This post continues to elaborate on Scott Jensen's theory about a possible way in which e-books might change the way our reading materials come to us in the future. This was written, also, in part, as an answer to Mr. Atkin's comment in Part One. Please understand that this only one theory as to how publishing, as we know it today, could change. Part of Mr. Atkin's question involved what will happen to literary agents if what Scott suggests were to come to fruition. Here's Scott's answer:
What advertisements would be in the literature you read would be up to the writer, agent, and the advertisers, publishing as we know it having died. The control (thus power) will be with the writers and possibly their agents, which means mainly with the writer. Some writers will care about what ads appear in their novels. Some won't. Some agents will point out how one advertiser will pay more than another advertiser and some writers will listen. Some won't. And I'm sure there will be plenty of agents pulling their hair out because the writer won't agree to big-spending Advertiser X running an ad in their novel. And I could see some agents doing likewise with writers that "just must have" Advertiser Y in their novel but when the agent approached them, they weren't interested and whereupon the writer throws a temper tantrum because they "must" have that advertiser for their novel to be all that it is meant to be.
As for myself and as I'm writing my current novel, I making notes of what kind of an advertiser should be between chapters and even what I want shown in their ad. The job (my or my agent's job) will be to find these advertisers and convince them to create their ads in the way that would enrich my novel and pay me something for this advertising.
Then there is Amazon that is taking possibly a step between the above two extremes. The ads inserted into their e-books are very likely like ads you see by Google. They are related to the subject currently being discussed but not selected by the writer. And I think this is about the only thing that Amazon can do to survive. They must be able to offer the writers (and their agents) more than the agents are able to independently get. If Amazon can, agents will recommend to their writers to go with Amazon. However, any agent worth their salt (their cut) will laugh at the money offered by Amazon since they will be able to get their writers FAR more due to their own direct relationships with ad agencies and major advertisers. Given this, I think the only way for Amazon to survive would be to try to cut out the agent! In other words, writers directly submit to Amazon (probably by way of an automated submission and acceptance system) and then Amazon inserts their ads and pays the writer a percentage of the ad revenue generated. [In fact, what surprises me is that Google hasn't already been doing this since they already have all the technology and advertiser base.] But this agent-less Amazon route will VERY likely be the option of beginning writers only. Once you're an established writer, agents should easily be able to get you more money than Amazon will be able to offer. Then again, this might just be the route that starting-out writers will have to take. Agents might not consider a writer until they have proven themselves with Amazon.
And anyone that is opposed to advertisements in books ignores magazines. Some of the greatest short stories in history were first published in magazines. In fact, some of the greatest novels were serialized in magazines. Sir Arthur Canon Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventures (both short stories and full novels) first saw print in the Strand Magazine.
As for bookstores, I'm sorry but they'll go the way of horse stables. E-books don't need physical bookstores. And once e-books take hold, many writers (and their agents) won't bother with coming out with a printed version of their work. No, bookstores are dead men walking right now.
To Be Contiued: