Friday, August 20, 2010

Not a good idea

Slashdot is reporting that Amazon is considering placing advertisements in their ebooks to keep prices low and up the amount of profit from their sale. 

Let me be clear:  If Amazon does this, I will stop buying ebooks from them, period.  There are more than a few publishers and sellers of ebooks that I can go to other than Amazon.  If all of the book sellers I use start including advertising, I will stop using electronic media to read books.

To put it bluntly, I hate commercials. 

I read books for escapism.  I'll be the first to admit that.  I read so that I can stop concentrating on the real world for a while and either learn something or be entertained.  You cannot swing a dead Windows box around without hitting an ad or product branding in almost every other form of electronic entertainment.  My dead tree magazines are almost half full of advertisements.  I use an RSS reader in part because I don't want to wade through half a web page of banner ads and pop-up/-under ads that slow down my system.  I use the DVR on my cable box to record a lot of the programs I watch primarily so that I can fast forward through the commercials. 

When I go to the movies, there is now about 20 minutes of commercials and previews shown prior to the feature.  I pay about $60 a month for cable television, and I still have to deal with commercials, especially when I'm up late at night and can't sleep.  Ever try to find something interesting to watch at 2 AM?  Half of the channels have turned into a QVC shopping channel, or are given over to infomercials. 

So I read.  I used to read a lot more, but I still read as much as I can get away with.  The advent of the ebook and reader software on my phone have made it a lot more convenient to grab a few minutes to read a few pages.  I've started budgeting myself to four ebooks a month because I found the convenience of surfing Amazon or WebScriptions so easy to use that I found myself spending my entire personal entertainment budget for the month in an afternoon.

But I'm paying for the books.  I expect to be left alone to my thoughts when I read, not bombarded by still more ads.  If Amazon and the other ebook vendors have to raise prices a bit to keep the books ad-free, so be it.  I have a set amount each month that I spend on books, electronic or dead tree.  If the price of ebooks goes up, then I will adjust the number I buy accordingly, but I will continue to buy. If advertisements are mandated, that will dry up entirely.

Amazon, please don't kill the golden goose.  Housing the data for an ebook has to be cheaper than warehouses full of paper books.  Downloading a book to my iPhone has to be cheaper than shipping it to my house.  Amazon charges almost as much for an ebook as they do for a dead tree version, so their profit margin on them has to be at least as good.  Fill them with advertisements, and you will kill the medium.


bluesun said...

Dammit and I just ordered a Kindle...

Shannon said...

I've wanted a digital reader - I may find myself holding off to see what becomes of this. How aggravating.

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