QOTD: books: the last frontier for ads

Lorcan 2 min read

Fintan O’Toole writes about the Google books settlement in the Irish Times. He wonders which ads will be shown to accompany which texts. My favorite is the third, the opening of Ulysses ….

PICTURE THIS. You read “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”, and up pops an ad for a dating agency.

You read “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect”, ads for Odearest mattresses and bug repellent swim before your eyes. You read “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” and a message from Omega urges you to buy a new watch.

You read “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and razor lay crossed” and you get Weight Watchers at the top of your screen and Gillette at the bottom. [D-Day approahes for Google’s assault on writers’ copyright]

Prompted by this note, I searched for “stately, plump Buck Mulligan” …..
The piece is a general one about the agreement, from an author’s perspective (O’Toole is a journalist and prolific author). He argues that the web’s “assault on copyright” is less a blow for freedom than an attack on the ability of artists to “make decisions about the user of their work”.
I was taken by his note about ads and books, and his use of the last frontier phrase ….

One of the last frontiers is, oddly, that quaintly old-fashioned thing, the book. Books usually advertise themselves and often discreetly plug other works from the same author and/or publisher. Readers see them, however, as private spaces and resist any attempt to invade that privacy. As books and reading move online, however, this last frontier is being comprehensively crossed. [D-Day approahes for Google’s assault on writers’ copyright]

Incidentally, the picture in the banner of this blog is of Dublin Bay, looking from south to north, close to the Martello Tower which was the setting for the Buck Mulligan scene above.

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