Andromeda/Your Turn: Your Ebook is Spying on You. Do You Care?

Here’s a topic that may get your motor racing. I missed it when it was first published last year, but when my husband brought it to my attention last week, it certainly made me think twice.

Did you know some ebook companies are tracking what people underline most (18,000 readers of the final Hunger Games book underlined, “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.”) And that some publishers are custom-tailoring plots according to what readers most seem to favor?

Do you realize that when you leave an e-novel half-read, publishers may take note? And that tech companies are logging how long people take to read certain books, and which books get re-read? Are you comfortable with the idea that your personal e-book notes may be shared with the public?

This Wall Street Journal article from July 2012   tells us that the “deep analytics” study of readers’ habits is just beginning. How far will it go?

The Guardian rehashed much of the same info as WSJ, but took a skeptical tone: Is this really such a big deal?

I’d venture that 49Writers readers consider the privacy issue a big one–and we may all need to learn more about the details (on my to-do list: finding a way to opt out of sharing my own notes on Kindle, if they are in fact being aggregated; this FAQ suggests my default is most likely private, not public). But will this new data-crunching actually change publishing? Is it such big news that people read Fifty Shades of Grey much faster than they read Wolf Hall? Is there an intellectual up-side to the aggregating of notes, highlights, and public reading patterns?

Tell us what you think.

1 thought on “Andromeda/Your Turn: Your Ebook is Spying on You. Do You Care?”

  1. Since you asked, I find this totally creepy. i don't have an e-reader, but as someone who logs out of Gmail, never comments on anything signed in, and turns off cell phones when not using them, this puts me more firmly in the skeptical camp…

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