Book publisher Harper Collins is making its first foray into interactive online advertising as it prepares to ramp up its digital offering.

The publisher will explore interactive and contextual ad formats for the first time for factual based books in the coming months.

HarperCollins group digital director and publisher David Roth-Ey told new media age the ad market is “untapped” in the book publishing market.

The legacy of book publishers has always been free of ads, and while it should continue for fictional books, Roth-Ey said there is definite potential to explore digital ads for books such as information guides.

“Certain kinds of books create immersive reading experiences whereby ads would be too interruptive for readers, and publishers and even advertisers aren’t likely to put a premium on that. But information books, for example a Collins birds guide, could provide very valuable real estate for contextual advertising - in this case potentially a binoculars manufacturer.”

His comments come as Harper Collins kicks of an internal, company-wide DigiFest conference aimed at addressing digital challenges including discoverability of content.

“Bookstores have traditionally been the most successful way to discover books, but as those dwindle in importance and significance we need to tackle how we recreate the sense of discovering books in an online environment.”

The book browsing effect, where publishers rely on beautiful book covers to attract buyers in-store needs to be replaced, he added.

“There are also small but significant tweaks we can make to things like making our online copy better, and thinking of copy in term of search key words, and bespoke, interactive ebook covers. We need to do more of all of this.”

The aim of the DigiFest event is to encourage the publisher’s staff to “embrace digital from within” and not see digital as someone else’s job but a part of everyone’s job whether they are a copywriter or a book cover designer, he said.

The publisher is also to launch an animation Paddington interactive audio book app for iPads. The app is designed to let people personalise their book, featuring yhe ability for parents to record their own voices to accompany the story and insert pictures of themselves. With the iPad 2 they can also video themselves reading the story to include in the book.


Published 11 November, 2011 by NMA Staff

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