HarperCollins, arguably one of the first major publishers to embrace ebooks rather than rail against them, is taking the love of digital reading a step further, and possible a step too far for some reader’s tastes. At their own internal e-reading conference, DigiFest, the discussion turned to the opportunity to sell add space within ebooks.
While even HarperCollins officials realize scrolling ads within fictional ebooks are probably not going to be well-received by readers, it was their belief that ads within non-fiction titles such as reference books could be beneficial, as long as the ads were pertinent to the subject of the ebook.
For example, ad space sold in a digital travel guide could hold some helpful potential, especially if the ads were for various opportunities or businesses at the destinations mentioned in the travel guide. A reader who had purchased the travel guide might actually appreciate non-intrusive and tasteful ads for lodging, restaurants, sightseeing, and more.
HarperCollins group digital director and publisher David Roth-Ey spoke with New Media Age about the recent consideration, saying, “Certain kinds of books create immersive reading experiences whereby ads would be too interruptive for readers, and publishers and even advertisers aren’t likely to put a premium on that. But information books, for example a Collins birds guide, could provide very valuable real estate for contextual advertising – in this case potentially a binoculars manufacturer.”
HarperCollins has produced some exciting digital reading content within its publishing house, and is scheduled to release an interactive children’s book app for iPad and iPad2 that allows the reader to personalize the ebook as well as record audio (iPad) and video (iPad2) of themselves reading it aloud for the enjoyment of the young recipient of the book.