Another sign of the crumbling wall between traditional media and advertising... MIT's Branding Cultures blog reports on  a Russian advertising firm that sells product placement in pulp fiction and sci-fi novels. The firm keeps a stable of 20 authors (listed on the site) and, according to Branding Cultures, offers potential clients "direct in-book advertising on dust cover, wrappers and special bookmarks, as well as inclusion of product samplers and full-page color inserts." Ambitious companies can even contract to have entire plotlines and characters developed around their wares. ((Shudder)) Tolstoy would have been proud.
No word on whether or not the company includes a label or fine print distinguishing paid material from authentic, um, art.