If electronic books -- and the leading gadgets that read them -- are going to make a mainstream move, it may happen sooner than you think.
We still don't know how big the market for e-book readers is at the moment, because Amazon.com
Amazon's Kindle isn't cheap as the industry leader. Setting buyers back $359 -- or $479 for the larger DX model -- means it's still an unattractive value proposition for casual readers. Amazon prices its Kindle books aggressively. New releases and current bestsellers fetch no more than $9.99. Barnes & Noble's
Well, that may be changing. The blogosphere was alive during the holiday weekend, as TechGeist unearthed a patent application by Amazon that aims to serve up ads within Kindle books.
E-book lovers may cringe at the intrusiveness. The last thing anyone needs while immersed in Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon is a distracting block of ads pitching travel excursions to Pamplona or paella recipes.
But what if this isn't about the folks who pay Amazon for a Kindle copy? What if the ad-supported model is reserved for free books? Kindle already has subscription deals with newspaper publishers including New York Times
I like it. As long as readers can pay for ad-free versions of their favorite books, why not apply the contextual marketing approach that has served Google
The next few chapters, no doubt, will be required reading.
Other page-turners in the Kindle saga:
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as Amazon.com has been in business. He owns a Kindle, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.