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Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:06 PM

Your E-Book Is Reading You

Your E-Book Is Reading You

By ALEXANDRA ALTER

It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games" trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: "Because sometimes things happen to people and they're not equipped to deal with them." And on Barnes & Noble's Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first "Hunger Games" book is to download the next one.

In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.

For centuries, reading has largely been a solitary and private act, an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page. But the rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way we read, transforming the activity into something measurable and quasi-public.

The major new players in e-book publishing—Amazon, Apple and Google—can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books. Book apps for tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook record how many times readers open the app and how much time they spend reading. Retailers and some publishers are beginning to sift through the data, gaining unprecedented insight into how people engage with books.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304870304577490950051438304.html

21 replies, 3249 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Your E-Book Is Reading You (Original post)
EFerrari Jul 2012 OP
RKP5637 Jul 2012 #1
dmallind Jul 2012 #20
msongs Jul 2012 #2
TheWraith Jul 2012 #3
Samantha Jul 2012 #15
TheWraith Jul 2012 #16
Samantha Jul 2012 #19
Skittles Jul 2012 #17
russspeakeasy Jul 2012 #4
thelordofhell Jul 2012 #8
marmar Jul 2012 #10
hlthe2b Jul 2012 #5
enlightenment Jul 2012 #12
MANative Jul 2012 #6
sad sally Jul 2012 #7
Speck Tater Jul 2012 #9
eppur_se_muova Jul 2012 #11
TheWraith Jul 2012 #13
d_r Jul 2012 #14
Odin2005 Jul 2012 #18
knitter4democracy Jul 2012 #21

Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:11 PM

1. And I bet DHS has a direct feed on just what one is reading, and the profiling

continues.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 02:35 PM

20. Funny. A goodly number of book discussions are about finding writers like X or books like Y

and yet everybody goes all Jason Bourne paranoid about a way to get targeted recommendations while doing bugger all except read what you like. i get the feeling people have delusions of importance about suit-wearing jocks with crew cuts and suspicious bulges under their left armpits scouring their reading material.

It's to make automated ads more effective folks, no more. If Agent Mike really cared what you read for any reason, buying books cash in disguise at different bookstores is not going to cause him much extra work.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:11 PM

2. my paperbacks and harcovers tell no tales on me for marketing purposes or otherwise nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:13 PM

3. Of course they do.

Unless you buy every single book offline, at different bookstores, with cash only, then yes, your purchase data is being looked at.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 2, 2012, 12:16 AM

15. And that is exactly what I do and have done for years n/t

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Response to Samantha (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 2, 2012, 12:28 AM

16. Well, congrats.

Add adopting a different false name every few months, holding no driver's license or other major ID, and moving from place to place, and you'll have finally achieved total protection from the possibility that someone might try to sell you something, at the small price of being permanently paranoid.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 2, 2012, 10:46 AM

19. I do not worry about becoming permanently paranoid, thank you very much

I am an extremely stable person whose preference it is to protect my privacy from those who snoop. And that is certainly my prerogative.

Sam

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 2, 2012, 04:43 AM

17. half-price books, different stores, cash

no facebook, twitter, Amazon, etc

WOOT!!!

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:14 PM

4. There you go !

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:51 PM

8. If you purchase "The Catcher In The Rye" or "The Anarchist Cookbook", you are on an FBI list

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Response to thelordofhell (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 04:56 PM

10. Pay in cash.

nt

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:15 PM

5. Who's to say they don't just open the app, start to read and then get called away for hours...

one might assume a VERY slow reader...

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 05:36 PM

12. It seems to track percentage read -

not on the length of time the book is open.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:19 PM

6. This is why I use Calibre software, download my epubs and load...

them directly into my Nook or tablet. Since they go through my own "filtering" process, they remain free of any snooping, interference, or monitoring by anyone other than me. Calibre is your friend. Kovid Goyal (the software developer) is my hero.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 03:46 PM

7. yet here I sit...talking to myself via DU - on a screen...ah, solitude, what joy you bring.

“Nothing can replace the feel of the paper against your fingers, the ink soaked up by paper, the sensation of turning a page with the wind rustling your hair, or the deliberate and intricate presentation of images and text that you can only get in the real world, on real pages. And few things can be as torturous as sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end.”
― Crimethinc

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 04:22 PM

9. I read all three of the Hunger Games books on Kindle

 

but I read them in Spanish. I wonder if they track highlighted passages across translations.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 05:25 PM

11. I always thought potboiler paperbacks should be sold from vending machines ...

leaving the bookstore staff more time to help customers ... ebooks will end up doing that, but with no profit going to the brick&mortar stores. Maybe vending machines would be a way to fight back, or to keep more of the computer-shy customers.

Post Office vending machines already handle $5,10,20 bills ...

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #11)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 06:01 PM

13. The computer-shy customers are increasingly less shy.

I can't count the number of people who I've heard talk about how they read now on their iPad or other tablet, after never touching ebooks before.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 09:29 PM

14. i read mobi format

loaded with calibre; amazon doesn't know what I just read.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2012, 09:01 AM

18. Another reason for me to stay away from E-books.

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Response to EFerrari (Original post)

Wed Jul 4, 2012, 06:32 PM

21. One good thing from this is it might change publishing.

Before, they just had sales figures. Now they have more data and might be more willing to take a chance on something that is similar to another success. This might really help new authors get published, especially since e-books are cheaper to publish.

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