckers at the End of the Universe" just doesn't ring right too me....
      • by Zordak (123132) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:19PM (#28577347) Homepage Journal

        What a delightfully evil idea! And by the way, it's quite possibly patentable itself. And it would be a totally legitimate derivative work of public domain works. Couple it with some Google Adword algorithms, include hyperlinks to relevant products, and you've got a winning idea! (By the way, for $2,500, I could get you a provisional patent application on the idea---no joke).

        You could even work the algorithm to add or mutate whole sentences. Just think: "Elizabeth Bennett quickly spritzed some Chanel No. 5(R) [hyperlink] perfume, and went to the drawing room to meet Mr. Darcy." "Why, it's the bell ringer from Notre Dame! The one who rings the well-crafted Pass & Stern(R) church bells!" "Thanks to widening adoption of Apple(R)[hyperlink] productss, it was the best of times. But also because of the continued entrenchment of Microsoft, it was the worst of times." We could have a whole new generation grow up believing that Sherlock Holmes smoked Camels! Or that Captain Nemo built his submarine using GE products! Or that Tarzan learned to read from a set of Prentice-Hall dictionaries! Or that Billy Budd sailed on a Northrop Grumman-built Man-of-War! Or that Romeo's apothecary sold only genuine Pfizer products! Why, we could wreck the entire public domain!

        You need to patent this now. That way, when Amazon inevitably decides to do this, I can sue them for you, and we can both retire rich. And you can get a permanent injunction that will force them to stop doing it. It's a double win!K/p>

    • by noidentity (188756) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:30PM (#28576513)

      This is totally pointless. I mean, if you already paid for the book, why should there have to be ads?

      I keep seeing this faulty argument involving the concept of "paying twice". It's not that you're being asked to pay again, it's that you didn't fully "pay" the first time. It'd be like buying a $10 product and paying $5 up-front, and having the other $5 paid by advertising it shows.

      That aside, isn't this patent a good thing? It means that only Amazon's products will be crippled with advertising inserted in this manner.

      • by Chris Kamel (813292) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:49PM (#28576627)
        Indeed, they may even give you the book for free with enough ads stashed in.
      • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:54PM (#28576661) Homepage

        I keep seeing this faulty argument involving the concept of "paying twice". It's not that you're being asked to pay again, it's that you didn't fully "pay" the first time. It'd be like buying a $10 product and paying $5 up-front, and having the other $5 paid by advertising it shows.

        The vast majority of books do not include such advertisements, but the publishers do still turn a profit. It's not like with magazines, where the costs of a print run are typically higher than revenue from subscription fees. With books, you're usually paying for the costs of printing the book and an extra amount on top. Thus, the idea that you aren't paying for the book in full is simply false. The ads are just extra profit for the publisher.

        It's greed coupled with a total disregard for the artistic integrity of a work.

      • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:05PM (#28576721)

        Except it doesn't work like that with ads. You can watch public television for free and get ads, or you can pay money to watch cable television and get ads. You can pay $50 for Battlefield 1942, or you can pay $50 for Battlefield 2142 and get ads.

        Ads increase profit for companies, they never decrease the price of products, except those offered for free (like Google.)

        • by noidentity (188756) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:11PM (#28576749)

          Ads increase profit for companies, they never decrease the price of products

          That's because people still buy the ad-infested products. Vote with your wallet. I personally pass over anything with ads, like TV, magazines, newspapers, or DVDs with unskippable ads. There are plenty of things not ad-infested.

          • by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:29PM (#28576833)
            It's because whenever people come up with a viable alternative the industry kills it by demanding that legislators make it illegal. They're not always successful, but in most cases they are. Free markets are all well and good, as long as they're actually free. The problem is that in places like the US, we've got a free market when it's convenient to business and a heavily regulated market when it's inconvenient for the consumer.

            The cost of TV would go down dramatically if people had the opportunity to make choices. Right now where I'm living, I've got basically 4 choices. No TV, Satellite, Cable or free to air. Of those, really Satellite is the only option with multiple choices, making that a grand spanking 5 choices over all, of which 3 have very little incentive to compete on cost too vigorously.

            Which is coincidentally why the news of online ads costing more per viewer is so significant. It's much more difficult to abuse ones market position if a provider from anywhere in the nation has to compete with all the other ones.
            • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:53PM (#28577209)

              Right now where I'm living, I've got basically 4 choices.

              Legal choices. If you remove that condition, you can get all the TV you want with no regional limitations of any kind, and with no advertisements of any kind. I have seen a few shows that even have those annoying overlays removed and replaced with less obtrusive blurring. Those choices are quite numerous as well. I would not touch PirateBay with a 10ft pole. Probably completely infected with god knows what. There are plenty of smaller membership only sites that heavily restrict upload rights to a minority of members that prove they can keep delivering quality uninfected data on a regular basis.

              Last time I paid for TV for the end of 2006. Since then I have enjoyed endless TV, barely even 2 hour delays from when new popular TV episodes are released, and ZERO commercial advertisements. It's like the promised land.

              I look forward to something like ZillionTV where I can choose to support the shows directly and in return receive the right to watch the show completely free of all advertisements. I like that idea. If I pay $50 a month I get see no advertisements.

              P.S - I don't feel guilty for even a nano second. I still pay to buy and/or rent all my movies, most of the stuff I watch is recorded from over-the-air digital broadcasts, and I keep my hard earned money to spend on boxsets for TV shows now. I am still supporting the artists with my wallet. Just not this ridiculous distribution scheme where they pimp my eyeballs out to anyone who wants them.

              Right now, it's more like pay $100 a month to give them the right to sell your eyeballs.

          • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:40PM (#28577151)

            DVDs with unskippable ads

            All DVDs have skippable ads.

            Just use DVD Decrypter and remove all the PUOs (Prohibited User Operations). Eliminate all the previews, ads, FBI warning, and the other crap along with it.

            There are a ton of media devices available, and soon to be available, that you can directly load the DVD image file off a networked drive and view it. HDMI even.

            I do this for every single DVD I get. In fact, if for some reason I can't add it to my digital library, I RETURN IT. It's not worth it.

            • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:46PM (#28577497) Homepage Journal

              I'm willing to bet that your DVD decrypter takes longer than just sitting through the ads one time. I'd rather just get a player that ignores those flags.

              Anyways, the point would be that we have to discourage this sort of stuff, or they'll just keep getting more and more intrusive.

              DVD decrypter, editing the film works for current, separate ads, but it doesn't work for product placement where the ads are actually incorporated into the actual show. Everybody drinking various coke brands with no sign of pepsi, perhaps.

              I returned a DVD once for the 'excessive ads' - I actually timed it at 17 minutes, ALL set unskippable. And this in the USA where they don't want to let you return that stuff. I eventually complained enough, though.

        • by Golddess (1361003) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:04PM (#28576983)

          You can watch public television for free and get ads, or you can pay money to watch even more channels than you can get OVA and get ads except on the premium channels where you really are paying for the content and not just the delivery of it.

          FTFY.

        • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted @ s l a s h d ot.org> on Saturday July 04, 2009 @04:21AM (#28578653)

          Nope. They are not for free. Who do you think pays the money that Google wants for those ads? You, when you buy the product.

        • by selven (1556643) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @05:45AM (#28578903)
          Sure, companies don't reduce all their prices when they implement ads, but that doesn't mean products aren't cheaper than they would otherwise be.
      • by delphi125 (544730) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:28PM (#28576829)

        That aside, isn't this patent a good thing? It means that only Amazon's products will be crippled with advertising inserted in this manner.

        Patents get licensed. In terms of your description, $10 product would get sold for $6 by other publishers - $5 "up front" and $1 to cover the patent royalty.

        Amazon has an interesting self-publishing business (forget what it is called and I'm certainly not going to advertise for them), but I can imagine them offering trade-quality books which aren't otherwise available (out of copyright, let alone print) at a discount if they can use 1 page in 20 for adverts.

        "The Scarlet Pimpernel" might be $10 if printed without ads, but less if the buyer chooses that option. Amazon could advertise it's own related goods (perhaps a Hornblower video, to suggest something not directly related but close enough) and provide a discount voucher (with unique code) either per book printed or per advert.

        Of course, some time soon, printing on demand will become efficient for individual books. If Amazon wants a slice of advertising in any of them, then a patent "works" - but as far as I can see it is a business method.

        In short: if they want to put ads in books printed to demand to cut end-user costs, fine. If every left=even page had an ad and books were free, I'd love it. But patent? Printed media have sufficient prior art for advertising, tyvm.

      • by ljw1004 (764174) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:33PM (#28576875)

        We will get to pay a third slice, when amazon licenses its patent to other parties and they increase their costs correspondingly!

      • by Swizec (978239) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:42PM (#28577165) Homepage
        Except it's far more likely they'll charge you $15 for the improved experience of an ad-infested book and earn another $15 through advertising. Why on earth would they decrease the price now that they're providing a new feature?
    • by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:04PM (#28576985) Journal

      Well the ads will cut the cost for you the consumer, at least that is what they will tell you.

      And besides they'll make sure there are no real alternatives to getting the book.

    • by westlake (615356) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @01:34AM (#28577999)

      Heck with digital distribution why even have ads on free stuff because the price of the device itself more than makes up for the minuscule price of transfer.

      The Kindle has sold about 800,000 units. Analyst: Kindle to reach 10 percent of Amazon's customer base [zdnet.com] [June 30]

      The vast majority of Kindle downloads are indeed priced at $9.99 or less (and a third of them are freebies)
      Amazon is subsidizing the cost of those $9.99 books, which means they're just barely profitable.
      Bernstein analysts Claudio estimate that Jeff Bezos and company record an operating profit of 61 cents on each $9.99 e-book they sell. But a $24.95 hardcover generates $4.25 in operating profit. That's a 7 to 1 ratio, and that can't continue, indefinitely.
      Like Your Kindle Books Cheap? Don't Get Too Used to It [allthingsd.com] [June 19]

      "Free Beer" is a time-honored way to build a market. But you can't freely distribute a third of your product - 100,000 titles - over the cell phone network and expect hardware sales to cover the bill.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:04PM (#28576329)
    I TRUSTED THE KINDLE!! Oh what a fool i am. capsssss
  • by Mad-cat (134809) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:15PM (#28576395) Homepage

    I wouldn't mind a tasteful, text-only add in its own table that doesn't interrupt the flow of the text I'm reading. I would mind full-image or full-page ads.

    I suggest doing it the way authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams used footnotes. Put an asterisk, add a footnote advertisement, and make it funny and in context with the text. Then I might actually buy whatever crap they're hawking.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @10:54AM (#28580147)
      "I wouldn't mind a tasteful, text-only add in its own table that doesn't interrupt the flow of the text I'm reading."

      I would. Books are the last advertisement-free stronghold, the last place we can turn for entertainment that does not come loaded with advertisements. There is no possible way to place a tasteful ad in a book, and the concept should be immediately dropped. Honestly, how greedy can these publishers get?

      I will not buy a single book from any publisher that engages in this practice (unless it is a used copy without ads).
  • by noundi (1044080) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:15PM (#28576397)
    The reason why patents, such as this fine example, exist is simple. It's so fucking retarded that whenever you want to argue against it you don't even know where to begin. Mark my words, soon you'll read a /. article saying that breathing oxygen has been patented, and that you'll have to pay royalties in order to exercise it.
  • Let them patent it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:16PM (#28576401)

    Seriously. It means that anyone else with this idiotic idea will have to pay a royalty fee, which should discourage them. Unless you want to fight a prior art campaign against Amazon, claiming magazines with ads are prior art. Either way the money will discourage people from trying and this idea will die a lonely death.

    Except for Amazon of course, since they hold the patent. But they can try it, and then they can see for themselves just how great this idea is when they launch it. It'll tank, hard. Nobody will want this.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:40PM (#28576585) Journal
      It wouldn't at all surprise me if somebody or somebodies, including the big guys, try hard to kill this one before it leaves the application phase.

      A huge percentage of web pages these days are dynamically generated, on demand, and includes ads. This patent could, plausibly, be seen to cover that. First, that provides a giant helping of prior art. Second, it means that there are loads of big serious companies who Amazon could theoretically go after if they got this patent.
    • by causality (777677) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:57PM (#28576675)

      Seriously. It means that anyone else with this idiotic idea will have to pay a royalty fee, which should discourage them. Unless you want to fight a prior art campaign against Amazon, claiming magazines with ads are prior art. Either way the money will discourage people from trying and this idea will die a lonely death.

      Except for Amazon of course, since they hold the patent. But they can try it, and then they can see for themselves just how great this idea is when they launch it. It'll tank, hard. Nobody will want this.

      That's the thing I don't understand, about all of these ideas. None of them come from overwhelming customer demand.

      Am I to believe that no one EVER gives them any suggestions, feature requests, etc.? Should I believe also that they never conduct any sort of market analysis, or hold focus groups, or otherwise try to find out what people already want so that they can come up with ways to meet that need?

      This is about control just like far too many things I hear about that come from either corporations or governments. For just that reason, it deserves to fail. Miserably. The problem is that there seems to be a long-standing tradition involving inherently failed ideas: when they don't work out, the perpetrator responds by trying harder instead of recognizing that the idea is a failed idea.

      I would like to find a reason not to agree with Bill Hicks and what he said marketers should do ("there's no fuckin' joke"), but I can't. "Ooooh, the anti-marketing dollar, that's a huge market ..." "OOOOOhhhh, the plea-for-sanity dollar, that's a HUGE market, HUGE!!"

      • There's two kinds of marketing: To people who want your product and can benefit from it, and people who don't and don't need it. The former kind is a legitimate career; there is a product, and people who want it, and you are merely connecting them. Examples include concert posters and ads with lots of specifications and a product picture with no boobies, e.g. for water pumps. The latter is a terrible scourge upon this planet, for example the ads for Pull-Ups training pants that STILL pop into my head for no reason at four A.M. AND I CAN PULL THEM OFF AND ON! Well, so can I, but I don't sing about it on television.

        I suspect that a lot of people would read books with interstitial advertisements if they got a substantial discount. I have to admit that I would love some way to defray the cost of paperbacks. I'm not interested in spending eight bucks on a book. Can anyone suggest any fantastic sci-fi authors who are self-publishing via internet? Not that I could really be let alone to read a book without repeated interruption at this point in my life...

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:20PM (#28576441)

    Calm down, and let us enumerate its qualities in regard to novelty and usefulness.

    Go ahead, you clowns first.

  • Sick of ads (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:24PM (#28576463)

    I am so sick of ads. Just yesterday I swore off using youtube, what with all their ads overlaid on top of videos now.

    I also recently compared the same exact video on hulu (which has ads) to itunes. The video from itunes was much, much better (sharper, better framerate) and no ads. Hulu video was complete crap - now way I could stand watching that. I'll gladly pay a reasonable price for a superior product.

  • Very telling ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:25PM (#28576473) Journal

    the content is fixed and, therefore, has not been adapted to modern marketing.

    So to them a book is nothing more than a marketing instrument.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:25PM (#28576477) Homepage

    I wondered what sorts of ads Google would put in Tom Sawyer. Cave tours? Paint companies? Anatomy textbooks? But I see that Google itself offers no paid links when I search on "Tom Sawyer."

    I wondered what sorts of ads Google would put in "The Pit and the Pendulum." Rat poison? Grandfather clocks? Surcingles... whatever a surcingle is? But I see that Google itself offers no paid links when I search on "The Pit and the Pendulum."

    "To Kill a Mockingbird?" No paid links. "Gargantua and Pantagruel?" No paid links. "Lolita?" No paid links.

    Inserting relevant advertising into books may be sooner said than done.

    • by GryMor (88799) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:57PM (#28576963)

      I just pulled an paperback from 2003 off of my shelf, it has the following ads in the back:
      Mercedes Lackey (19 distinct books)
      Eric Flint (15 distinct books)
      Classic Masters of Science Fiction Back in print! (15 distinct books)
      A page for 1632 and 1633
      Mary Brown (5 distinct books)
      Amazons 'r Us (The Chicks Series, 5 distinct books)
      Harry Turtledove (7 distinct books)
      Doranna Durgin's Fantasy (6 distinct books)
      Andre Norton (5 distinct books)
      Baen's Bar!

      So, at least for fiction it seems to be normal to have ads for the other books of the authors (this was 'The Shadow of The Lion' by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint nad David Freer), other authors from the same publisher and some additional resources from the publisher.

      If for example, Amazon were to insert ads for other HP Lovecraft books into the back of an HP Lovecraft book along with books inspired by the Mythos, this seems reasonable.

    • by PPH (736903) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:08PM (#28576999)

      I wondered what sorts of ads Google would put in "The Pit and the Pendulum."

      Zoloft.

    • by Rix (54095) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:09PM (#28577291)

      It's not all that surprising that no one's interested in buying space on the search terms you listed (Amazon won't allow affiliates to do that, fyi). If you put the text of those books on a page with an adsense box, I'm sure Google would find something to put there.

  • by A Pancake (1147663) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:26PM (#28576485)

    Reading books with ads in them? No thanks. I'll be off to the pirate ba... shit.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:32PM (#28576527) Journal
    I think I'd like to "adapt" the inventor's face to the realities of modern marketing... With a cluebat.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:36PM (#28576563)

    I think I saw something like this about 25 years ago in some German trashy SF. The story had seomthing about food and then the next page there was an ad for "Heisse Tasse" by Maggi or such a thing.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:43PM (#28576601)

    I dont really ever remember seeing and advertisement in ANY BOOK I have ever purchased. I'm sorry Amazon. Blow it out your ass. I'll stick to paper backs rather than your greed infected E-book.

  • by blcamp (211756) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:44PM (#28576607) Homepage

    ... for filtering book (and book advertiser) content through human decision-making processes.

    • Oh Yeah? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:10PM (#28576741)

      ... for filtering book (and book advertiser) content through human decision-making processes.

      I claim MY patent for "a method of monopolizing obvious ideas for which there is lots of prior art by means of convincing the Patent Office that the same old idea, when done with a computer, is somehow radically different and worthy of being treated like a new and innovative invention."

      The way I see it, I should make billions. BILLIONS!!

  • by agrippa_cash (590103) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:51PM (#28576637) Homepage
    I've already started going through old software patents and adding "in the real world" to them. My one-click vending machine should allow me to buy an island.
  • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:57PM (#28576679) Journal
    "Patent" my ass. What I would like to send them is a bag of burning dog shit on their front porch for even suggesting such an idea! It seems that every day we really are coming closer and closer to the insane world of the movie Idiocracy; these bastards want to put fucking advertisements on bloody everything! Them, them, fuck them!
  • by meerling (1487879) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:21PM (#28576799)
    That's one more reason to endorse the institution of a National Marketing Weasel Hunting Season.
    No limits, tags, or licenses needed.

    I guess for safety's sake, we'd have to use nerf guns, or maybe supersoakers loaded with red ink.

    The more adventurous could shoot them with cameras and post the photos on a Webpage of Shame with hints on where to find them for further nerf action.

    >^_^\
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:43PM (#28576915) Homepage Journal

    Is a kick in the teeth. Good way to lose business.

  • by Nyckname (240456) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:58PM (#28576967)

    I remember ripping ads out of the center of paperbacks thirty years ago. Without "on demand" they'd have that pesky prior art thing to deal with.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:59PM (#28576975)
    I hope they have a good explanation of the difference between a magazine and a book, because non-fixed media magazines with changing ads are incredibly common. Of course, I've read several books online with ads in them [webscription.net] also, so either way, the prior art in this is massive and common.
  • by miller60 (554835) * on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:19PM (#28577059) Homepage
    Not sure if this serves as prior art re e-books, but Chris Whittle was including ads in books in the late 1980s [nytimes.com], before Amazon was launched and e-books existed in a meaningful commercial form.
  • by russotto (537200) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:51PM (#28577191) Journal

    Sure, it's a stupid patent. Sure, it merely applies existing general techniques to a specific domain they were already applicable to. But as far as I'm concerned, Amazon can have this patent and have it forever. Then I'll know if I get e-books from a competitor, there won't be any stinking ads in them.

  • ... that MAGAZINES are not sufficiently unique from books in this context, and there are MOUNTAINS of prior art for inserting advertising into them.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:58PM (#28577225) Homepage
    I think people have already invented this. It is called Readers Digest. Merely switching from a magazine format to a book format is irrelevant, particularly because it is coming in electronic format, not paper.
  • by rossdee (243626) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:06PM (#28577269)

    They will patent 'inserting ads into newspapers' and magazines.

    There goes my day job.

  • by fluch (126140) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @01:58AM (#28578107)

    One more reason not to jump onto the e-book hype! ;-) (Not that I hadn't had enough reasons already.)

  • Better idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SilverJets (131916) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @02:50AM (#28578295) Homepage

    How about putting ads inside ads? Take a look at an ad, any ad. Open a magazine and look at an ad. Look at all that space in there. Plenty of room to jam another ad right in the middle. TV? Sure, lots of space to cram another ad inside an ad. Use picture in picture. Heck, you could cover the first ad entirely with other ads using picture in picture and depending on the size of each extra ad I bet that you would more than double your money! Radio? Heck yeah. Lot's of space. Just cram the words for another ad into the spaces between the words of the first ad. The possibilities are endless!

    Ads inside ads. I'm running to the patent office right now!

  • by dunkelfalke (91624) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @03:23AM (#28578419)

    The german Heyne Verlag used to insert adds with a similar technique into early BattleTech books. There was only one such add in them but it was so obtrusive that I swore never to buy the advertised product - an instant soup of some kind.

  • One more reason to be glad that Kindle is still not sold in Europe. Amazons eBook strategy is just disgraceful in all aspects and every day the Kindle start in Europe is delayed is a good day for eBooks and it gives the competition here another day head start.

    I just hope that by the time Amazon's Kindle makes it out of the US they have lost so much ground that they never be able to catch up.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted @ s l a s h d ot.org> on Saturday July 04, 2009 @04:15AM (#28578625)

    The earlier we have a way to let some idiot sue everyone on the planet for putting ads in their books, the better.
    Now all we have to do, is not buy amazon ebooks, and anonymously inform amazon, that their sales go down because of other companies selling cheaper books with ads in them.

  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @04:55AM (#28578775)

    If Amazon monopolizes placing ads in books, I'm all for it. A lot of their other patents are on equally annoying behaviors, so they are good because they keep other companies from doing these stupid things.

  • by benow (671946) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @06:07AM (#28578959) Homepage Journal
    I wonder who owns the patent for suppressing vomit at learning of the notion of ads in books.
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @06:48AM (#28579083)
    I've got books going back to the 1920's at least that have adverts at the back for various semi-related products. I've not seen ads in the main book text before but adverts in general have been there for quite some time.
  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @08:16AM (#28579343)

    Oh, how my heart yearns to see this happen.

    Romeo, oh Romeo. [Buy the NEW Alfa Romeo Mito [alfaromeo.com] ]
    Wherefore art thou Romeo? [Visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art [metmuseum.org] ]
    Deny thy father, and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and i'll no longer be a Capulet. [Need your ads to be seen? Visit Capulet Communication [capulet.com] today!]
    Thou are thyself though not a Montegue. What's Montegue? [Is your bicycle taking up too much space? Get a Montague folding bike [montagueco.com] ]
    It is not hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face....nor any other part, belonging to a man. Oh be some other name. What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. [Why not surprise your partner with a large buquet of roses? Order online from Fleurop Interflora [fleurop.com] ]
    So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dera perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, and for thy name which is no part of thee, take all myself.

    I suppose Macbeth would fare even worse:

    Is this a dagger which I see before me, [Need a new kayak? Visit Dagger Kayaks [dagger.com]]
    The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. [Are you suffering from erectile dysfunction? Ask your doctor about Viagra [viagra.com]]
    I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. [Halucinating again? Why not try Zophitin [zophitin.com]? An Amazing 100% Guaranteed Treatment for Schizophrenia!]
    Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
    To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
    A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
    Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? [Don't miss Heatstroke [imdb.com] tonight on HBO]

    I have to leave the stage to Bill Hicks and his thoughts on marketing [youtube.com]

  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @08:33AM (#28579399)
    ... the E in E-Book stood for electronic. Turns out it's Evil.

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

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