Franklin Countys First News

E-Book advertising?

Anyone wondering how e-books will really bring progress to the act of reading need wonder no further. Just read the quote below from July 7th's Shelf Awareness.

"Amazon.com is applying for several patents on ads in e-books, according to Slashdot, which has links to the Patent & Trademark Office (old fashioned) paperwork. One example: "For instance, if a restaurant is described on page 12, [then the advertising page], either on page 11 or page 13, may include advertisements about restaurants, wine, food, etc., which are related to restaurants and dining."

What a fabulous idea, but why stop there when digital texts can do so much more? Thirty second video ads when readers access a new chapter are a sure thing, of course, but what about hyperlinking the text itself? Who wants to read this by Virginia Woolf...

"The wheelbarrow, the lawnmower, the sound of poplar trees, leaves whitening before rain, rooks cawing, brooms knocking, dresses rustling--"

When you could be reading this...

The wheelbarrow, the lawnmower, the sound of poplar trees, leaves whitening before rain, rooks cawing, brooms knocking, dresses rustling--

What an improvement! I mean to say what well turned phrase isn't made more sublime by turning a profit at the same time. For example E.R. Eddison's lovely prose can easily be embellished thus...

With such fancies, melancholy like a great bird settled upon his soul. The lights flickered in their sockets, and for very weariness Gro's eyelids closed at length over his large liquid eyes; and, too tired to stir from his seat to seek his couch, he sank forward on the table, his head on his arms.

Fabulous. One thing I'm sure of is that if Richmond Lattimore had been asked what his one regret concerning his magnificent translation of Homer's Iliad was, Lattimore would have opined the lack of advertisements linked to the text. How sad it is that he didn't live to experience the following...

Then looking darkly at him spoke resourceful Odysseus:
'Son of Atreus, what sort of word
escaped your teeth's barrier?

Setting a book down to absorb a compelling passage will be a thing of the past. Who can pause to reflect while he's pausing to watch commercials on his e-reader and making purchases between sentences. We'll all be too busy interacting to be reflecting. The term reading itself will probably have become passe at that point. Hmmmmn. Greading?

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3 Responses »

  1. I have just forwarded this terrific article to the Executive Director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Association in the hopes that she might make it available to anyone in Maine who doesn't already visit us here at the Daily Bulldog. Kenny Brechner's thoughts are particularly relevant to a grant the MWPA has just received to bring attention to Banned Book Week when it occurs in September. The focus of the MWPA program will be Ray Bradbury's 1953 classic, Fahrenheit 451, and after rereading it this past weekend I am certain that Mr. Bradbury would be in complete agreement with whats been written here.

    At the Daily Bulldog we hope to do our part in supporting the MWPA program here in Franklin County. We hope that as many people as possible will take the chance to reflect on freedom of expression and censorship and the value of literature. When all is said and done though, I'm not sure anything will highlight the importance of literature in our lives in the 21st century any better than Kenny Brechner has done here.

  2. Kenny, this was hilarious -- and I enjoyed it even more when I figured out that the hyperlinks were real. Richmond Lattimore may be rolling in his granite sarcophagus, but perhaps there's an Elysian version of Prozac to calm his melancholy.

  3. Thanks Kathy. My hope is that is that the ambrosia and nectar Lattimore is enjoying is sufficent to salve his unrest!

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