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Yahoo applies for e-book advert patents

Readers willing to put up with more advertisements could get a great deal on a new novel, thanks to patent applications filed by Yahoo for ads in e-books.

The proposals suggest a new system of selling e-books that would allow users to choose how much to pay for a book based on the number and positioning of ads within the text.

“Greater levels of advertising, which may be more valuable to an advertiser and potentially more distracting to an e-book reader, may warrant higher discounts,” said the paperwork filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week. “Higher frequencies may even be great enough to allow the e-book to be obtained for free.”

Amazon and Kobo currently offer advertising on their e-readers in the US, displaying large ads when they are switched off and showing smaller adverts on menu screens. However, the move to incorporate adverts directly into books could boost Yahoo’s revenues as the company doesn’t currently offer ads to the e-book market.

Methods of advertising suggested in the patent applications include offline or online advertising such as hyperlinked words, inlaid text, graphical advertisings, video or audio and ads targeting specific text.

“In some embodiments, advertising can be based on a mood and setting of content being accessed. For example, if the setting includes young characters, a Coke advertisement could be provided, inviting the reader to enjoy a glass of Coke with his or his book, and providing a graphic of a cool glass of Coke,” one suggestion said.

According to the proposal, readers could even select adverts based on their class: “As a simple example, high class advertising may include generally high-impact or highly targeted, relatively desirable advertising. Middle class advertising could include everyday types of advertisements, such as advertisements for everyday products like pizza, etc. Lower class advertising could include advertisements that may be pervasive or generally undesirable, such as teeth whitener advertisements, ‘lower your mortgage’ type advertisements.”

Those selecting lower class ads could even get their ebook cheaper thanks to “a higher or increased discount”. 

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