MLA Session: E-Books as Bibliographic Objects- Kindle Advertiser

Zahr Said Stauffer, U of VA, “The Kindle Advertiser: E-Books, Advertising, and the evanescent Edition”

This is a live blogging of the session.

passage from a legal case, an unauthorized compendium of Godzilla
Judge offers reader description. Word “Unauthorized” does not negate consumer confusion. That necessary information is conveyed on the back. Most consumers will read the front, not the back. Also Unathorized at top. Disclaimer is not on the spine. Spine will be most seen. Sites such as “” do not even include the disclaimer. The court finds it is ineffective. –1988

Physicality. Quaintness.
Court makes judgements on how people encounter physical books.
“Spine of book” references dead tree books and storage.
The court holds’s lack of disclaimer hurt the author’s case.

Physical books are often used differently, reading paratexts. Flipping through them. Knowing where we are based on the page fluffing. (I don’t get page fluffing until I have read a book 10-20 times.)

Unlike in most trademark cases, no evidence was required. Usually norm in legal settings.

All major e-book creators now have ads. (Really? I’ve never seen an ad in my books. I’ve read 45.)

Banner ads, individualized ads (like facebook).

2.48 billion from less than 4 million in the next two years.

Future book bibliographic experience: Digital, but not print edition, had different kinds of ads. No record of which ads were paired with which readers at what times. Ebook notes might let you reconstruct the historical record. More an audiovisual, graphic performance. Why I call it the “Evanescent edition.”

Access- sponsor’s control
Scholar’s access- bibliographic access

Rise of ads… Not looking at effects of ads here.

Access: 2009 Stephen King published Ur, digital download for Kindle. Novella about reading the Kindle. Sponsored work by Amazon. What happens when this work is not used in advertising anymore? How do you get the copy? What if Amazon doesn’t want it seen?

SK fansites said it was “elitist.”

Sponsorship served as inspiration.

Literary works, e-books, can be removed because of licensing and DRM controls. So it can be removed (even from the Kindle). It’s within the control of Amazon. Sponsors can take away the access of the e-book.

Tremendous challenge to bibliographic e-book is the dynamic advertising aspect. This messes up scholarship of bibliography. Ads will change. What happens to our understanding of the reader? Implied reader becomes demographically defined. Internal destabilization of the text because of the new context of ads due to demographics.

What about emendations and changes? No record of these.

The anachronistic judge with the ideal reader versus the scholarly bibliographic reader understanding. The law is slow to conceptualize new things. Understanding that the boundaries of the text are in flux may help.

Working model of e-book as advertising.

Really LONG final sentence. (Text was too long.)

2 thoughts on “MLA Session: E-Books as Bibliographic Objects- Kindle Advertiser”

  1. I was so glad to meet you. I wish you were going to be here today. The blogging keeps my notes fresh and available in my web-brain storage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge