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Are e-book ads the way of the future?

The Internet’s been abuzz with news of some recently filed Amazon patents. A blog post on the Fast Company website looks at two of the patents, which point toward a new future in which ads are embedded in e-books.

The patents are designed to solve a supposed problem: that “out of print or rare books … typically do not include advertisements.” For electronic versions of magazines, the inclusion of advertising makes sense, as this would merely reflect how print magazines are already constructed. But if Amazon intends to use these patents for all materials available on the Kindle, including books, readers will start to get understandably uneasy. From Fast Company:

Would you be happy reading a copy of The Hobbit, only to find an embedded ad for pedicure treatments on certain pages? The framework for this to happen isn’t clear from the patent, though it would be reasonable to expect Amazon to start by offering the ads in books with discounted prices. Or the ads could appear in texts by self-published authors who need to fund their work but don’t have the backing of a traditional publisher. That would be a sensible way for Amazon to get the public accepting the idea, and it would be a great sales hook for Amazon to entice advertisers into the scheme in the first place.