Chris Anderson…talk[s] about the possibility of giving away online his next book – which he fittingly intends to title “Free” – to readers who were willing to read it with advertisements interspersed throughout its pages. (He still intends to sell the book traditionally to readers who’d rather get their text without the ads.)
Here is the longer story. I love free books. I would find it easy to skip the ads (if you are good at skipping text, you can be good at skipping ads), though perhaps I am naively unaware of the publisher’s counterstrategies in this war. In another direction, I recall hearing of free long distance service, at least provided you are willing to have your call interrupted periodically with advertisements. If we are willing to pay people to hear or watch ads, why stop there? How about "free life"? Corporations subsidize or create extra babies, under the proviso that the guardians agree to have their little ones doused with particular ads. What if you could addict your kid to Coca-Cola, or some other product, before birth, what sort of market would arise? What if you could stamp a permanent tattoo on Jimmy’s forehead?