- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2009

As commercials increasingly have invaded our space — with promotions popping up on everything from public restroom walls to egg cartons — literature has seemed the last refuge from the age of advertising. It might not be for much longer.

This month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published two patent applications Amazon.com filed in December 2007, revealing that the online retailer is interested in planting ads in books. The patents, “On-Demand Generating E-Book Content With Advertising” and “Incorporating Advertising in On-Demand Generated Content,” indicate the company might include ads in its Kindle e-Books and its on-demand publishing service’s hard-copy books.

The company seems to be trying to spin the possibility as a positive one for customers. The applications state that “a lower price may be offered to a consumer regarding a request for on-demand printed content if the consumer is willing to accept advertising in the printed content.”

Most intriguingly, the applications say the ads could be “contextually based on the requested content.” To see some ideas for Amazon’s advertising team, check out the illustrations above at right. (Click to enlarge illustrations.)

Kelly Jane Torrance


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