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.