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Books Media Patents The Almighty Buck

Amazon Wants Patent For Inserting Ads Into Books 219

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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  • 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 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 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.

  • Re:How Pointless.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cupantae ( 1304123 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <llienoram>> on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:48PM (#28576625)

    I disagree with your point that you can pay in two halves in this manner. To me, it's a matter of courtesy and respect. A company should treat its customers well, and to ask someone for payment in money AND annoyance is just wrong. A customer might say "well, at least it's free," if it's got ads inside or else enjoy a product that allows her a bit of dignity if she has to pay, but to ask for both is a bit insulting, don't you think?

  • 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!!"

  • Print books had ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by henni16 ( 586412 ) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:36PM (#28576887)

    There were (are?) real books with ads.

    Maybe it was only done by a handful of (German?) publishers, but I remember going through my parents bookshelves and flipping through some paper back whodunits and some had one or two pages with ads, sometimes in context to the story. i.e. making a reference to the story.
    A little bit like with old time radio shows: "While $detective leans back with a $cigarette, waiting for the guy to leave the house again, why not get yourself a $cigarette with their unique flavor and our special brand of cancer.."

  • 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.

  • Re:How Pointless.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:08PM (#28576997)

    Can't we just start burning Amazon marketers?

  • 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!

APL hackers do it in the quad.