Do Ads Belong in Books?

After Daily Lit’s decision to start including ads in their serialized books, discussion about whether or not ads belong in books began again in earnest.

It’s not the first time that books have been used as a medium for advertisements. During the second World War, cigarettes, toothpaste and other essentials (?) were posted in the fronts and backs of paperbacks. Thanks to Paul Raymont for the images.

It’s not the only old idea that Daily Lit is reinterpreting for today’s reader. The whole concept of book serialization brings to mind Dickens at the turn of the century, or women’s magazines in the 1950s. And in the digital age, where consumers demand and expect a great deal of online content for free, is this really such an unreasonable pay-off? As a consumer, you offer your eyes to (targeted) ads in exchange for free books?

From Crain’s New York:

“Our sponsorship program is designed to be a win-win-win initiative,” said DailyLit co-founder and Chief Executive Susan Danziger, in an e-mail. “Customers can read great books by renowned authors for free; publishers/authors receive incremental revenue; and a sponsor’s brand is exposed to customers daily over a period of months or even years.”

Fittingly, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was one of the first two sponsored books on Daily Lit.

Want to hear more? Susan Danziger is going to be speaking at the BNC Technology Forum 2009.