What’s the Point of Reading a Book if There’s Little Content and Lots of Ads?

I can answer this question in four simple words:

There is no point.

blog post about wasting time with ads

ID 95219571 © Rohane Hamilton | Dreamstime

So what brings about this topic?

There’s a certain radio show I used to listen to a lot. It had great content, and a lot of the stuff was helpful. I could glean something worthwhile out of every show because there would be at least one caller who had a situation I could put in the, “You’ll need to know this in the future” category.

Over the past two weeks, I decided to go back to listening to this show. Instead of the podcast, I was using You Tube. This show has drastically changed. Now, it’s about 70% advertisement in some form. At the very beginning of the show, there’s two ads that run back to back for that particular show. (This is in addition to the ad You Tube will run at the beginning of the video.) So then about 15 minutes into the actual show, you think you’re going to finally get to the meat and potatoes of what the show is supposed to be about. Except, you don’t. There’s some customer who spends about 10 minutes bragging about how much the show helped him/her. So it’s really just another ad. Then we finally get to a call with actual substance, which is about 5 minutes, 10 if you’re lucky. Then we run off to another product the owner has available. And the cycle runs through this over the course of one hour.

So I figured out that in the course of one hour, a maximum of 20 minutes is actual content a listener can gain any benefit from. What’s awful is that most of the content isn’t even useful. Over the past two weeks, I think I might have gathered one thing that’s any benefit to me. So instead of getting something out of every show, which airs five times a week, I have to listen to two weeks’ worth of show to gain one new thing. This is a huge waste of my time.  I don’t know how this show manages to stay on the air, and I’m not going to listen to it anymore.

Anyway, this is going to bring me to the process of making a book because my brain is wired to look at things as both an author and a reader. (I can’t remove that part of my life from most topics because I love writing and reading a lot.)

Yesterday, I started thinking about some of the reviews I’ve seen on some books as I browsed through online retailers. Some authors apparently like to shove a lot of ads for their other books into the book they have published. There’s nothing wrong with some form of advertisement. How else are people going to know what an author has written? But these reviewers claim that these particular authors have about 30%-50% actual book and the rest is nothing but ads for other books. I can see how that would turn off a reader. When they’re downloading a book (especially if they paid for it), they expect most of that space to be filled with the story, just I as expected way more content from that radio show.

In my opinion, a book should have at least 90% story. The 10% can go to ads. Ideally, I think 95% is better for actual content. But this is my rule of thumb on this particular topic.

You can always link more information to your blog or website at the end of your book. Ebooks have made this especially easy. Just insert your url as a hyperlink (if you format the book yourself) or ask your formatter to do it for you. Then, if someone loves your book, they can click the link at the end of the book to find more details about your other books where you can post as many samples or other information as you want. That way, it’s a win-win. Readers don’t feel cheated, and you still give them the option to do more in-depth on what you offer.

I also think adding a link to an email list at the back of a book is a good idea. Then you can directly reach them when you have a special sale or a new release.  I also think it’s a good idea to include an entire list of books you’ve already published because if someone loves the book and wants to read more, they have the list right there. They don’t have to search for it. When I get excited about a new author, the first thing I do is see what else they’ve done. Some authors add a short description for each book.  The more books you have out, the harder it’s going to be to add a short description for every single book you’ve done. An alternative to this is to add a short description for the books in that specific series or that specific genre. You can add links to the series or individual books so the reader can find out more about them in more detail without adding a lot of space that is in your book.

With e-reading devices being electronically friendly, it’s easier than ever to use links to your blog or website to your advantage. I word on an Apple computer in Microsoft Word. The way I add links is to highlight the text I want to link to. Then I go to the toolbar. I go to Insert. Then I scroll down to Hyperlink. This is what pops up:

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 12.13.29 PM

You choose the “Web Page” option, which is in blue in the screen shot above. At the very top is the box for “Link To”. Either copy and paste the url into that box or manually type in the link you want people to go to.

That is how I add links to my sites when I format books. Depending on your program, you might have to do things differently.

You can use these links to add some fun stuff for the readers. Maybe you can offer a special short story, character interviews, pictures of characters, trivia about the book, or something else. It can become an interactive way to engage with your readers. Maybe you can ask a question and direct people to answer through the link. If you set up a page on your blog or website dedicated to receiving feedback from your readers, this could become a way to engage with them on a personal level.

I haven’t done any of these. I just thought of this stuff as I was writing this post, but there are things you can do to promote your other books without taking up a lot of valuable space in your book.



About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to https://ruthannnordinsbooks.wordpress.com/.
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16 Responses to What’s the Point of Reading a Book if There’s Little Content and Lots of Ads?

  1. I don’t leave bad reviews as a general rule. If I don’t like a book, I just don’t review it. But I bought a book once that I was enjoying when all of a sudden it just ended. It was like the author got in a hurry at the end and didn’t finish the story in a satisfactory way. I was expecting more because I was only about 2/3 through the book. Then…the rest of the book was just a bunch of ads for her other books. A whole 1/3 of the book! I did leave a bad review on that one.

    • I’m the same. I don’t leave reviews if I don’t like the book or if I’ve already left reviews on the author’s book and I’m afraid Amazon will start removing my reviews, even though I disclose that I know the author.

      I haven’t read any books like the one you mentioned because I don’t buy them if I see people saying the book had a bunch of ads at the end of it. Usually, those reviewers say the story turned out to be short with a lot of ads for the other books, or they say the same thing you just did: the author got in a hurry to end it and littered the rest of the book with ads. Sometimes I think authors are in a rush to get a book out, so they’ll sacrifice the ending in order to get it out. I have to continually fight back against the urge to do this by forcing myself to only do no more than 1000 words in the story for the day as I get near the end. If I did any more than that, I would probably end it too soon. I would hate reading a good book that had a rushed ending like that.

  2. What radio show is this? Info Wars?

    • LOL No. I laughed because I have listened to Info Wars, and they do have a ton of ads on that show. The show I was talking about is a show about money. Right now I’m trying to better manage my money (what little I have). 🙂

      • No wonder they have so many ads! Ads make money!

        • Ads must work if they are used so much. Case in point on this radio show, the owner of the organization says he’s a multi-millionaire. Obviously, he’s not hurting. I don’t begrudge anyone the right to make a lot of money. I just think when you do, then you should be offering more contents than ads.

      • Hmmm. I bet I know which one you mean. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, I still like to listen to it. 🙂 The reason I’m more lenient when shows like that do more ads is that I get to listen for free, and I know they have to pay for the show somehow. With a book, I’m buying it, and I don’t want to pay for a bunch of ads. A few, but not 1/3 of the book.

        • I would be inclined to agree with you if I didn’t know for a fact that the owner is a multi-millionaire since he keeps saying it. If running all those ads all the time are increasing his bottom line, then I guess a strong argument could be made that ads should be used as often as possible. 🙂 And yes, I know you know who I’m talking about.

        • I’m going to post this question over on FB because now I’m curious on the topic of free. I’ll ask you this over here. If a book was free, would you mind it if there were ads placed throughout the whole thing like it’s done on the radio show?

          • I would hate it if it was all the way through. I was thinking more at the end. I just saw the post, so I see what people are thinking. LOL

            • I heard on a couple of podcasts geared for writers that this might become the future of books. To read a book for free, some sites might place ads in them to make money. I think Wattpad already does this on some of the most popular books over there, but I have no idea where the ads are placed because it hasn’t happened to my books.

              I was just curious if people would rather read books for free even if it meant they had to go through ads. I can’t see a free site waiting for ads to go to the end of the book. People could skip those too easily. What I think they would do is insert them throughout, like they do for radio shows or TV shows. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon picked this idea up in order to make more money, but they would only do it to authors not in KU. But I see it more likely to happen to places that offer only free books to help build revenue.

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