Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spying on How You Read

          Did you know that while you are reading an e-book your e-reader is reading you?
          Your Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or whatever takes back information about what you have highlighted, where you bookmarked, how long it took you to read a book, when and where you stopped and started reading.
          Getting into your private reading space provides valuable information to the publishing industry. How long does it take readers to read a certain book? How many stop after Chapter Four? How often do they pick it up and put it down? Authors also likely would be interested in how readers are reading their works.
It's Watching You!
          All the data collected from E-readers is aggregated and supposedly anonymous. What is worrisome, however, is that the E-reader companies do not tell you clearly and precisely what they are collecting from your reader and why. It is a huge privacy issue that few people seem concerned about.
          Most disturbing, however, are the insights into reader mentality. For instance, Amazon Kindle reports that a sentence from the Hunger Games Trilogy is its most highlighted passage ever with 17,000-plus readers marking it.
          The sentence: "Because sometimes things happen to people and they're not equipped to deal with them." Wow, isn’t that profound?
          George Orwell’s famous passage in his Ninety-Eighty-Four has been highlighted by only 349 Kindle users. That passage: “'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. '”
          Now that’s profound.

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