The Secret History of Ads in Books

NYT – “Amazon’s announcement that it will start selling an advertising-supported Kindle at a discounted price has provoked some grumbling about the commercialization of the reading experience.

But books haven’t always been an ad-free zone, as this 2007 essay by Paul Collins from the Book Review shows. Back in the mid-19th century, readers of Dickens serials were bombarded with paeans to Freeman’s Spermazine Wax Lights and Dr. Lucock’s Pulmonic Wafers. And in the 1960s and 1970s, you could hardly open a mass-market paperback without encountering a pitch for Q-Tips, Sanka or Canadian Club.

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