Verizon and AT&T Want a Piece of the eBook Business

Envy: it’s a powerful thing.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) are both looking at e-book readers as a new source of income, having eyed up the success of Amazon’s Kindle, which uses Sprint (NYSE: S) Nextel’s network to allow consumers to download digital books to their devices. The e-reader interest is part of a larger drive to find additional wireless devices to connect to networks, as the US’s wireless market for cell phones reaches saturation point.

Bloomberg quotes AT&T’s head of emerging devices Glenn Lurie as saying the Kindle has done a “phenomenol job” and that the network wants to be part of that market. Lurie told the news service, “There’s a whole bunch of ways to monetize that type of device. That’s coming, it’s coming fast. We’re going to be part of it.” Lurie didn’t mention any potential partners, however, or any timing on when such a device might be available.

The key sentence here is, “there’s a whole bunch of ways to monetize that type of device”. Sounds like part of that monetization could be ads. Like, popup ads, and ads embedded into content, like right in between paragraphs on the page of your most favorite novel.

Hope I’m wrong.

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