Don’t Look Now, But You Are Being Followed

The world is filled with paranoid delusional conspiracy theorists involved in an elaborate campaign out to get the rest of us!

Attention everyone! To the underground bunker!

So, you think you own an e-book “reader”?  Think again bunky. That e-book reading machine is spying on you.

Seriously folks, if you don’t know this already, your e-book reader is a two-way communication device that allows you to pull in any book you desire, but also transmits information back about what you are reading, where you stopped reading and even what sections you highlighted.

Late last year, Amazon released some its Kindle reading data to The Atlantic and it revealed some interesting facts.  For instance, the most highlighted Bible passage was from the NIV Bible, from Philippians:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
(Phil. 4:6-7)

Not a bad section to highlight, now that I think about it.

The same wireless connection that allows a consumer to download an e-book in a busy airport or moving automobile also transmits data on your reading and highlighting habits to the e-book seller. They know a lot more than you think they know.

For instance, Amazon knows what books have been purchased and never read. They know where readers tended to stop reading a particular book. They know what sections are the strongest based on what was highlighted.

When Amazon decided to get into publishing books a few years ago, they started out with an enormous amount of information on millions of book titles and reading trends. While they have not be able to achieve significant distribution of their own proprietary or self-published titles outside of the Amazon online world, they certainly have information no one else has on reading habits of their customers.

One of the issues that e-book reading data has created is to put some cold facts to the myth that just because someone buys a book, they read it in its entirety.

A percentage will read part of it.

A percentage will never read it.

A couple weeks ago, Canadian based e-book retailer Kobo released reading data and specifically mentioned Donna Tartt’s bestseller The Goldfinch was finished by less than half of the readers in Britain and Canada. Still it was a best-seller.

They also mentioned that the national average for finishing a mystery novel is 62%. That means that over a third of mystery readers are not intrigued enough to find out whodunit.

All this reminds me of the various surveys and studies done over the years related to Bible reading. Some organizations will look at increased Bible sales or distribution as an indication of increased Bible reading.  That might not be the case.

Every author would like to sell a lot of their work and have people read it, like it and be ready to buy their next book. Keep in mind that you are fighting to maintain reader attention in every chapter.

Nothing can stop a compelling book from being read to…

The End.

To read the full article on Amazon from The Atlantic, click here.

For the full article about Kobo data, click here.


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