Does the Ad-Supported Kindle Go Far Enough?

There have been a wide range of responses to the announcement of Amazon’s new ad-supported Kindle release this past week.  For the most part, people seem to approve.  Amazon made a smart move when they decided to have the ads be unobtrusive and potentially personalized.  This leads me to wonder what the future holds as far as advertising subsidized eReading possibilities.

Let’s face it, it’s impossible to get away from ads on a day to day basis.  They’re all over the net, the roads, buses, walls, shipping containers…I could go on.  How much do we really care anymore, though?  The reason that this was such a great move for Amazon is that people are already so used to seeing ads and simply filtering them out without giving it much thought that this small addition won’t have any major effect.  It isn’t as if they were being placed in such a manner as to interfere with immersion while reading, after all.

I wonder how long it will be before we can get books with the same advantage, though?  Obviously, some people have already caught on to the potential and made a business model out of it (WOWIO).  It is demonstratively possible, therefore, to have an unobtrusive advertising presence in a book.  Not really that much different from your average paperback’s large note that it has recently been made into a movie or television show, when you think about it.  I’m really hoping this becomes a trend for the Kindle.

While I don’t support the inclusion of ads mid-text, I think most people would be willing to glance through one or two as they flip to page one of a new book if that meant that the book was cheaper or even free.  This could definitely work as a way to alter the existing Agency Model pricing scheme that makes eBook purchasing an almost comically overpriced experience from time to time.  Give users the option of the normal book for the usual price, but a copy with ads included for 50% off.  How many people will really turn down that opportunity to save money just because ads are obnoxious?

I’m not advocating the WOWIO model, necessarily.  I see this as having potential as a flag in the downloaded file that turns ads on or off on a case by case basis.  This would allow for the updating of advertisements from time to time and avoid the problem of outdated messages.  What would be the point of a sales announcement if you didn’t get around to seeing it until two months after the fact, right?

Still, the Kindle‘s new pricing due to ad inclusion is a huge step in the right direction.  If, as has often been speculated, Amazon is selling their products at or below cost then something needs to be done to drive the prices further down.  I know we’re all really hoping for those rumored free Kindles toward the end of the year, however unlikely the prospect.

2 thoughts on “Does the Ad-Supported Kindle Go Far Enough?”

  1. “There have been a wide range of responses to the announcement of Amazon’s new ad-supported Kindle release this past week. For the most part, people seem to approve.”

    You must be joking. You don’t have to look far–though perhaps beyond your own website–to read that this has not been welcome news to most consumers.

    Most comments suggest that ad-supported Kindles should be 100% free to consumers; not 25% off, not 50% off, but outright free. The broader consensus however, is that the idea of an ad-supported reader is just plain bad. The concept of ad-supported ebooks has been received only slightly more positively, but again on the condition that the ebooks themselves would be free.

  2. I don’t know about “most people”, but I find ads hugely disruptive and quite disturbing. When listening to the radio I change stations when ads come on. Even for public radio stations. I mute the TV when ads come on. I zip/skip through movie previews when watching VHS/DVDs. If I had a paint gun, I would splat ads glued to the supermarket floor. I have even ripped out ads included in some paper-back books (yes, adds stuck in the middle of the text, much like magazine inserts). Ads make me shudder.

    I know ads subsidize much of the entertainment we consume, but I for one would much rather pay a little more, and/or consume a little less, to have fewer ads. This may place me in the minority in this country, but I stand proud in disliking advertising.

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