Microsoft patent wants to fill your ebooks with ads

Ah, reading…  there’s nothing like relaxing with a good book as you immerse yourself in another world, free of life’s little annoyances, like advertisements. Obviously, it couldn’t last, and now Microsoft has a patent to make sure that they’ll have the right to deliver them and their ads will be contextual.

The new patent in question describes “Systems and methods for providing contextual advertisements to present to a user in association with electronic books.” As you can see from the illustration, the patent follows the same scheme that dominates online advertising; it combines a contextual profile about what a user likes, combines it with the content on the page they’re reading, and generates an advertisement that should, in theory, interest them.

The good news is that Microsoft doesn’t have any e-reading hardware or software on the horizon, and that big companies like Microsoft and Apple file a lot more patents than they actually use. But there is that partnership with Barnes and Noble. If this does end up happening, we hope they at least have the decency to charge a little less for their books. As cool as some patents are, this is one we’d rather not see - books are just too sacred to be defiled with advertisements.

Via: Engadget
Source: US Patent Office | Image via Engadget

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Black Mesa Half-Life 1 Source engine footage leaks [Update]

Next Story

IE 10 "Do Not Track" options for Windows 8 explained

31 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

soldier1st said,
How sad that companies must force ads on you. Better for adblockers.

Well, there's some cases where ads are okay. I've got no problem seeing them on the web, so long as they're not intrusive. But I don't think it's ever okay to shove ads in the face of someone who's already paid.

I thought the new tech industry was going to be privacy and anonymity...seems everything will be viewed as a luxury you must pay for to enjoy, like the "privilege" to simply not view advertisements even for things you've already paid for.
It'll start innocently enough, sort of like "Don't worry, we'll grandfather your data plan in, everyone will be happy". Can't wait for this "improvement"..

While I can't see any way to enjoy an ad while reading a book, this would make a ton of sense with ereader *subscription* content, such as newspapers and magazines.

Oops, wait, am I not supposed to look for gray areas and valid use case scenarios? I can never remember which communities are supportive of deeper thought and which demand knee-jerk hive mind reactionaries.

I have to agree. Advertisements are no place for books. BUT, if they're cheaper or half off when you buy the ad-enabled version, then by all means I hope they're successful. As long as one can pay a little more for the ad-free version. Eh, but even then that seems like a clever scam.

morden said,
oh but this is something google will pay a fortune, or at least can be taken to court ^^

Can't say that didn't cross my mind when I first saw it.

Oh no, ads! But don't worry, Google plastering ads all over the place is perfectly fine, patents to interrupt your phone calls with ads, they need to make money, you know. But Microsoft using ads, that is downright despicable.

Now if you will excuse me, I accidentally tapped on the word electronic above, and need to dismiss some ads.

nohone said,
Oh no, ads! But don't worry, Google plastering ads all over the place is perfectly fine, patents to interrupt your phone calls with ads, they need to make money, you know. But Microsoft using ads, that is downright despicable.

Now if you will excuse me, I accidentally tapped on the word electronic above, and need to dismiss some ads.


Two wrongs don't make a right--nobody is excusing Google from intrusive crap either.

Charisma said,

Two wrongs don't make a right--nobody is excusing Google from intrusive crap either.

No, two do not make right. And no, I don't want ads plastered all over my ebooks. However, you should look at some of the posts here on neowin about Google ads. There have been plenty of people who defends their ads appearing everywhere. Usually the comment is that Google makes all their money on ads, while Microsoft makes their money in other places. It was said just a few days ago, that the new Outlook.com shouldn't have ads, because Microsoft makes their money off of Windows/Office, and by having ads on Outlook.com (even though you need not purchase Windows/Office to use that site), Microsoft was being greedy. Look at all the shock and horror in the article a few weeks ago when Microsoft had a blog post describing how developers to put ads in their Metro apps, Microsoft is directly responsible for those ads, even though it is the developers are the ones who put the ads in their apps. There have even been a number of comments that Microsoft will start integrating ads directly into the start screen. And every time these are talked about, someone mentions Google ads, and they are some special, hands off company that needs to make their money. Even Apple iAds are somehow perfectly fine, and excused, while Microsoft is attacked.

nohone said,
Google plastering ads all over the place is perfectly fine, patents to interrupt your phone calls with ads, they need to make money, you know. But Microsoft using ads, that is downright despicable.

Don't recall Android ever interrupting a call to force me to listen to an ad or continue reading on Play Books

So if I'm reading the latest Robert Ludlum novel, I might find an advertisement for some ex-soviet union nuclear warheads on the next page...

McKay said,
I would assume this would be some free book, or severely reduced price.

i wouldn't be too sure about that. look at dvd's today - they have ads that one has to watch / fast forward through before getting to the root menu

Packet1009 said,

i wouldn't be too sure about that. look at dvd's today - they have ads that one has to watch / fast forward through before getting to the root menu

Amazon will sell them without Ad's.. which would result in MS never being able to make a sale..

No, I bet this will be for free books.. just like ads in Apps.. Free version has the adverts, paid has none of that.

McKay said,
I would assume this would be some free book, or severely reduced price.

The Windows 8 RTM Weather app has ads build-in so I wouldn't count on it.

Hello,

Yes, it might be strictly defensive in nature (e.g., patented in order to prevent someone else from offering it). Many companies patent things which they do not take to market.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky


ahhell said,
It's a patent. Doesn't mean that it will ever be used.

Lol I find this so funny.
Pirated vs legit DVDs: Pirates get right into the movie, legit DVDs have unskippable 'piracy is wrong' messages, adverts for other stuff, and loads of rubbish.
Pirated vs (future) legit ebooks: Pirated ebooks are smaller, compatible with all devices without any DRM, no adverts and give you more battery life because they don't have adverts, plus don't spy on you and use up your data like (future) legit ebooks will.

So overall; pirates win?

FoxieFoxie said,

It depends whether or not you drop the soap in the shower


Or live in Holland. Pick one! ayye! Pirating is legal here matey! AHOI!

Tyler R. said,
That's distracting as hell! Can't I read, this post is sold to coca cola, delicious and with no sugar, without you poping a f*cking ad in my face?!?

FTFY

great, all we will need is for them to start doing this with paid books... read a page, flip, ooh an add for something that was mentioned on the last page.... great..... forced pause.. page flip... back to reading.... ah crap another ad....