breaking away from the pack

Will You Pay Less for an eBook with Advertising, Product Placement, and Social Media Gaming?

By on February 4, 2011 in Publishing Revolution

Nicolas Croce recently posted his article “Fighting E-Book Piracy with Advertising” on the Gatekeepers Post. Once considered an oddity and an impediment to the reading experience, advertising and other forms of monetizing eBooks, now appear to have a future in creating a business model for publishing that both rings the cash register for publishers and authors, and delivers an enhanced reading experience for readers.

Get Ready for Ads for Books …. This is by far the most far-reaching and insightful article I have read on the subject, by Ron Adner and William Vincent. In their Thursday, August 19, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal, they posit the inevitability and practicality of advertising in books.

Get Ready for Ads for Books — To read the full article you will have to be a subscriber to the WSJ or have access to databases such as you can find at your university library. You may also be interested in Amazon’s in-book advertising patent for Kindle. You can read about it in the CrunchGear article “Amazon Applying for In-book Advertisement Patent for Kindle” .

When Amazon takes this opportunity seriously, it behooves all of us to take notice and respond appropriately. I have noticed, as an eBook publisher, Breakaway Media, that there is considerable price sensitivity among eBook buyers, and that is becoming more the norm.

When I dropped the Kindle price of two thriller novels from $2.99 to $0.99, the sales tripled or quadrupled. It remains to be seen whether the volume will make up for the higher price point, but I think it will. I would rather have more readers reading our books and make the same money, or more, than stick with a higher price point and have steady sales where the audience and fan base is not growing.

So, while advertising does promise a way to bring down the price of eBooks, the question remains, what is the viability of advertising in eBooks and will it prove to be a successful business model?

Perhaps a better question to ask (on Quora?) would be, “how could a larger and more encompassing model to include corporate sponsorship, product placement, and social media gaming ring the cash register for authors and publishers while delivering an enhanced, more valuable experience for readers?”

eBook packaging is in its infancy yet promises explosive growth as technology opens up new avenues for content distribution and monetization. You can read more in the article “Another Take on eBook Packaging”. What do you think of these possibilities?

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