I just had an interesting exchange with someone on product placement in books vs. product placement on television, which was brought up by one of my readers. (Have you noticed those enormous Coke glasses in front of the judges on America Idol?)
We don't pay for traditional television. We can choose to pay for cable channels, but the airwaves are free for the traditional broadcast networks. Advertising foots the bill, and what is product placement but advertising?
Books, however, we pay for. So if companies pay publishers to have their products placed in books, which is advertising, folks, shouldn't we readers get some benefit from that? Shouldn't we benefit from being used as a market? Certainly it doesn't seem right that we should pay so that companies can try to sell us their products.
So I would like to suggest that if a book includes product placement, its cover price should come down.
Yes, I know that product placement and honest-to-God commercials are already in movies and movie theaters, with no dip in the price of tickets. But there should be! If I'm trapped in a theater watching commercials for a couple of minutes before a movie, I shouldn't have to pay nearly ten dollars for the privilege. And if I have to wade through references to this company's lipstick and that company's shoes while I'm reading, I shouldn't have to pay top dollar for the book.