Sunday, July 17, 2011

Egads! E-ads!

A recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal explored the potential of advertising in ebooks to offset sagging sales. Is this the future of book publishing?

The practice of selling advertising space in books is not new. I remember seeing ads inserted in paperback books in the 1970s. After the federal government banned tobacco ads on TV and radio in 1969, book and magazine advertising sales increased. At the time, some people argued that ads were aimed at kids, an issue that is still pertinent today

In the late 1950s, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care ran ads, including those from Carnation and Proctor & Gamble. Approximately 100 years earlier, advertisements were placed in a serialized edition of Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield.”

Do you think advertising will show up in ebooks? Or will product placement become the norm like it is in the movies, where the hero drives a certain type of car or drinks a particular brand of beer? Tell me what you think.

Write soon,



  1. Mary--

    First of all, clever title. The thought does provoke an "Egads!" from me as well.

    Secondly, I'm not sure about ads in ebooks. I don't read them often enough to be knowlegeable. But if product placement becomes important in books, it will be lost on me. Those kind of details would be lost on me and would not impact my shopping decisions.

  2. A 2001 Fay Weldon novel titled The Bulgari Connection used the jewelry company's name twelve times in exchange for compensation. At the time, the move was unprecedented, but maybe it was just ahead ahead of its time! According the Wikipedia (I know, I know) the story is about a woman's reintegration into high society after going to prison for attempting to run over her husband's mistress.

  3. Great title for your post, Mary.

    If there's a buck to be made, I'm sure someone will find a way to do it in e-books.