Publishers have been in the dark when it comes to how a book is read once it is purchased. From the beginning of the eBook Reader explosion publishers have been slow to catch the fever. They did not know how to protect themselves and have been forced to jump into the eBook world by readers. What they found was surprising and very important to the growth of the publishing industry. They found a wealth of data ready to decipher. With each eBook purchase a world of information is gathered that can assist them to properly predict and understand the connection between a book and the reader. For the first time the publishing world can look at certain behaviors never available before.
Data such as:
~ Now they know: It takes the average reader close to seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games" trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour.
~ Now they know: Approximately 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy: "Because sometimes things happen to people and they're not equipped to deal with them."
~ Now they know: On the Barnes & Noble's Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first "Hunger Games" book is to download the next one.
The rise of digital books has created a profound view of how people read, thus transforming reading into something quasi-public and measurable. EBooks are providing information that links behavior with sales figures. EBooks now show how people purchase books but how they read them.
Digital publisher Coliloquy from romance-novel readers, tells us that data collected shows the average reader is male, a European accent, in his 30s, has black hair and green eyes. That’s amazing and scary at the same time!
Today publishers know what you read, what you read first, what you read over and over, what you highlight, what you share and what you ignore. The three top eBook publishers ~ Amazon, Apple and Google ~ can easily track how long a reader reads, and how far they read each time they read. They know how a reader uses search inside a book. For even more data an eBook app, for example, has the ability to not only record how much time is spent reading but how many times the APP is open and for whatever reason. What publishers and retailers are gaining insight into the mysterious relationship between the reader and the books they purchase.
Publishing is catching up with the entertainment industry has known for years. . .focus groups gives a clear picture of the relationship between people and TV shows, movies, and more. The entertainment industry understands how to measure consumers’ habits and ever-changing tastes. With this new data being collected through eBooks, the publishing industry is beginning to see the benefits of this knowledge. As they start to embrace this valuable data more and become more technically inclined, their profits will begin to grow and the readers will find what they want to read quicker and easier.
Below are some stats from Barnes & Noble. These stats were learned from their eBook reader, the Nook:
1. Barnes & Noble: Data collected from Nooks reveals how far readers get in any particular book, how quickly they read and the different particular genres for each reader. Jim Hilt, the company's VP of eBooks, says the company is starting to share their insights with publishers to help them create books that better hold people's attention.
2. Barnes & Noble: Nook devices and e-books generated $1.3 billion, compared with $880 million the previous year.
3. Barnes & Noble: Microsoft recently invested $300 million for a 17.6% stake in the Nook.
4. Barnes & Noble: Nook users who buy the first book in a popular series tend to read all the books as if it were one novel.
5. Barnes & Noble: Nonfiction books are read sporadically and tend to get dropped much earlier if they are long, whereas fiction books are generally read to completion.
6. Barnes & Noble: Science-fiction, romance and crime-fiction fans often read more books more quickly than readers of literary fiction do, and finish most of the books they start.
Insights, like those listed above, are shaping the types of books offered by Barnes & Noble on its Nook. This insight also was responsible for their ‘Nook Snaps’ launch, short works on various topics such as weight loss.
Authors are also becoming interested in what this data says about their work specifically. Some welcome this new insight, while others tend to shy away. If authors can find out if their book is too long they can go back to the editing table and publish a more inviting piece of literature.
All of this data is being collected, while most eBook readers are unaware. If you are going to read eBooks there is little that can be done to stop the data collection. EBooks are here to stay and so is data collection. So if you do not want ‘big publisher’ to know your reading habits or choices then you need to stay with the printed word.