What I think @jwikert misses about Ads in eBooks

I agree that there’s no real reason to not have ads in eBooks. If I can continue to pay what I pay for an ad free version, or pay 1/2 the price for an ad supported book, fine, why not. Some people (like Joe it seems) are totally cool with that. So long as the consumer get’s to vote with their wallet, I’m cool.

Here’s what I think Joe misses from the consumer perspective. I have 2 points

Yes the idea of special discounts is enticing, but we all know that won’t be what we get all the time. Sure to start there will be lots of $10 gets you $20 amazon gift cards, etc. But what about when it’s simply $5 off pampers, or “Check out this new thing, special low price” or worse “Your ad here, advertise to thousands”.

That’s point 1. The ads won’t always be awesome special deals that you’d get no matter what. They’ll become ads. i know this because if nothing else, the wording says so. “…Sponsored screensavers…” that says nothing about special deals, or discounts, or coupon codes. Sure they’ll be there, some will be good (Joe’s fooling himself if he thinks these awesome deals will ONLY be on this platform, the great deals will be available elsewhere), most I’d argue will be “New Ford F150 go buy one!” No discount, nothing, just an ad. Mostly an ad for things we don’t want or care about. Their ads, how many ¬†commercials do you watch these days?


Point 2 is. In exchange for being marketed to every time I put my kindle to sleep (so it’s really every time I pick it up and put it down) I save $25 dollars on a kindle? My attention is worth far more than that. For such a trivial amount of money I’m selling my attention, and short of buying a new kindle, there’s no way I can change my mind. Let’s face it, if you’re buying a kindle, $25 is nothing. If you’re so cheap $25 is a make or break the deal point, you won’t be buying a kindle in the first place. Why not sell the ad supported kindle for $50, that’s enticing. That’s a low barrier. Kindle buyers aren’t looking to save small bits of money. Publishers have ensured we’re usually paying more for eBook, than for dead tree now.


I won’t go into ad fulfillment, but how many times can you see an ad for the new F150 before you hate Ford?

By the way, Joe and I have met, he’s an awesome guy, and we mostly agree on ebook stuff, lest someone think this is a snarky attack. It’s not.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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