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Ad-supported Kindle to feature automated, in-novel product placement

In Technology on April 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Amazon’s new Kindle offering (touted as “special offers” by Amazon) saves readers 25 dollars, shows ads on the screensaver, and makes very minor alterations to classic novels in the form of product placement.

“If you read The Great Gatsby on our new Kindle, you’ll find that Gatsby now drinks only Miller Lite,” said an Amazon representative. “It’s also served at all of the parties in the novel. It makes it easier to connect for today’s novel readers, and saves them money at the same time. What’s not to like?”

Holden Caulfield's favorite product, The Kindle.

Brave New World is among the most altered of the product-placed Kindle classics, featuring several dozen placements. Old Spice plays into the novel prominently, with entire paragraphs added, including the following:

The Savages on the reservation stank to high heaven. Bernard wondered if even Old Spice body wash could get them smelling like men again. “No,” he thought hard, “unless it was the new Red Zone Plus type everyone was talking about.” That stuff was the greatest, and only for Alphas.

In addition to product mentions, entire bodies of work can be morphed to promote a product. Scream 4 now has mentions in any piece by Edgar Allen Poe.

“It got me excited about education and reading, and now I have a future,” said an Amazon representative, attempting to mimic a six-year-old’s voice over the phone.

The only American classic left untouched by the placements is John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which a Welch’s executive referred to as “…too boring, even for Welch’s.”