Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This Week's Sign That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

In the grand tradition of Sports Illustrated's long running Apocalypse watch, I give you this week's sign that the apocalypse is upon us: The textbook publisher Freeload Press is offering free college and graduate school textbooks that are laced with keyed advertisements.
"Textbook prices are soaring into the hundreds of dollars, but for some courses this fall, students won't pay a dime. The catch: Their textbooks will have ads for companies including FedEx Kinko's and Pura Vida coffee. A small Minnesota startup called Freeload Press will offer more than 100 titles this fall -- mostly for business courses -- free of charge. Students, or anyone else who fills out a five-minute survey, can download a PDF file of the book and store it on their hard drive to print."
But what if a University is worried about distracting or inappropriate ads? Have no fear:
"Freeload's ads won't be distracting, will be placed at natural breaks in the material and won't push products such as alcohol or tobacco. Schools with other concerns could customize their standards. For instance, Brigham Young University, founded by Mormons in Utah, could nix ads for caffeine products."
Gotta' love the incredibly random BYU plug in Washington Times, eh? So, what does a "non-distracting" advertisement look like you ask?


How's that for spicing up your homework? I guess if the ad pages are numbered, they might help you feel like you are making progress on your reading by giving you a few pages to skip. Honestly though, outside of giving you the munchies in class, I don't see that many drawbacks. But then again, I'm part of the Google generation that is selling my soul to advertisers. Considering the cost of most of my textbooks (even those bought used), I'll be the first to admit that I'd take the Freeload Press up on its ad-laden copies if they offered any textbooks I needed... just so long as they placed no ads for caffeinated products of course (err... except maybe Mountain Dew).

23 comments:

Treidi said...

While definitely a sign of the upcoming apocalypse it is also a great idea. It would take a ton of lame ads to equal that suspenseful misery I felt at the beginning of each semester as I waited to hear the verdict on my round of textbooks. That misery was compounded at the end of the semester as I literally got bent trying to sell them back. My favorite "got bent" moment was trying to return Prof Kearle's self authored $150 econ book to no avail as he had managed to get a 27th edition out of it by adding a paragraph and reordering the chapters.

Sheldon said...

well, here's the thing - I am a huge bibliophile. I love books. Books, to me, are beautiful. My first problem with this idea is NOT that there are ads in the books, but that the books are in PDF format that you have to download and print yourself. I want books on a shelf, thank you very much, so I can look at them, smell them... dare I say, fondle them? The electronic book download part of their idea disgusts me WAY MORE than the advertisement idea. Sigh. I am pathetic. maybe i should not leave me real identity on this comment.

Marc said...

So you're saying you still prefer the old school fold-out centerfolds then?

Sheldon said...

HA! As long as it fits on a bookshelf

blondemama said...

Great idea. I have a better one, why buy the textbook in the first place? Who needs textbooks? Oh right, I went to UVSC, I wouldn't know the need of books. (walking away with head down, sad Charlie Brown music in the background)

tigerfoxbear said...

Yea, i'd say next time leave the identity at home sheldon.... anyway, i think that this is a great idea. I'm just upset I didn't think of it first. There are only soo many virgin areas of advertising left, and these guys have struck gold. I must say though, I was more upset when I heard about the guy who auctioned off space on his forehead on Ebay, that was a genious idea.

This idea is soo good it's amazing. Books on a shelf are awesome, and I think there are still places that have them, they are called LIBRARIES. I would pay money to be able to only download and print the current chapter i am studying, how much lighter would my backpack (Leather satchle if you are Marc) if you only had to carry around the bare necessities? I say embrace this new idea like one would embrace a subsription to GQ for $1.99 a year.

tigerfoxbear said...

Blonde Mama, I think there is a distinct difference between walking down the hallways of a building and actually getting an education..... Don't blame the institution if you didnt learn

Marc said...

Apparently TFB doesn't like real books or my leather satchel... but he admits to having a thing for GQ? Next thing you know he'll be telling us he watches Bravo.

Anonymous said...

In addition to time-shifted viewing, the TiVo was invented to allow a person to quickly fast-forward through/skip commercials. Look out for the inevitable --> digital-university-textbook-advertisement-skipping-software (DUTASS)! (By the way, you'll probably have to pay $150 just to download this software).

blondemama said...

All in good fun, tigerfoxbear, I treasure the time I spent in Ethics and Values.

BA said...

TFB has definately got a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the Tech. But he went there "by choice"... right?

Screw buying textbooks, law school books are particularly insane. I get "excited" for any class where the books are under $100.

Sheldon said...

actually TFB libraries are going the way of this e-book idea... that is, down the electronic toilet. even U of U wants to install some $15 million giant robot arm to go retrieve the books for you, so you can never see the shelves yourselves; as for law schools, when was the last time law students actually touched/saw any of the physical books in most of the libraries? Lexis and Westlaw, baby! If I am going to rely on LIBRARIES for my books, I am in trouble.

Marc said...

Sheldon - I'm not sure you're going to convince TFB on this one... he's a bit of a stubborn mule sometimes. I tried to convince him for years that Lance Bass was gay, but he refused to believe me until he heard Lance say it himself.

Gargantus said...

I thought everyone got text books for free... I remember when i went to the University, i walked up to the counter marked "Athletes" in the book store. Then i gave them a list of my classes, they rushed around found all my books, put them in a bag and i was on my way... It took like 5 minutes, but at least i didnt have to wait in that huge line reserved for the "normies."

Tara said...

A big ole ad about a juicy hamburger is just what student's need to see while trying to study. That's sure to keep their mind on the task at hand!

tigerfoxbear said...

I think i'll reserve any rebuttle about education for my own blog.

I hate to point it out when people are wrong, but I just have to this time. I work with libraries and librarians every single day, so I think I have some knowledge on the matter. Books are here to stay, and they are always going to be, they will be sitting on shelves for people to look at for years to come...don't blame the internet for societies (your own) laziness, last time I checked there are still law libraries full of actual books, just like there have been for years, and you still can go do your research there, reading actual books if you wanted to...

Sue Ellen Mischke said...

Yeah... I'm having a hard time getting riled up over this one. I just wanted to stop in and say hi to Marc. Hi, Marc.

Marc said...

That's just because you're a teacher and teachers get free copies of the textbooks that they sentence us students to buy. Thanks for saying hi though. Hi Sue Ellen.

melbo said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
.......BUTTER BURGERS...... ....drooldrool(slobber)drooldrool.....

i miss wisconsin.

Mind Spewer said...

I don't think I could have a textbook like that. First of all, law school has caused me to have a severe attention problem, and now I can barely read a non ad-filled textbook without staring into space. Ads would only cause more attention problems.
Secondly, I would get hungry. Did anyone else really want a hamburger after looking at that textbook? Since I already snack a lot while "studying" a textbook full of ads would give me a weight problem and I couldn't wear leggings. Too devistating to think about.

Mrs. McDreamy said...

I know, that hamburger looks way too good. I am totally craving one now. As if studying all day doesn't make you munchy as it is, that book is just trouble. Now let's all go get a milkshake!

Marc said...

I think I could handle the food ads... it's the feminine hygiene and the Trojan advertisements that would send my concentration into a tailspin.

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