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Tuesday Midday Publishing Links: Enhanced EBooks?

Some guy at CNET fancies himself a writer or something.   This execrable piece is either mocking or praising Harlequin’s move on the Japanese Nintendo DS platform.   It’s hard to say because the writing is so bad.

That’s why her thyroid pounded like a murderous hippopotamus’ conscience when she heard that  Harlequin Books, publisher of such romantic novels as “Tough To Tame” and “His Convenient Virgin Bride,”  was to be the first non-Japanese publisher to be inserted into Nintendo DS in Japan.

Plagiarism Today asks a provocative question: Is adblocking a form of piracy? I haven’t thought this all the way through yet, but I think its kind of interesting. The question was prompted by an Ars Technica experiment. Ars coded the site so that anyone running an adblocker would see a blank page. Those who whitelisted the domain or had a paid subscription would continue to see the content.

However, ad blocking essentially short circuits that model. Since the ads are never loaded, the site pays for the content, bandwidth and server costs to deliver the material to the reader but never has a chance to recoup the costs. In short, every person who blocks ads on a site is a mathematical loss for the site, albeit a small one.

In an effort to maximize the digital platform, publishers are looking to a thing called “enhanced ebooks.”   The idea is that the publisher will include more content and then be able to charge a higher price.   The latest iteration is David Baldacci’s Deliver Us from Evil which will include a video tour of his office. You pay a $1.00 more to get access to this video so $15.99 for the book + video or $14.99 for just the ebook. What do you think? Would you pay more for exclusive video?

Barnes and Noble is giving away free content for nook owners if you come to their store.

Here’s  an excerpt: “In addition to  this B&N blog post, this week’s eBook Showcase enables Nook owners to download a free essay by Skloot if they bring their Nook into a B&N store, through the company’s “More in Store” program.”

SB Sarah really hates the iRex.   Apparently you can only control the device using the stylus meaning that it’s a required two handed operation most of the time.   Further, there is no place to store the stylus on the device itself which is a huge design fail in my opinion and in Sarah’s.   Read more of her review here.

Mike Shatzkin blogs about the rise of the niches and the challenges general publishers will likely have in the future, particularly if there is a loss of a major physical bookselling chain.   Shatzkin’s thesis also applies to a move toward internet purchasing, whether it be digital or paper.

So for just about all the books that aren't novels, memoirs, celebrity-driven, or epic works of popular history or politics, trade publishers are increasingly handicapped. Unfortunately for them, things are going to get worse.

The obvious problem is that the capacity of the general trade market to merchandise and move product is diminishing.

Last week, Publishers Weekly had a headline about Amazon which I thought was sensational and misleading given that the Amazon buy buttons for Diamond Comic books were removed due to publisher data.   This week, PW’s headline for Hachette is not just misleading, it’s wrong.   Hachette isn’t launching social media sites, it’s opening accounts on existing social media platforms.   It would be akin to me signing up for twitter and then announcing here that I launched Twitter.

I thought it was interesting that this week’s NY Times mass market bestseller list did not have one romance in the top 5.   I wonder if this means that romance readers tend to buy around the release date more than any other type of reader.

I can’t remember if I blogged this before and if I did, sorry for the repetition.   Pink Floyd won the right to prevent EMI from selling its songs unbundled.   Pink Floyd argued that its contract protected the ‘artistic integrity’ of the album. As commenters noted, Pink Floyd’s artistic integrity was repeatedly violated by the single play of songs on the radio but it’s an interesting argument.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Joanne
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 11:32:51

    I’m mystified by how wrong some publishers keep getting things concerning ebooks.

    More content equals a video of an author writing in his office? For 99 cents I can buy a Harlequin romance when novel Kindle has sales.

    Are they saying that not only are ebook buyers destroying the foundations of brick and mortar stores but the readers of ebooks are stupid– so let’s treat them that way?

    More content is maybe a spin-off story from the novel or a preview chapter of an as-yet unpublished novel but a video of his “really cool” office? Gah.

  2. Jane
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 11:38:52

    @Joanne I know. I don’t care how cool his office is because unless it looks like this and I get keepsake photographs, I’m not interested.

  3. DS
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 11:49:58

    Another site recently put up an annoying flashing background or banner (can’t remember which) and a blaring sound track for people running ad blockers.

    That does not sound much different from the crap that used to happen on some sites before I started using adblocker. Pop ups, popovers, pop unders, animated gifs and ads with sound do not make for a pleasant browsing experience. Then there is the possibility that loading a banner will load a virus.

    If ads were fun and attractive– like the ads in Vanity Fair for example, then I wouldn’t want to block them.

  4. Joanne
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 11:54:49

    @Jane: Holy Hell In A Handbasket. Holy S@$#. OMG. And other ramblings.

    I’m now and forever more a believer in insta-love.
    I want to have his little libraries.

  5. CathyKJ
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:04:25

    A video tour of an office – unless it was a really awesome office – is not something I would pay extra for. Things I would personally enjoy would be scenes deleted from the book, pictures of handwritten notes or doodles (JK Rowling shared some of these on her site, and while it didn’t add to the Potter storyline, it was neat to see), or interviews where authors talk about what influenced there creation of a charater or location, etc.

    I wonder how the video component would work – is it an extra you get a code for and then go online to see (since I’m pretty sure my Kindle doesn’t support videos)? Seems like a goofy thing to pay extra money for. If it’s not included when I download the book, I’ll pass.

  6. Castiron
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:05:16

    I’m still thinking about the ad-blocking issue. I recognize that sites need to pay their operating costs, but ads often detract from my enjoyment or use of the site. I hate moving images. I don’t want to see unflattering photos trying to sell me on some weight-loss product, tooth whitener, etc. I don’t care about mortgage rates, whether Obama thinks moms should go back to school, or whether I could win a free iPod.

    I particularly resented for showing ads when I had a paid subscription. It’s one reason I’ve let my subscription lapse (and am hoping that Google will one day turn their scanning attention to genealogical resources), and I’d definitely use an ad blocker if I resubscribed. does ads right. Still images, visible but not intrusive, and all for items that site visitors are likely to be interested in. (Of course, Ravelry has the advantage that almost everyone who uses the site is interested in yarn.)

  7. Carin
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:11:01

    Would I pay extra for bonus content? I guess it depends. I don’t know who David Baldacci is, so I don’t really care about his office. Actually, I probably wouldn’t care about anyone’s office. But I’d pay an extra buck to watch an interview with Nora Roberts or to get significant extra material about the book I’m buying. If it was a an author or book/series I already knew I loved I would probably go for it. We already have this option with DVDs.

    What I would really like to see is content that is, I think the word is embedded. What I’m thinking of is when you’re reading on the internet and you can mouse over or click on a word to find out more information about it.

    Some authors put a playlist of music they listened to on their website. It would be cool if you could see a playlist for the book, or at the beginning of each chapter.

    Or paranormal books (or even historicals) that have a glossary of terms used in the book – what if you point at the word and have a box come up with the definition.

    I think there are a LOT of things that could be done with extras in ebooks, but first I’d really like to see consistently decent formatting. Then the extras.

  8. Jane
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:12:14

    @Castiron: I’m still thinking about the ad blocking thing too. As @DS noted, sometimes there is malware in an ad which should never be permitted. But I saw another article today that said readers would prefer ads to paywalls and if newspapers and other sites move away from paywalls to ads, then ad blockers really do represent a loss of revenue.

    I was thinking about what you said about Ravelry. I actually look at the ads at the back of my Threads catalog because sometimes they can lead to some interesting pattern or fabric places I wouldn’t ordinarily discover.

  9. Jane
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:13:42

    @CathyKJ: I don’t know how it would be delivered. I know that epub is html based and supposedly html5 handles video but how it would play on a device? Unknown.

    @Carin: Agree. Learn to walk first.

  10. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:28:33

    I’ve gone to inordinate lengths to strip ad content on any page I view on the net. While I like the “other books in the same series” and other relevant content in a book, ads with flashing lights and music are so much a no-no, I’d try to strip them out before I loaded the book on a device.

    And added content? Interview with the author, an extra short story and maybe a nice glossary. How about an animated map for the fantasy novel? That would be cool. But no, not a view around the library. Unless it’s Jay Walker’s or Neil Gaiman’s

  11. Jane
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:36:32

    @Lynne Connolly: But you would have paid for the book. The point Ars was making is that ad blocking deprives them of revenue and that viewing the ad is the readers form of payment for the content.

  12. seressia
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:42:01

    That library is my heaven, and where I want to go when I die…

    Of course, it would be even better to visit it while alive.

  13. Kalen Hughes
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:51:40

    I’d rather pay for access than be subjected to ads. Much rather. Ads on sites like DA and SB excepted (since they’re relevant to the content of the site and I pretty much trust them not to give me malware). But then I'm in the reportedly tiny group that would pay to continue to read news online from my favorite sites too.

    And I'm not really feeling the love on the “bonus” material (esp not if they're charging me for it!). Aside from bonus epilogues and such I can't imagine even wanting it for free.

  14. DS
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:54:01


    Would I pay extra for bonus content? I guess it depends. I don't know who David Baldacci is, so I don't really care about his office. Actually, I probably wouldn't care about anyone's office. But I'd pay an extra buck to watch an interview with Nora Roberts or to get significant extra material about the book I'm buying. If it was a an author or book/series I already knew I loved I would probably go for it. We already have this option with DVDs.

    I can honestly say that I have never bought a DVD because of the bonus content– and if given a choice would go for a cheaper version without the extra fluff.

    And as I pointed out in a comment to an earlier post, a Kindle copy of a Kim Harrison book hawked as having bonus material turned out to have a chapter from her most recent release.

    A lot of this sounds like the various freebies that authors have on their web sites to thank the reader or encourage them to buy other books– except for the “watch the writer in his office” thing which just sounds dull. I think the author would be better off using things like this for promotion rather than trying to get people to pay extra for them.

    However, I might pay extra for active content, such as click a footnote number and get a popup with the footnote or endnote text in it. I just don’t see the pluses for fiction though.

  15. Mike Briggs
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:57:38

    Every time I read about the “cool new stuff” some publisher is trying to add to their ebook I end up banging my head on the desk.

    I understand the desire to add something to the books. There’s a lot of downward pressure on ebook prices, and publishers want to find some way to offset that without killing demand. But I feel like I’m in the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham”, with publishers chanting, “Would you, could with a fox? Would you, could you in a box?”. Gah!

    Books are pretty darn good entertainment just as they are. I don’t need hyperlinks to the glossary for every character’s name, or a complete gazetteer of the imaginary world, or third-rate video clips cluttering up my book. They’re trying to do the equivalent of the Hollywood “2-disk collector’s edition”, with every frame shot while making the movie. While some people may find the making of a major movie interesting, watching an author pecking away at a keyboard is less entertaining.

    I guess I’d like ebook prices to settle in just below paperback prices, without fanfare, hand-wringing or acts of desperation. I just read an article stating that, in a digitial age, authors need to do what game manufacturers do, and go back to update and expand their books every few months, to create value for “subscribers”. That’s crazy.

    I don’t care if the author eats bacon or bagels for breakfast. I don’t really care where they live, what car they drive, or what they think about politics or religion. I just want to buy the book. That’s the product they should be selling.

  16. Jane
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:07:20

    @DS: Do they even charge more for the DVD xtras or isn’t that included? I know that there were special editions for the LOTR that cost more than the regular DVD but I don’t remember what you got w/ the special editions.

    @Kalen Hughes: True, most of the time I tune out the video because the production quality is so low.

    @Mike Briggs:
    Have you seen the Death of Bunny Monroe iPhone App? To me that is beyond enhanced ebooks into a new platform of storytelling. Enhanced ebooks seems so flat to me.

  17. kc
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:14:20

    I’m not paying for “bonus” content in an ebook. If the author or publisher wants to put extra content for sale, fine, but I want the stripped down cheaper version available too.

    If the author wants to put something ‘special’ in there for me, put your book list in there and series order so I know what I want to buy next. Tell me what’s coming up. Put a teaser in there for the next book like it’s done for paper.

    I don’t want videos, music, and especially applets for ads or contests.

    I just want to read the book.

  18. LVLM
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:17:57

    About paying more for enhanced ebooks. NO!, no, no, no.

    Just give me the ebook for a fair price. I don’t want or need all that extra crap that an author can put up on their web site separately or that I don’t care about anyway. Especially if the pubs are going to charge more.

    I don’t really care about authors’ lives so much and even extra content like the first few chapters of a next book are worthless to me. That next book will probably come out in 6 months to a year and I will have forgotten all about it by then anyway. So even those things are not worth extra money to me. And anyway, if I want to read the next book, I will buy the whole book. Why pay twice for a few chapters?

    This kind of thing tells me that they really just want to insist on charging a ridiculous amount of money for an ebook no matter what. And they GET that they are charging too much, otherwise, why even think of this as a pacifier with no real value to it?

  19. kc
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:21:10

    Another thing. If they start inserting ads, music, videos etc..then will we have to buy a virus, malware, and adware scanner for our ebook devices?

    I actually see that on the horizon anyway.

  20. Angie
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:22:51

    You pay a $1.00 more to get access to this video so $15.99 for the book + video or $14.99 for just the ebook. What do you think? Would you pay more for exclusive video?

    I might pay an extra dollar for a video, if it were something I wanted (in this case, if it were an author I liked enough that I cared what their office looked like) but I wouldn’t pay the $14.99 for the base e-book in the first place, and adding the video — even for free — wouldn’t change that.


  21. DS
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:28:05

    @Jane: I’ve seen several collectors versions DVDs that cost more than the vanilla version and had “making of” features and biographies and interviews. And it’s not just limited to items on the DVD. They sometimes come with fancy boxes– The Wicker Man (original NOT the remake) had a way cool tin with the DVD release. The only thing I really regret passing on? A copy of the VHS of Fargo that came with a snow globe.

  22. Ridley
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 13:48:38

    I don’t block ads.

    In fact, I love ads.

    When I went to Dublin a few years ago, I came back with three enduring memories 1. The Guinness museum was an AV wonderland 2. The Wicklow Mountains are wicked pretty 3. Irish TV commercials are hysterical. Well, I wish I could unremember that frog making the motorcycle noise, but the rest were enjoyable.

    I like the creepy dancing President Lincolns, the mind-boggling “Obama says…” ads, and even the actually good ads, like Samhain’s and some other book/pub ones.

    Blocking ads is like piracy, I’ll buy that. At least Tivo people pay for TV via cable. Web users who block ads want content without paying for it, and that’s pretty selfish, considering ads don’t even cost the viewer anything.

    Once I’ve paid for something, though, no ads please. Only comics are allowed to do that.

  23. Joy
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 14:00:51

    Enhanced content?

    What I’d like to see–although permissions would no doubt be a nightmare–are

    * mp3s/iTunes downloads of the songs mentioned in the book. Particularly for songs that are old or obscure (e.g. what does Liliburlero sound like?)

    * jpgs/gifs of artwork mentioned in the book (especially if they are central to the plot)

    A tour of the author’s office? Only if I’m a crazy stalker fan and I’m pretty sure I’m not.

  24. Moriah Jovan
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 14:06:08

    This is my take on bonus material in an ebook:

    It’s a lagniappe. A baker’s dozen. Not a VAT.

    If I (publisher and author) want you (non ebook reader) to read my book in E (where you don’t get to share or trade in for credit at a UBS), I should give you an incentive to do so. Bonus material you can’t get in the print book *might* be that last thing (that “little something extra,” that “13th donut”) to push you over the edge my way.

    For e-book natives, it *might* make you think I thought about you as a reader and what you might want. Because I did.

    This is how I feel about “enhanced” ebooks (fiction only):

    I know what *I* would want and like as a reader, but I also know that of the myriad combination of features I could come up with, I’d have a bunch of readers who didn’t like this or that or some other thing. For instance, I think hyperlinks in the text are teh debil because I’m constantly tempted to click them and then I can’t get back into the story.

    I’m someone who has all the extras on the book’s website, including playlists. I debated putting those in the ebook, then couldn’t decide how to most efficiently do that for the reader, so I didn’t do it at all.

    What *I* would like is (1) to embed the music and give the reader the option of turning it off, and (2) include source text, but all that gets into copyrights and licensing fees and $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    I haven’t seen the Bunny Monroe app, but I heard it was fabulous. I’d love to know how much that cost to make.

    I’d also like to know how many more levels that storytelling is up from straight text–and at what point does such enhancement move it from book into performance art?

  25. Ivy
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 14:50:43

    No, I wouldn’t pay extra for bonus material. It doesn’t interest me the majority of the time.

    I’ve never envied anyone anything until I saw that library…I could just live there forever quite happily…

  26. votermom
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 15:04:45

    Doesn’t this whole idea sound just like a non-reading marketing whiz kids idea?

    I don’t have an ebook reader; I prefer paper. But after I read I frequently want to go read what other people thought of the book, discuss it, and get recs to related/similar books. I’ll go online AFTER I read a book to do that.

    If I were an ebook reader, I imagine that’s the kind of extra I’d like.

    As to ad-blockers, some ads, aside from being malware containers, are simply offensive.

  27. Teddypig
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 15:52:47

    That’s fine Ars Technica can block me.

    See I don’t trust them or want them, or their ads. Honestly, if that’s the way the big guys go blocking readers then they will soon figure out they have NO readers.

    I block flash too because it’s a big security hole.

  28. Kalen Hughes
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 16:03:04

    I know that there were special editions for the LOTR that cost more than the regular DVD but I don't remember what you got w/ the special editions.

    Are you thinking of the extended versions? Basically they’re longer, with more of the story added back in. The theatrical release was almost like a trailer IMO.

    As a reader and an author I just can't think of what you'd add in to “enhance” most fiction (other than the stuff that most of us already give away on our websites).

  29. Angie
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 16:13:55

    For folks agreeing that web surfers have an obligation to look at ads on web sites, consider that the exact same argument says that you have an obligation to sit through and pay attention to all the commercials when you’re watching TV. No getting up to go to the bathroom or get a drink. If you have a DVR, you can use that to pause the show while you do the above, but you can’t use it to skip the commercials or you’re stealing that channel’s content just as much as people with ad blockers are stealing a web site’s content.

    If people with cable or satellite are paying for their TV channels, well, I pay a fee for my internet access — about a thousand dollars per year, in fact. If fee-paying TV watchers can decide they don’t want to support the channels they watch by watching their ads, then I can decide I don’t want to look at web site ads.

    This exact argument, that TV viewers have entered into a tacit contract to watch the commercials, and those who don’t are stealing from the networks, was actually made by some network executive a few years ago. He was drowned in laughter, which IMO was the right response. My view is that ads — whether on TV, on a web site, on the radio, in a magazine, on billboards, or anywhere else — are paying for the opportunity to be someplace you might want to see/read/hear them. There’s no guarantee they’ll attract attention; making them attractive and interesting is the job of the ad executives. But there’s no obligation on the part of the viewer/reader/browser/listener to look at or listen to the ads. The advertisers are buying the opportunity to say, “Please watch/read/listen to my message,” no more and no less. There’s no obligation on the part of the consumer to agree to do so.


  30. MaryK
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 16:17:54

    “adblocking = piracy” reminds me of those carwash fundraisers. You know the ones that are “free” but you’re expected to donate to the cause. Never go to them.

    If they want people to pay by viewing ads, maybe they should choose the ads more carefully.

  31. becca
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 16:39:32

    I don’t usually pay extra for add-ons (LotR was different) – I’m not interested in somebody’s office. I don’t care if an author composes on a computer or writes their first draft in cuneiform on damp clay tablets. I want to read a book.

    I sure won’t pay $14.99 for an ebook anyway, much less $15.99 for a boring video.

  32. MariaESchneider
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 17:25:00

    @Angie: I agree–I wouldn’t pay the 14.99 for most ebooks with or without extra content. I’m trying to think of an ebook I’d pay that much for. It would have to be a non-fiction book that had info I needed.

    I had no idea that thyroids could pound. Perhaps a pounding thyroid caused the bad writing.


  33. Mireya
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 17:43:23

    My main thing with ebooks is that I would NEVER pay for one more than I’d pay for the equivalent mass market paperback. No matter how many “cool” things, add-ons and whatnot was included. The idea about including a playlist created by the author and to be associated to the story (i.e. like Julia Quinn has in her website) is appealing, but then, I wouldn’t agree to pay more than .99 for each individual song as added value to the book, and that would have to be OPTIONAL added value, meaning, I get to chose what to download i.e. I can download and pay for the whole playlist, I can choose which songs to get (and pay for), etc.

    Well, I can always dream, no?

  34. XandraG
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 18:16:59

    If somebody decided that my ebook extra needed to include a video of me in my office, it’d be like one of those children’s charities commercials, where you see the poor, starving author working at a sawhorses-and-plywood table, perched on an upended laundry basket, smashing away at the keyboard with a piss-poor posture.

    Books–stories–aren’t suited to “bonus extras” – if the story were better with the “extended content” then the e-format is the very thing that allows them to *be* as long as they need to be, and if the story were better with more, then the editor wouldn’t (shouldn’t) have cut it out in the first place.

    I could see a case made for “extendable” ebooks–ebooks whose purchase included a voucher for a discounted second book or a free future short story, if the author were willing to make that kind of extra effort and if the book were the type to support its own derivative works.

    What I would rather see from publishers is the opportunity to make value choices for books. There are some books that I would be willing to pay more money for the opportunity to own multiple versions of it–a paperback to put on a shelf or pass on to a friend, and an ebook to sit in my elibrary. Or a book that would allow me to register to pre-order the next one in the series (or some manner of letting the publisher know NOT to cancel the series AND get something to ping me when the next one comes out) right from the end of the first book. There would be some books that I would like to buy the ebook bundled with the graphic novel. Or the entire series in one omnibus e-collection.

    And I’m not immune to the lure of ongoing drama via a serial. Or a subscription to a series of shorts, delivered to me on a regular basis via subscription. I want to know why publishers aren’t soliciting the ever-lovin’ hell out of their customers to use this connectivity resource to give people as close to exactly what they want, instead of telling them what they should want. Why aren’t we opting in to subscriptions or notifications to all stories that feature paranormal vampires in Cleveland?

  35. Castiron
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 18:36:02

    @MaryK: If they want people to pay by viewing ads, maybe they should choose the ads more carefully.

    Exactly. If the ads are actually relevant to the site and its content, I don’t mind seeing them and may even welcome them. But ads that look like something I’d find in my spam folder? Sorry, if that’s the only company you can find to advertise on your site, then maybe your content isn’t as essential as you think.

  36. Mo
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 18:52:21

    The only “enhanced ebooks” I want are the ones with all the same content as the paper book. You know, like the same cover art, the teaser in the front, the blurb from the back cover … I just want to read the book. If I want to watch a video I can go to you-tube or turn on my TV. I buy a book to curl up and READ.

  37. Ridley
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 18:53:56


    Cable companies pay broadcasters to show their content.

    ISPs do not pay websites to carry theirs.

    It’s not a valid comparison.

    Besides, if you don’t like web ads, don’t look at them unless they’re awesome. They don’t make you wait like TV commercials do. They just sit there in the background.

    It’s either ads, or pay walls for professional content. Newspapers can’t pay their reporters with readers’ senses of entitlement. I’d rather we didn’t starve them out until there’s just the NYT to read. I hate the friggin Yankees.

  38. Deb
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 18:55:35

    I’ve given up on some websites, i.e. Huff Po due to the incredible amount of ads. I don’t like them and my MacBook hates them. It feels like a car red-lining. Besides, Huff Po gets it’s material from sources such as NY Times. I don’t have a problem with NY Times and other periodicals’ ads. Neither does the MacBook. Seems ridiculous to question add blockers under those circumstances. I would and will subscribe when NYT goes subscription.

    The “extra” content to ebooks seems to be aimed at the casual reader. But a video of an author’s writing space won’t cut it. The efforts required to turn a book into an application is going to be very expensive in the long run. I can see this with some books, but the vast majority of books really don’t lend themselves to this treatment.

    Dark Side of the Moon should never have been split up a la iTunes tracks. Congrats to Pink Floyd. Brilliant recording that. I wonder how iTunes/Apple will handle this. Here’s hoping Roger Waters follows up with his own stuff. The Wall shouldn’t be split either.

  39. Kaetrin
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 18:57:21

    I wouldn’t pay extra for a virtual tour of someone’s office! What’s that about anyway?

    I don’t think I should pay extra for additional content – there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing an ebook over a paper book. Additional content would help to balance it out a bit better. (eg, At present, with DRM, we own the right to read a book, but not the actual book.)

  40. Angie
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 19:08:24

    @Ridley: If it’s all right if I don’t look at the ads, then what’s wrong with my ad-blocking them?

    And I don’t see how it makes a difference whether the cable providers pay the networks to carry their channels or not. (Aside from the fact that it’s obviously not much, since every non-premium channel I’ve ever heard of either shows commercials, or does membership drives, or has some other kind of sponsorship for additional revenue.) The whole point being argued here is that the content creator owns their content, and it’s up to them to choose how to monetize it. If the Romance Reader Channel decides that they need ad revenue to pay for their content, in addition to whatever they’re making from Huge Cableco, then that’s their choice. That’s still revenue you’re taking out of their pockets if you don’t watch their commercials, if we apply the same logic used to argue that using ad-block on websites is piracy. It doesn’t matter if they have other revenue; maybe a web site has revenue from selling T-shirts and coffee mugs, in addition to their ads. It doesn’t matter.

    Either the presence of advertisements implies an obligation on the part of the user to watch, or it doesn’t. You can’t say there’s an obligation for this kind of content’s ads but not that kind.


  41. Ridley
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 19:14:54


    Because blocking them means you’ll never click on them, whereas generally ignoring them until an awesome one shows up leaves the possibility of a click through.

    I don’t know. As an adult out of college, no longer living hand to mouth, I like to support those who entertain me, and occasionally clicking an ad link is no great hardship.

    I guess YMMV.

  42. Angie
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 19:26:07

    @Ridley: Going to the bathroom during a commercial break means you’ll never see the possibly cool commercial it’ll show you, and won’t run out and buy whatever they’re advertising. The advertiser will see less return on their ads, and will be willing to pay the network less for a commercial slot next time around. (Assuming many people running to the bathroom, of course, just as one person with ad-block won’t noticeably hurt any webmaster’s revenue.)

    As an adult out of college, no longer living hand to mouth, I like to support those who entertain me

    Me too. I buy books and art from people who have web sites, mugs and T-shirts, paperback collections of comic strips I’ve already read online for free, and I’ll toss virtual five dollar bills into PayPal tip jars periodically, if that’s all that’s available. I’d be willing to bet that any one of these options pays the webmaster a heck of a lot more than 365 views of his/her ads.


  43. Ridley
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 19:38:02


    I have the hardcover version of Achewood’s Great Outdoor Fight, so I buy stuff too, but I don’t see people buying Boston Globe t-shirts, Washington Post mugs or Slate tote bags in great numbers. How many Facebook or Goodreads goo-gahs do you own?

    It’s those high-cost, low-merchandise opportunity sites that need ads the most. As much as I’d be the saddest panda if Questionable Content had to quit, it’d be nothing compared to the void left behind by my favorite news or networking sites if they folded.

    And I guess sites get revenue from the ads loading now, not just from click-throughs? In that case, it’s more than just ignoring the ads, you’re actively keeping a site owner from getting paid by not letting the ads load.

  44. Caroline
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 19:42:10

    I think publishers are really scrambling for things they can add to books as a value-add for the customers, to make people want the book more–not necessarily as a way to squeeze another buck out of the consumer. It’s easy for movies; add some cast interviews and bloopers or uncut footage and *boom*, premium edition director’s cut DVD. I wouldn’t pay extra for a video tour of some writer’s office (even IF it looked like Jay Walker’s), but I might pay for a video tour of some important historic site central to a book’s plot, narrated by the author; I might pay extra for deleted scenes, especially if they come with author’s notes about why they were deleted; and I probably would pay extra for a little educational appendix about any really interesting research that went into the book. Heck, I’d pay more than the value of the book to get that last option from Diana Gabaldon.

    Of course, all that costs time and money to produce, so I doubt it will become a standard option until/unless ebooks with extras take off.

  45. illukar
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 20:02:33

    So long as there’s a cheaper ebook which doesn’t have all these extra extraneous things, I don’t care if they’re touting a version with extras. So long as the version with extras isn’t the only version available.

    It sounds like a special edition DVD of a movie, and I’d only buy that kind of thing if I was a real fan of that particular movie/book/author.

  46. RfP
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 20:18:46

    “Would you pay more for exclusive video?”

    Oh hell no. I want a book. Not a video. Not a book and a video. Especially not a video that I didn’t choose.

    I just passed up an ebook the other day because it was bundled with “enhancements”. No other e-edition was available.

  47. Suze
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 22:31:06

    What do you think? Would you pay more for exclusive video?

    No. I just want to read the book. Adding a bunch of extra crap to justify the price is dumb.

  48. jmc
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 06:09:57

    Not interested in enhancements, free or charged for. I wish publishers would improve ebook quality at base before tacking add-ons to Jack up the price. I’m tired of wonky formatting, randomly inserted spaces, words that run together, etc. The lack of cover art, table of contents, backlist, usual stuff included in paper copy would come next on my wish list. Enhancements? Bah humbug!

  49. Mina Kelly
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 07:36:13

    To be fair on Baldacci, it’s not just a video. There’s also audio, images, and a discarded ending (which seem to be the kind of content people are more interested in).

    I’m with jmc and the others, though – there’s no point enhancing eBooks until they’re on a par with non-enhanced paperbooks. When you do reach a point where enhancing becomes justified there’s always going to be a world of difference between a novel with some stuff tacked on and an integrated multimedia product. A book with a random interview copied from a newspaper, some extra photos of the author, a copy of some old post-its, and a book trailer is never really going to compare with something which incorporates, say, the sound of rain in an outdoor scene or an animation of the character (something like Sandra K Fuhr’s 5ideways makes a good example, and also shows why this kind of thing probably works better with comics than books). They’re completely different products, which should be targeted at completely different people. It’s like those boardgames that come with DVDs – if I wanted to play a game on my tv/computer I’d have bought a console game.

  50. Kalen Hughes
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 08:36:49

    Besides, if you don't like web ads, don't look at them unless they're awesome. They don't make you wait like TV commercials do. They just sit there in the background.

    Yes and no. As Deb pointed out:

    I've given up on some websites, i.e. Huff Po due to the incredible amount of ads.

    I only read HuffPo at work, cause my work connection blocks all the ads, making the site useable.

  51. Ridley
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 10:47:12

    @Kalen Hughes:

    HuffPo is just an amazingly poorly designed website. That’s why I stopped going.

    That, and their content sucks half the time.

  52. Estara
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 15:46:23


    More content is maybe a spin-off story from the novel or a preview chapter of an as-yet unpublished novel

    You’ve got a good point there. Sherwood Smith recently released Crown Duel as an ebook via Smashwords and because she had written some outtake scenes from the hero’s viewpoint for her LJ community she added those at the back of the novel – so they didn’t disturb the fact that the novel is mostly from the viewpoint of the heroine Meliara.

    She also revised this edition.

    Ergo buying Crown Duel in ebook form gives the reader additional value for money. The Director’s Cut ^^

  53. Sandia
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 16:54:04

    I definitely wouldn’t pay for enhanced content. The supposed “enhanced” ebook content offered now really doesn’t add anything to the book.

    I would pay more for content if I could get it as an early release though.

  54. MaryK
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 14:36:10

    I just thought of an enhanced ebook feature I’d love to have (though not for more money). A correct pronunciation of the author’s name! How the heck do you pronounce “Marillier”?

  55. Laura Mills
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 15:24:18

    I believe enhanced ebooks have their place and many will pay extra for the added video and sound files. Enhanced ebooks for self-help and instructional books will be well worth the extra money. It may not be worth it for fictional books, but to learn a new language, the enhanced book can help with pronunciation. The quit-smoking enhanced ebook,Nic-the Habit: Tao of Quitting Smoking by Joseph Weaver includes hypnotic and subliminal audio files to help the reader quit smoking. Here is the link:

    The ebook also includes a positive affirmation tape for weight loss within the enhanced ebook. Not a bad idea. So, authors now have the option to include extra material in their books which in my opinion is amazing.

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