Well, well, well. Apparently, nothing is sacred in this consumer-driven society. According to the press release above, libraries in the United Kingdom have begun allowing advertising agencies to place promotional inserts into books loaned out to patrons.
Are you kidding me?! As a future librarian with a background in Communication & Marketing, this just tears me apart.
“…only one insert campaign will be allowed each month offering advertisers exclusivity across what is a unique advertising channel.” Great saturation for advertisers, but think about the avid library patrons who visit their library on a daily or weekly basis. Some people check out more than one book each time, so they will be getting multiple inserts (for the same product/service) each time they visit.
It brings up a lot of questions: Think about children who take out 8-10 picture books at a time. What are they going to do with all these inserts?Will the monthly insert campaigns provide different materials for users of different ages? If not, the entire campaign must be constructed at the lowest common denominator (i.e. children) in terms of what is appropriate and what is understandable. Does this constitute as discrimination now that certain advertisers wouldn’t be allowed to advertise their products using this method? Is anyone thinking about how library patrons will react to this intrusion of their favorite loaned materials? If they wanted a bookmark, I think they would find one of their own! Holy litter…
What kind of products and services are these advertising inserts going to be representing? What “audience segment” are these inserts aimed towards? How can an audience possibly be targeted? Are they going to place inserts in certain topical books? Will the circulation desk have to make a judgment call about which insert most fits the patron whose materials they are currently checking out?
Any thoughts on this development would be greatly appreciated! It just reminds me of a less-techie version of the prominent advertising platforms in the film “Minority Report”…