Ebooks Know What Kind of Reader You Are
In the digital age, your reading habits are an open book to companies like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. As The Wall Street Journal reports, ebook sellers can easily track reading data—data such as how long you spend reading, how far you get in a book, what text you search for, and what you read next. Not all companies are open about what they collect, but Barnes & Noble’s vice president of ebooks, Jim Hilt, confirmed to the Journal that the bookseller is “in the earliest stages of deep analytics,” and uses the data to determine which books to sell on its Nook ebook reader products.
There’s no evidence that booksellers use reading data for nefarious purposes, such as sharing your habits with marketers or government agencies. The bigger concern, for the moment, is that authors and publishers may tailor the content they create or publish to sync with the reading tastes of the mainstream, which would discourage creative risk-taking and diminish the variety of available content.
What You Can Do: If you’re uncomfortable having your reading habits collected, your only option is to shut off your device’s Internet connection whenever you’re about to open an ebook.