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E-Book Sellers Track Your Reading Habits

Written by Gary North on July 3, 2012

They do not track mine, because I don’t use an eBook reader. I have nothing against them, but I just have not adjusted.

I gave my Kindle to my wife.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, we learn that Barnes & Noble has a system of tracking information on what Nook readers buy, read, and how they read.

They read novels fast, and in just a few sittings. They read non-fiction is fit and starts. The tend not to finish non-fiction books. They finish novels.

To which I say: “Duh.” Who hadn’t figured out this much?

Anyway, the publishing industry wants to know this sort of thing. The industry wants to be able to tell writers when to end a chapter.

I know exactly when to end a chapter. When I’m finished.

This kind of information is going to do to writing what “paint by the numbers” did for painting.

For textbooks, which are written for committees, maybe this information will be valuable. Not for me.

Those insights are already shaping the types of books that Barnes & Noble sells on its Nook. Mr. Hilt says that when the data showed that Nook readers routinely quit long works of nonfiction, the company began looking for ways to engage readers in nonfiction and long-form journalism. They decided to launch “Nook Snaps,” short works on topics ranging from weight loss and religion to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Let’s call these ventures what they are: McBooks.

For cranking out how-to books or self-help books, that’s OK with me. But I am not interested in this for anything really serious.

New e-reading services, which allow readers to purchase and store books in a digital library and read them on different devices, have some of the most sophisticated reader tracking software. The digital reading platform Copia, which has 50,000 subscribers, collects detailed demographic and reading data—including the age, gender and school affiliation of people who bought particular titles, as well as how many times the books were downloaded, opened and read—and shares its findings with publishers. Copia aggregates the data, so that individual users aren’t identifiable, and shares that information with publishers that request it.

I would like it better if readers could opt out of this tracking.

What else is tracked? Click the link.

Continue Reading on online.wsj.com

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2 thoughts on “E-Book Sellers Track Your Reading Habits

  1. I have a Nook and Barnes and Noble don't track me, other than what books I buy from them, and even them, I have books on it that I did not buy from them, so their information is not complete. How do I keep them from tracking me? Simple: I keep the Nook's wifi connection permanently disabled. I load new books via USB cable. The wifi is a big drain on battery life, anyway, so that's why I never use it.

  2. PrivacyLover says:

    1. Listen to TruNews with Rick Wiles.
    2. Listen to The PowerHour with Joyce Riley.
    3. Listen to Politics & Religion with Irvine Baxter.