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Free E-Books, With a Catch — Advertising

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the I'd-take-that-deal dept.

Advertising 194

Velcroman1 writes "Barnes & Noble may kick off a fresh price war today for digital book readers, with its new Nook news. But the real news in digital publishing is a novel approach to the e-books themselves: Free books — with advertising. The basic idea is to offer publishers another way to reach readers and to give readers the chance to try more books — books that perhaps they wouldn't normally peruse if they had to pay more for them. Initially, Wowio specialized in offering digital versions of comic books and graphic novels, usually formatted as Adobe PDFs. So it was a natural step for the company to offer graphic ads that are inserted in e-books. 'We think we're creating a broader audience for some of these titles,' Wowio's CEO Brian Altounian told me. 'I think folks are going to download more books because they're saving the costs' of having to drive to the store or pay more for them. Would ads stop you from reading?" The new color Nook goes for $249, and comes with a browser, games, Quickoffice, streaming music via Pandora, and an SDK; reader itwbennett links to an analysis of how well it stacks up as a tablet.

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oh boy (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033950)

"It was a dark and stormy beautiful downtown Vegas!"

Re:oh boy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034142)

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better McDonald's... I'm loving it!

Re:oh boy (4, Funny)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034500)

Cry 'havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war ...only at

Re:oh boy (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034824)

To Be Or Not To Be...are you feeling blue? Ask your doctor if Cymbalta is right for you

Seriously if they can use ads to get the price down to the magic $100 number I'll be happy to buy eBooks from B&N. Hell I'd even set up an account for my mom and she could buy all her fantasy and horror from them and she could try out ad supported new authors before deciding which ones she likes. I'm sure it won't be long before the Linux guys hack the thing so I'd have a cheap tablet to play with, and mom could have hers as just a eBook to carry when she is at the docs or waiting for her paperbacks to arrive. I would have said B&N would be DOA 6 months ago, but if they can get these suckers down to the right price point I could see them taking off. At $250 it is too close to netbook price, hell I can get a 7 inch Android tablet for $160 [] , but if they got it to $100 it would be worth it as an impulse buy for me.

Re:oh boy (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034786)

"Call me Ishmael. Some years-never mind how long precisely-having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. AND YOU CAN TOO WITH INSANELY LOW CRUISE RATES FROM TRAVELOCITY.COM!!!"

Did the editors even READ the article? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033966)

There is no price point set for the nook yet. The $249 was the "widely speculated" price, not based on anything but guesses at this point.

Re:Did the editors even READ the article? (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033978)

And obviously I'm a fucking retard as well, the first article cites the "speculated price" but the second one actually links to the real nook. Maybe I should apply for a job as a slashdot editor.

Re:Did the editors even READ the article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034332)

And obviously I'm a fucking retard as well, the first article cites the "speculated price" but the second one actually links to the real nook. Maybe I should apply for a job as a slashdot editor.

There, there ... there's the door, don't let it hit your ass on the way out!

Just kidding. Anyone can make a mistake. It doesn't make you a retard.

Re:Did the editors even READ the article? (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034956)

"obviously I'm a fucking retard as well"

Why "as well"? Timoth was right, you were wrong and presumptious. It was just you.

"Maybe I should apply for a job as a slashdot editor"

Based on the editor getting something right and you getting it wrong?

Re:Did the editors even READ the article? (2, Insightful)

pacinpm (631330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035022)

And obviously I'm a fucking retard [...]

Because it's Slashdot you are probably just a retard.

Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

dmorin (25609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033972)

It'd be one thing if they just stuck a random graphic here and there. But I expect that the trend would go in the same direction as the multi-page web article. Namely, ads in between the pages that you can't skip. Can you imagine how annoying that would make your book? "I've discovered the identity of the murderer. His name is....." "...and now a word from our sponsor." Brings to mind archaic memories of old radio shows where you really had no choice. I suppose if it's still just another page, you can hit just as fast and skip it. But how long before an ereader has some sort of Flash-like ability to play a quick movie? And then you're stuck.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (3, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034058)

I suppose now is a good time as any to mention Project Gutenber [] .

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (5, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034116)

Project Gutenberg is excellent - but if we extrapolate the current rate of copyright expansion, books published this century may never enter the public domain.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034202)

Copyright expansion? What are you smoking? Given the current generations opinion of copyrights I'd expect them to go away by mid century at the latest. There haven't been any increases in recent years and the public opinion has been strongly for taking away creator's rights. Copyrights aren't all evil. Take them away and most writers are applying at Starbucks. Focus your ire at the corporate stooges that take away artist rights not the artists themselves. Without the artists there would be nothing to fight over. I'm fighting over creative rights as we speak. I'm sure everyone is tired of it but if you want to know what creative people go through check out what happened to me at

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034252)

I read your site. If this is, in fact, you, it sounds like a real shitty thing, assuming that you are telling the unvarnished truth.

However, it has nothing to do with artists' rights in a general or policy sense. This is just plain old theft and fraud. It could happen in a world with "more" copyright, "less" copyright, or maybe even with no copyright protection at all.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034340)

True - but for the moment, at least, one can occasionally find texts for which copyright has been snatched by US publishing pirates by looking at Gutenberg sites under different jurisdictions. A case in point is Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: copyright to Rosenblum in the US until at least 2044, but public domain in Australia (and probably Canada).

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034812)

Okay, that really confuses me. If a British novel is copyrighted in the United States, but publicly available in Australia, what are the legal boundaries? Is it legal to download it in the United States, as long as the uploader is in Australia? If not, then is it legal to purchase a copy of 1984 in Australia (where the copyright holder does not receive any royalties) and then transport it to the United States? ("I read it on the flight, Mr. Customs Agent!")

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035140)

Well I'm guessing that since it's about copyright as long as you create no copies within the united states you're good.
but then that's applying logic which laywers don't like doing.

So my guess is that if you ask a major copyright holder they'll tell you that anything up to and including mentioning that the work is out of copyright elsewhere is illegal and they'll happily push to try to get you punished.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034448)

Project Gutenberg is excellent - but if we extrapolate the current rate of copyright expansion, books published this century may never enter the public domain.

We just need an act of congress to reduce the term of copyright back to 20 years, and place all works published prior to 1990 in the public domain at once.

20 != The Answer (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034872)

I have only half-jokingly suggested reducing copyright terms to 42 years. Yes they ought to go down, maybe further eventually, but 42 seems like a good first step.
I wouldn't make it retroactive (ex post facto), but at least stop the extensions.

Re:20 != The Answer (4, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035160)

Given that the extensions of the copyright term were applied retroactively, I don't see the problem with retroactively applying a shorter copyright term. Particularly w.r.t. those works that has had their copyright term extended.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (4, Informative)

ratinox (582104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034636) [] and [] are also excellent sources of free ebooks, providing published, unpublished and public domain titles.

FWIW, personally I abhor ads and would seek to locate an ad-free copy of a given book before purchasing an ad-embedded copy.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034468)

While I haven't actually been able to find a free book on this service I have been getting "free ad-sponsored" music from Guvera [] and all they make you do is visit a sponsored playlist page within their site and the sponsor pays for your unencumbered MP3 music. The mp3s have no ads or DRM.
Apparently this model is working for music so hopefully with books it won't be too much worse.

On the other hand:

"I've discovered the identity of the murderer. His name is....." "...and now a word from our sponsor."

Sounds a lot like watching TV these days.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034502)

Damn... I can't imagine that. It's just like watching TV and having to sit through an ad. Something I don't do ever since I longer have a TV. Being forced to watch ads is becoming more of an alien concept to me. On the web I never read popups, popunders or sit through those ads they want you to see before reading. Once again they are reinventing the wheel, and remind me why I have abandoned TV.

The simpler and sources forums are usually the best, and I begrudge a device which I pay (or paid) for being hijacked for ads.

Re:Ewwww, imagine "can't skip" technology? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034506)

Or the book could dynamically update product placement... depending on how fast advertisers change, your hero could be spending more time being indecisive about his favorite coffee shop than getting around to dealing with the plot.

Great. (4, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033976)

So, is the idea to turn novels, anthologies and reference works into magazines?


Re:Great. (0, Troll)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034032)

Of course! And eventually they are going to want to put ads on your children to get rid of the cost of hospital bills.

Re:Great. (4, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034198)

Oh, so you've read the fine print in the Obamacare packages?

Actually, ads in ebooks is a natural progression, it's just returning to how literature used to be published. A lot of literary works have been published or serialized and published in magazines supported by ads.

Re:Great. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034342)

Beg to differ, Sir - ads in ebooks are most definitely not a natural progression (obviously). Otherwise, why would Wowio (stoopid *** name as well) be in process of being granted a "very broad patent" (link in summary above) for such?

You, Sir, are merely jealous that you never discovered this groundbreaking text+ad = Wowio patent license fee invention.

Re:Great. (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034510)

The only purpose for TV programmes, newspapers, magazines, news web sites, radio programmes etc. is to sell ads and make money.

Re:Great. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034122)

So, is the idea to turn novels, anthologies and reference works into magazines? Brilliant!

Wait until scientific papers will be the same. I can already see:

  • "Goldbach theorem demonstration" [] proudly brought to you by Coca Cola
  • "Heart diseases correlate weaker with regular tobacco smoking than with a fast-food diet" proudly brought to you by Reynolds.

    Errr... hang on...

Re:Great. (1, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034196)

Well, it would depend on what kind of books (and readers) you're talking about, right?

Your average reader of Clive Cussler and Twilight probably wouldn't care - and may even enjoy it. For them, reading is probably like watching TV or something. On the other hand, folks who read something a little substantial would probably care. A lot.

I can almost see someone advertising Glenn Beck and Palin to a Chomsky or Satre reader.

Re:Great. (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034226)

On the other hand, folks who read something a little substantial would probably care. A lot.

Thereby providing a rationale for further monetization: well, if you don't want ads you need to pay for the privilege, because, you know, you're costing us money by not directing your gray matter to absorb our advertising. This on top of whatever you paid for this "book" in the first place. Greed knows no bounds, and book publishers are among the most vampiric operations in our society.

It always amazes me how the business mind works. Like the phone company charging you for the service of not listing your phone number. Eventually, it becomes income to which they feel entitled.

Re:Great. (-1, Troll)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034520)

On the other hand, folks who read something a little substantial would probably care. A lot. I can almost see someone advertising Glenn Beck and Palin to a Chomsky or Satre reader.

Yes, but can you give us examples of something "substantial"?

Re:Great. (2, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034612)

Sure. Ask your Mom.

Re:Great. (0, Offtopic)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034728)

Wow. I knew Chomski fanboys were fairly rabid, but you just go above and beyond.

Thanks for proving my point, btw.

FFS (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033994)

Can we escape from the pervasive ads? Sure, people can choose to do whatever they well damn please, but I just don't want this to become the dominant mode of just about every business.

Don't we have enough weaseling in our life as it is?

Re:FFS (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034144)

Can we escape from the pervasive ads? Sure, people can choose to do whatever they well damn please, but I just don't want this to become the dominant mode of just about every business.

Don't we have enough weaseling in our life as it is?

Pay your book and be free of ads!!

(but not free to lend it to others. No, the book is licensed to you, you don't actually own it, you only pay for us not pestering you with ads... for now).

Re:FFS (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034336)

I wouldn't mind buying a limited book-reading license. But I'm not so keen on paying the same price as an actual book. Also, it should be advertised as such. "License to read with unlimited re-download access. Expires three months." or "tied to device, one download only" or whatever.

But those things are less valuable to most readers than a perpetual, transferrable license would be. The price should therefore be correspondingly lower.

Re:FFS (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034558)

That's the model that library ebooks currently follow: free, but they self-destruct in two weeks. Which I'm fine with, because I didn't pay for them. In general, I'll tolerate DRM on a rental because it simply enforces a rule that would exist anyway on a non-digital copy.

What I'm not fine with is DRM of any kind on books that I pay more than a trivial amount for, or ebooks that cost more than the paperback would (after subtracting a reasonable printing and shipping cost).

Re:FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034938)

Sure, just let me crank up my disassembler.


zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033996)

Gah. Looks like I'll be switching to kindle or sony when I get tired of my current reader. Hopefully I'm wrong about the jump to the backlit bandwagon, but it sure looks like they're trying to be an iPad, only less useful.

Advertising.. sure, why not. no-money books will be good for everyone. But why does the choice have to be between way-overpriced in terms of money, and overpriced in terms of time - advertisements. Why not just price the books at what they're really worth, and make it up in volume. Especially as the marginal cost of an eBook is almost entirely licensing. If eBooks couldn't be shared or copied, but were all between $1 to $3...

Re:DO NOT WANT! (4, Interesting)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034172)

Exactly my thoughts here [] - when it comes to price. I wrote that review specifically for Vietnamese students (tried to simplify the language as well as the issues I touch upon). The prices set by the publishers for the digital versions is just fucking ridiculous. The average salary around here is $300/month, but even if that was not the case, 13-15$ for a shitty novel by Danielle Steel? WTF?? Give me out of copyright classics for $1 (already freely available, but I would pay for the convenience of a one stop shop), $2-3 for contemporaries, $5 at most for real gems - and I wouldn't bother with piracy. Of course I know the reason for these (probably don't want to compete with their own established traditional distribution chains, ie dead tree book business), but that's besides the point.

Also, the stuff I wrote about e-ink vs. LCD - I know that many would find no difference between the two technologies, in other words, some people can read just fine on an LCD. I'm not one of them. For me, e-ink is far more pleasant to look at. Moreover, I started to go out for reading to breath a bit of fresh air and just be outside - sitting on the terrace of a cafe, in a park, on the beach beneath a shade... and that's where e-ink readers really shine and LCDs, including the iPAD, sucks balls. Indoors, in dim light/no light LCDs have an advantage, but I still find it better to use my Sony Reader with a lamp than reading on a screen with backlight.


MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034462)

You may well already know about it, but Project Gutenberg [] is an excellent 'one stop shop' for out of copyright literature. Combine that with online library access and it becomes pretty easy to keep an eBook reader (legally) filled without paying to do so.

That said, I quite agree with you that current eBook pricing is too high, and I think there's a lot of room for improvement in the market.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034818)

I may be wrong, it's been a while since I returned my Nook. (I couldn't get to grips with it being virtually impossible to take my physical library and put it on there. Even with the help of some less than reputable sources, some of those books are impossible to find digitally.) However, the classics were pretty cheap, around the dollar price point you mentioned. For example: 95 cents for the complete Wizard of Oz collection.

No kidding (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034496)

The whole thing that makes eReaders so brilliant is the reflective screen. I'm fine with backlit screens, but for laptops and desktops. For reader things, a reflective screen is the way to go not only for battery life but for all purpose readability as well. The Kindle really does look "like paper" they aren't kidding. That is what makes it nice.

it was.. (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033998)

only a matter of time. now if they could just get the hardware costs down a bit.

i really like regular books over staring at a screen, but even i might be tempted to try an e-reader if the price was right.

Re:it was.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034456)

I just bought a B&N Nook for $149. So far, I really like it a lot. If you ask me, the price is already right.

I know the Kindle is $10 cheaper, but it doesn't support epub format, which is the future of ebook formats. The Sony Reader doesn't have expandable memory and the Sony Reader Touch has a LOT of glare due to the touchscreen (which defeats the purpose of having an e-ink display). The Kobo is featureless and costs as much as a Kindle or Nook. The iPad is too expensive and lacks e-ink.

Re:it was.. (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034662)

Nope, you will drag me away from my collection of dead trees when I am a cold dead corpse.

Speaking of which, I am down to only a few books in my buffer, time to buy some more :)

Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034008)

"Wowio specialized in offering digital versions of comic books and graphic novels"

Just what the new Superman graphic novel was missing, a Viagra ad.

meh (2, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034024)

~$250 for a color e-book?

What am I gunna do with it, read "Go dog, go" and "wheres waldo"?

For $250, there better be a happy ending, and I dont mean a kids happy ending, I mean a massage parlor happy ending
Dont spend your money on crap, the Dollar is still worth something!

Re:meh (2, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034538)

But the color adds so much to the experience- it allows my pages to age and yellow like a real book! Not to mention how it should be able to display far more realistic coffee stains...

Let me be the first to quote John Gruber (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034030)

The Nook Color is slow painfully slow it makes me embarrassed for Barnes and Noble. Horrendous scrolling and zooming and touch responsiveness. Just horrendous.

Re:Let me be the first to quote John Gruber (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034286)

And let you be the last, dear god please make it stop

Good Grief (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034036)

Are we not all surrounded with enough ads yet? About the only place they're not yet is tattooed on the inside of our eyelids.

To the advertisers: STFU already!

Re:Good Grief (3, Insightful)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034150)

I don't know about other people, but if an ad is particularly annoying, I make a note to remember that company so as not to buy their products. Granted, it works the other way as well; if I see a particularly unobtrusive form of advertising or hear about a company doing something good, I make a point to check out their products and suggest them to friends. Word of mouth for me is much more effective than annoying popups and obtrusive, pushy ads. Those just make me hate you.

Re:Good Grief (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034262)

Same here. It's not advertising itself I object to, it's the excess of it. I also appreciate if they actually entertain. Of course, I have also seen attempts to entertain that fall so flat they become annoying.

Re:Good Grief (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034490)

Quite agreed. Unfortunately, many people are morons, and will thus respond to adverts of that type. Not only will they respond, their aforementioned idiocy makes them more likely to be talked into buying inferior, overpriced products that they quite possibly don't even need.

What surprises me more is not the bad adverts, but just how much our economy is based on advertising. TV, newspapers, sports & the majority of the internet all basically run on the assumption that the marketing is actually working. The advertisers keep paying with little tangible method to measure results, and I can never quite bring myself to believe the payoff is as good as they seem to think. Maybe I'm wrong - they're the millionaires, after all - I don't know, it just doesn't seem plausible that advertising can actually have enough impact to justify that kind of outlay.

Good Sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034512)

We've come to this situation because people don't want to pay for content. Put two plates of cookies side by side, both identical except one is free and the other $0.99. Which will be emptier by the end of the day? All else being equal the only way to even attempt to make money off the free crowd is to apply psychologically refined messages liberally till they lose the will to live and viola, a sale.

Re:Good Sale. (2, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034544)

Or they could try producing things people would actually pay for and foster an economy where people have enough money to do so...

A smart move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034106)

I would happily read books or comics with unobtrusive ads if it meant I didn't have to pay, and if obtaining them was simpler and faster than finding a pirated copy.

This is pretty much the only way the publishing industry will survive. The TV industry will eventually have to do something similar for streaming TV too.

Pengun patent? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034118)

Doesn't Penguin paperback books hold a patent on advertising inside novels?

great, now all we need (1)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034138)

is adblock for Nook!

Wowio? (2, Informative)

Cidolfas (1358603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034166)

The same Wowio who managed to not pay the webcomic authors whose work they were selling?

Re:Wowio? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034674)

Yup, the same in fact that limited their sales to US/Canada and screwed the few they did pay out of a large chunk of their reader base.

Nothing new about books with ads (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034186)

For decades one of the most-read reference books in my house was 50% ads and was free for the asking.

It was the city phone book.

Before you say "yeah, but you paid for it in your phone bill" you could get a copy for free without a phone by walking into the phone company office at the right time of year.

Yes (1)

pitterpatter (1397479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034208)

Ads would stop me from acquiring materials from that source.

Hope it's better than the Cruz (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034224)

This sounds alot like the Cruz reader at Borders. The device isn't even beta quality and shouldn't even be on the shelves. No access to the Android market. Crazy limited Cruz market with nonfunctioning search. Downloaded books errored out when trying to read at times. Turning the unit off and back on would reset my email prefs for sound and how often to check. Touch screen missed almost half my presses. Unable to install android apps using SD card. It complained no mem was available when the 4gb internal was largely untouched. I could go on. I even updated it to a very current firmware. You can't even create a borders account using the built in borders app without errors. I want to like android. I don't know if this is typical for these new android tablets or android in general. The iPad costs more, but if a trouble free user experience is what the user is after then it's worth it.

Actually this sounds alright to me. (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034242)

I don't know.. I hate advertising too, but think about it.. all the books I could read, legally free, and all I have to do is skip a few pages every now and then? This doesn't sound like a bad deal at all. Just like reading magazines, in fact, which everyone's already pretty accustomed to. If this means more books for everyone, bring it on!

Speaking of magazines, it only makes sense that mags would eventually start encroaching on the ebook platform. Heck, the fact that I currently can't read magazines on my reader kind of sucks, so again, bring it on!

Real Books (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034312)

I *will not* pay for eBooks that are any more DRM encumbered than a PDF with a password. But then, I *like* reading actual books.

Re:Real Books (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034606)

I think most people probably prefer paper for the actual reading experience (I know I do), but ereaders do have their advantages - the combination of a vast array of free classic content, the ability to download instantly from both local and international libraries and have the books 'return' themselves automatically, and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to carry a whole collection in a small, light unit was enough to convince me to get one. Considering what I'd end up spending even on out of copyright novels it's already working towards paying for itself surprisingly quickly.

I'm with you on the DRM issue, though. Fine for rentals/library borrowing, but totally unacceptable for something that I'm supposed to own.

Re:Real Books (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034672)

The problem for me is that the prices they want are way too high for a book you don't own. Now, if they were just a few bucks, I'd buy hundreds of them maybe.

iPhone/iPad uber alles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034300)

This, folks, is why Apple rules. Better hardware. Better software (faster, more secure, more apps, more EVERYTHING) etc.

How about free books? (3, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034304)

I know I found Robin Hobb's Assassin's apprentice and it's subsequent trilogies after it was put up for free on the publishers website. So for giving me 1 free book I bought 8 more and am still reading her latest stuff to come out since then. If I'd not of seen that free book I'd of never bought the rest.

Re:How about free books? (2, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034734)

Great series, I found them by referrals from friends. You know, switching off the computer, getting outside and, uh, talking to people :)

We regularly catch up and swap books around so that we all have something new and a little different to read.

Sometimes the best answers to these sorts of problems, isn't to make another computer solution.

No. Just no. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034314)

I read books to escape the monotony of real life. I do NOT want to be forcibly reminded of the outside world while trying to lose myself in a novel. So, in short, NO THANKS. I'd rather pay for my books.

Lending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034322)

So why not loosen the restrictions on lending ebooks and just insert ads into the lent copies? It allows the title to be passed further while still netting some revenue?

That's the one thing I don't get about the digital publishing arguments. It's like both sides don't seem to understand the other is required. Publishers seem to just want to magically print money and charge ridiculous prices, while consumers want everything handed to them on a gold platter for free. It's a co-op game guys, bout time it was played for a win-win.

AdBlock (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034354)

Awesome! Can somebody link me to AdBlock for Nook?

Would ads stop you from reading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034366)

YES! Ads are a deal-breaker. Period.

Tablet maybe... terrible book reader though (1)

sgent (874402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034376)

If you look at the spec's, it claims "up to" an 8 hour battery life with airplane mode, which is drastically shorter than current eInk based technology (I routinely get 25-30 hours of reading out of a nook easily with airplane mode on).

It is also backlit, which contributes to insomnia for those who read late at night or in bed (see La Times [] ).

I'd love to see a color, eInk based technology, but if I wanted a tablet instead of a ebook reader, I'd buy one. They both have their places, but LCD screens are not a substitute yet.

this FP for GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034408)

Already trying to happen (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034432)

Apparently, a week or two back, an ad agency contacted Neil Gaiman to see if they could get product placement in his next novel. He was aghast in the way that only mild-mannered, scary trousers [] authors can pull off.

Android (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034438)

Why block the Android market? If I could install Android apps, then it would be a cheap tablet and I'd gladly buy it. Without Android market, it is a one-off gadget and overpriced. Why intentionally limit a feature that would otherwise be a selling point?

Reviving an old concept (4, Interesting)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034534)

You young whippersnappers wouldn't remember this, but back in the Olden Days most deadtree books contained advertising. Paperbacks typically had a glossy insert in the middle (most often a cigarette ad), and hardbacks had several pages of ads in the back, usually something at least vaguely relevant to the book's content, and also sometimes ads for other books (and not only from that book's publisher).

It occurs to me that if ads were placed at the end of the ebook (much as ads in hardbacks used to be at the back of the book) there's incentive to improve content, to get the average reader to finish the book and see the ads.

Inventing some new concepts (2, Informative)

AlbionTourgee (918996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034852)

Meanwhile there are some new really interesting concepts in the ebook world, like free online reading coupled with new approaches to low-overhead publishing. See for example Libertary,, some more varied and interesting books and less hype. Libertary's developing a low-overhead publishing model that uses free online reading to generate interest in books as well as a bit more highly featured free reading model. Or, if you have good Chinese, check out, probably the largest book site in the world. Or of course there's always Safari. And Boing Boing opened their own book site today. So there actually is some really interesting stuff going on in the free books field.

Re:Inventing some new concepts (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034964)

All to the good. Thanks for the references. Goes to show there's more than one way to do ebooks.

Re:Reviving an old concept (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034876)

I have seen a few related ads in books, but I was thinking more generally: the "free with loads of ads" concept is not new or unique. :)

This is cheesy to put ads in what you read. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034590)

Books should be free if they're in e-format. Trying to charge for them when they can be distributed for free is cheesy. This is Cheetos cheesy, with one crunch you can't get enough, so stick a cheetah in your mouth. If books were free, education would be cheaper. I'm talking as cheap as Natural Light Beer. A cheaper education would mean more people would be educated. They'd be educated more than Leap Frog ever did with all their proprietary hardware. Look we got the hardware, because Intel, AMD and Apple are awesome inside. So the software should be free. People think things wouldn't be created anymore, and we fret that that another great song from Justin Bieber wouldn't be released. Yet if someone discovers something new like Newton, of Fig Newton fame.*end cheesiness* Who are going to keep the information to themselves? People are going to share new knowledge and become famous. And if they want to be as much of the corporate shill as the people trying to make the laws today, they can use their fame to make money. But I think the future is bright for people who share information and make it free. If education was free, the world would be vastly smarter. A smarter world researches diseases better. The downside to a smarter populace is they don't buy into corporate BS. There are people with a large amount of wealth to be lost if books were all free. This is the only reason it doesn't happen. Because some people are greedy. People don't say all books are free because there is a minority who wants to oppress the majority. Sure free books and free software would let 3rd world countries have education on par with universities, but greedy people would rather make money on their books. And a lot of the money isn't on innovations. This isn't really a rant as much as this is reality. We can change the future by donating time and money to free software. We can change the future by writing our own books and giving them out for free. This is my plan. I plan on making a couple bucks on Flash games, then I'll move on to re-writing books (similar books, just not plagiarized completely) for education. Finally I'll write custom software to help people learn.

This worries me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034638)

If this catches on at first it will be good. People will be able to read books for free in exchange for advertisement. But eventually people will become accustomed to it and then sellers will realize they could make more money if they just charged a little bit for the book. Then this model becomes the much greater profit maker and more and more sellers adopt this model until it's hard to find a book without it.

Finally, now that ads have become the industry standard there's no longer a reason to keep price low, so price slowly climbs back up to it's original level and now books cost the same as they did originally except you have to look at advertising.

As long as the ads are on the left page.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034642)

I would have no problem with that as long as the ads are on the left page..

Direct Sponsorship (2, Interesting)

SpectreHiro (961765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034670)

It seems most folks here are pretty disgusted at the idea of advertising in books, but how would you feel about direct corporate sponsorships conducted in a tasteful manner? Let's say your favorite sci-fi author's books were all released as Intel Presents or AMD Presents, similar to the old anthology shows from the '50s & '60s such as The Alcoa Hour, Kraft Television Theater, and the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse; would that inspire the same level of disgust?

I'm very interested in finding a way to distribute fiction for free without DRM, thus maximizing the value to readers, while at the same time raising some profit for the writer. Advertising seems to be the optimal way to get it done. The other leading contender would be the Ransom Model, but that has some inherent weaknesses that are rather difficult to work around. If you have other ideas, I'm absolutely all ears.

Re:Direct Sponsorship (3, Insightful)

charleylc (928180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034998)

Your idea has merit. It's much better than the more invasive ads that take up space and cause the reader to shift away from reading to looking at the ad because it just flashed or changed. I personally detest ads. The constant bombardment of ads for every imaginable product is annoying to say the least. Google has done a pretty decent job with the text ads that take up little space and are non-flashing. However, I much rather pay for a book than to have to suffer through advertising. Even watching Hulu annoys me with the ads that are placed in the shows. Although, that's better than regular TV, which not only has more advertising, but ads that blare at a volume much louder than the show that I'm watching. It drives me nuts and stirs feelings of wishing physical harm on those that perpetrate such underhanded, devious, and annoying tatics just to get their products noticed (or ignored because the volume is immediately turned down or muted). I guess it really has become a pet peave of mine. I personally feel that there needs to be more restrictions on what is and is not allowed with advertising. I'm positive that if any such measure were attempted that they would immediately scream about freedom of speech rights. I have seen the legislature efforts requiring the volume of television ads to be the same as the programming it accompanies, which I highly applaud - a nice step in the right direction. I guess I'm saying (albeit, in a round about way) that I would be willing to give something like you suggest a try. The less invasive it is, the better. It comes down to weighing pros and cons of being annoyed by ads but getting something without monetary cost vs paying for the product to be free from the pain of ads. If it's a toss up, then sure, I'd go for it. If the ads are too annoying, then no, I'd rather buy the book straight up.

Depends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034682)

There's a time and a place for both substandard "e-readers" and advertisement-laden crap.

I really don't give a crap what an O'Reilly book is presented on - I'm mining it for data, and frankly, digital is better since technology is constantly changing. Dead tree tech books are a stupid idea.

Donaldson? Tolkien? O'Brian? Anything else I'd choose for a cold winter afternoon in front of a fire, coupled with a mug of coffee that has been roasted to perfection?

GTFO, with both your e-crap and your advertisements, before I tell you where you might shove them, good sir.

At least it will be free... (1)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034686)

Unlike "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". That "novel" (since it was really just one long advertisement) was full of product placements, including an advertisement for a Swedish word processing package - complete with URL and price.

At least this way, when I'm blasted with advertisements, I won't have paid for the experience.

would ads bother me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034690)

It depends...if they are between pages, then probably not. If they are woven into the text of a page I'm trying to read? Screw that.

not novel.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34034702)

How is this a novel approach? Almost all content that is "free", does so by putting in ads. This is nothing new. Broadcast tv, iphone apps, radio, websites, etc. Is it really an innovation to do this with ebooks? I guess I should have patented the obvious.

but not in our dreams. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034962)

Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?
Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written on the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!

only for the ads (1)

Thraxy (1782662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34034984)

Well, given that the article says "books that perhaps they wouldn't normally peruse if they had to pay more for them", I might consider getting these books, only to see the ads. One can only speculate on the quality of the written works...

ad block? (1)

batistuta (1794636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035082)

Someone will eventually make an adblock either by hacking the format or by blanking the ad content fed via the network connection. I can't really guess how, but I'm sure someone will do it.

Or... (1)

Geminii (954348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035110)

You could ask the nearby library (remember those?) to get a copy of the book in, and then read it both free and ad-free.
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