Books: The Only Ad free Media Today

I discussed a little bit in my last post how media these days seems to revolve around advertisers. It’s no longer a system where content is created for readers, then advertisers pay to be seen by those reads. Now, frequently, content is devised to interest advertisers, since they pay the overhead costs, then it is ‘marketed’ to readers.

Most of our media today exposes us to ads. Conservative sources say the average American is exposed to at least 347 ads a day – but other estimates are as high as 3000 ads. Newspapers, magazines and websites all expose us to them. The only media source that doesn’t expose us these days is books – except for the few pages at the back that tell us other books the publisher thought we might like.

Maybe that is part of the reason e-books and e-book readers haven’t caught on as much as their manufacturers might like.

Books are the one media that consumers really expect to be what THEY want. They aren’t personally interested in book brands – most readers couldn’t tell you who publishes their favorite books. They read because they enjoy it, because it provides a longer escape from reality then a magazine. So, any attempts to change this reading behavior is sure to be slow. And it needs to really consider what readers want and how they use books. (Bnet recently wrote an article on this).

There isn’t really anything stopping publishers from creating a corporate ‘brand’ but the closest thing we see in todays world is book clubs (ex. Oprah’s Books club) and book lists (ex. NY Times Bestseller).

Part of the reason for this is that the majority of their profits come from bookstores buying stock. E-book reader manufacturers have focused too much on two main points, as Bnet mentions here:

“E-book manufacturers have focused on two basic concepts: customers can carry around as many books as they possible want without any added weight, and downloading titles becomes instant gratification. That pair might be compelling to some customer segments, but not everyone feels the need to have an entire library on-hand with further titles immediately available.”

This requires new ‘stores’ (often websites) to sell e-books directly to consumers; or for publishing companies to sell directly to consumers themselves directly through the device. However, I have yet to see any reason that reader devices couldn’t include (and several do) USB ports, etc for downloading e-books from computers. Is there a reason bookstores couldn’t provide a console that ‘sells’ e-books? Readers could visit the traditional book store and ‘plug-in’ to download books. They could browse in the store … stores could post signs next to the physical books ‘also available in e-book format’ and readers could then download to devices.

Furthermore, I haven’t see any of these readers for sale at bookstores. Kindle is only available from Amazon, and Sony sells in Best Buy … if you’re trying to sell books, wouldn’t it be logical to sell them in a BOOK store?

Other Posts on Ebooks:
Ebooks Vs. Paper
The Newest Market (ebooks for free)
Ebook Standards
Why They Got it All Wrong

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One Comment on “Books: The Only Ad free Media Today”

  1. jennpulse Says:

    Actually, I think you have a good point. Also, I love the feeling of holding a new volume of a series, or just a regular, newly bought book, right in my hands. Until you finish it, it feels like a child you can’t be separated from. But that’s just me, of course.

    Also, I’ve seen Palm-pilots, you know, like PD A’s. I don’t have one, but I’ve fooled around with them enough to know that you can download books to read on there. And this was before the whole ‘e – reader’ hype showed up. Like, years before.

    Besides, after staring at a computer/TV/game boy screen all day, it can really do damage to your eyes, make you restless, and all the other bad stuff over paid doctors warn us about. Except this time, they’re more in the right, provided you spend six hours in front of a screen or so.


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