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Publishing and Promoting > Tracking readers: legitimate or not?

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message 2: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 132 comments I would not use any device or software that allowed my habits to be tracked. No, I don't use Kindle. It is another reason I prefer my smartphone or tablet. Rooted, I can use a firewall to block all unwanted outgoing transmissions and data usage. I do not respond to data upload requests unless I can do it using an anonymous email.


message 3: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 10, 2015 09:48AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) I'm not sure what useful data (other than personal info useful to identity thefts and spammers) anyone expects from those analytics.

Anyone downloading an ARC or buying/downloading a book is likely already interested in that book.

If trying to ensure someone really read the book because of ARC or review programs wanting to ensure books were read -- people who aren't honest about that can just turn pages as if reading to bypass that check (at least unless they install or use existing cameras to track eyeball movement).

Reading speed? I guess that can lead to statistics on average reading speed for most people but there's an absolute flood of that data out there already; no surprises or useful data there because so many studies already done even breaking out by types of books, genres, devices/formats, etc.. Reading speed of a particular reader? Well, that gives you the reading speed of a particular reader but not sure why a single reader's speed matters.

Not completely sure why any reading speeds matter. People read or don't read; as much as their real life activities allow and they want. To put a probable reading time and time left type of info on ebooks based on average reading speeds can already be done from existing statistics; to put your probable reading speed on an ebook is something that ereader device/account could already know without uploading data to someone for other use. That raw data without an accompanying survey or notes from the reader about faster and slower parts explaining they got distracted by a show on TV or something doesn't seem useful.

How gripping certain parts of a book are? Hey I skim uninteresting parts much faster. Plus no data, without invasive cameras/devices tracking eyeball movement, is going to know if I had an itch, was using tv remote, had a pet or kid trying for attention or needed to blow my nose while reading...the more uninterrupted my reading time the more immersed in my reading I will be, so what? It's not like the commercial interests can control how interrupted my read will be.

My reading speed and habits should prove less useful to commercial interests like authors and publishers (partly because those habits depend on real life) than what books I find appealing, read and buy. If they did find a way to determine exactly what appeals or doesn't because of how I read certain books or passages and to know exactly what was going on in real life at the time so could adjust for it -- is that something they can turn into a sale for books I wouldn't otherwise find appealing or is that something I'd have no way of knowing (even though their reading analytics mean they would know it) unless book appealed to me enough to read it?


message 4: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 132 comments D.A.-tell me if there's a love triangle or drama w/ book wrote: "I'm not sure what useful data (other than personal info useful to identity thefts) anyone expects from those analytics.

Anyone downloading an ARC or buying/downloading a book is likely already i..."


Exactly. So you have to wonder what else the software/trojan can pick up off of your reader/system. Otherwise, why bother?


message 5: by T.H. (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments I think I understand why publishers are interested in what books people are devouring and not just which books are being purchased. I think it helps them select the titles and authors they want to acquire. So I do see a use for it in ARCs. However, the whole concept of people tracking where I go, what I read, and how many hours I read is just a little too stalkerish for me.

I already hate the way Google targets me with ads. I mean, we bought a new bed last year and for the next several months, they targeted the exact thing I ALREADY bought and probably won't need again for at least ten years. If they were smart, they would have shown me ads of sheets or comforter sets, or something...


message 6: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 50 comments T.H. wrote: "However, the whole concept of people tracking where I go, what I read, and how many hours I read is just a little too stalkerish for me..."

The thing is they already do it with new cars. They can tell where you went and where you were at what time of the day. With some car models, if the police is chasing you they can even park your car and lock you inside without you being able to do anything.

You post pictures on FB and with the GPS in your camera/tablet etc, they can tell where you are. So kind of handy for thieves if you want my opinion.

As long as your phone is on, they know where you are. So if you want to keep your life a secret, ditch your cell phone along with everything electronic. No one is safe. :P

Anyway, all this to say that nowadays, there's not much that cannot be done. Since I don't have anything to hide, if they want to waste their time, heck be my guest. :>


message 7: by T.H. (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments G.G. wrote: "T.H. wrote: "However, the whole concept of people tracking where I go, what I read, and how many hours I read is just a little too stalkerish for me..."

The thing is they already do it with new ca..."

Oh, I know. I just don't like it.


message 8: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 50 comments T.H. wrote: "GOh, I know. I just don't like it..."

Yeah, I don't think anyone does. :(


message 9: by T.H. (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments G.G. wrote: "T.H. wrote: "GOh, I know. I just don't like it..."

Yeah, I don't think anyone does. :("

Well if Larry Page doesn't he's a bit of a hypocrite :-)


message 10: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 10, 2015 02:42PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) T.H. wrote: "I think I understand why publishers are interested in what books people are devouring and not just which books are being purchased. I think it helps them select the titles and authors they want to ..."

You mean tracking reading pirated versus purchased or legally downloaded (both of which are treated as sales in data publishers already see) books? I'm not sure the tracking software would be in a pirated file (or left in when copy protections got hacked). Or if tracking software was actually on the ereader device that it could tell what book the pirated file was since wouldn't be a "native" to device ebook.

Legal downloads are tracked the same as sales. It's reaching to think publishers are interested in what we are reading that hadn't been purchased or downloaded from usual sources which is data they already have without monitoring the actual read. A few online and fan fiction files downloaded wouldn't be in download/sales data figures -- but hiw interest are publishers in fanfiction? Books borrowed from library and other print copies so far aren't tracking anyone's read to the best of my knowledge.

I'm certainly open minded to a point about publishers fighting against book piracy -- but, I don't see how reader's data like reading speed has anything to do with it. Sure, if those data analytics were also going to run some text of the file against every book publisher publishes then publisher could guess file might be pirated (could equally have been purchased for a different device and moved over) -- but, not sure it would lead them to who uploaded or what site file was downloaded from.


message 11: by T.H. (last edited Aug 10, 2015 02:41PM) (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments D.A.-tell me if there's a love triangle or drama w/ book wrote: "T.H. wrote: "I think I understand why publishers are interested in what books people are devouring and not just which books are being purchased. I think it helps them select the titles and authors ..."
No, I meant legitimately purchased books. I understand why publishers would want to know which books were being voraciously read and which ones were repeatedly put down. On an individual basis, it means nothing. But if thousands of readers are burning through Divergent, it tells them that their author and their book is a winning formula. Yes, numbers sold are key, but a popular book could sell well but still take readers twice as long to get through it on average. That data would be interesting to dissect.


message 12: by Miss M (new)

Miss M | 84 comments It's really not that hard to see why publishers would be interested. Here are some comments Andy Rhomberg from Jellybooks made during the discussion on TPV:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/08/201...

"How is the data being used? For the first time the publisher got a sense, if the books were actually being read and if not, where people dropped off.

Who was reading the book (gender, age), when (during commute, on the weekend, etc.) and in 2 days or did it take a month. It helps the publisher immensely to better understand their AUDIENCE."

"...(b) it’s part of an experimental service to figure out, if data can inform publishing workflows: how to create better books or how to better better market them by understanding whom a book actually appeals to

(c) It turns some books sell well, but people don’t actually read them. Other books are read voraciously, but haven;t sold well (yet), maybe because they weren;t marketed well. Data may help address such issues. IT’s an experiment in progress."

"Many publishers and auhtors have expressed an interest in understanding the demographics of who reads their books. Does it appeal to younger or older readers, male or female? I’d say it is an obvious question for a creator.

In some ongoing experiments we ask readers for gender and birthdate when registering for a free ebook and explain why we are asking for these details. We then monitor if completion rates, number of pauses, reading speed, etc. vary based on these parameters.

in ongoig trial, we are comparing two crime novels written by female authors to see if they appeal to different kinds of readers. When tets reading the two books I personally thought one was too “girly” for me (I am a 46 year old and thought the book delved too much into “female issues”) while the other one was a gripping thriller where the fact it was about relationship issues was just part of the plot. The question now is: was I the exception or typical? That’s what the experiment in this particular case is trying to establish…"


message 14: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 12, 2015 07:28PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) A. wrote: "Ebooks can tell which novels you didn't finish ..."

Good luck tracking anything other than did I turn thorough all the pages of that edition of the book on that (or synced) devices.

Good luck judging whether or not I finished novel on audio cd during a long drive.

I have six books right now I'm reading in both ebook and hard copy form. How the hell is he ebook going to tell I don't finish the hard copy? (Job requirement -- in some areas I cannot have personal electronic devices so it's easier to keep the hardcover at work in the secure area than dealing with security checkpoints). Good luck with that one. I lose hard copies and devices die (or mfr goes out of busepiness and stops supporting) or have to wait for new part so go back to hard copy ....

And good luck to ebooks thinking they can track I haven't read a novel that I was re-reading on that device when I've already re-read it so much I wore out hard copy and decided to replace it in ebook form (or got a treasured copy signed so set aside safe to re-read on device ...)

That tracking is going to have to be a heck of a lot more invasive before I believe it can tell if I finish even a recently published novel. And even then, only if it asks if I will be reading that same book on any other device or any other method (asks if I have or will be borrowing or will be reading aloud to someone from their copy ...).

Miss M wrote: "Who was reading the book (gender, age), when (during commute, on the weekend, etc.) and in 2 days or did it take a month. It helps the publisher immensely to better understand their AUDIENCE/..."

I guess I still don't get it. Things like telling if someone was reading during a commute or not -- do they ask for your work and home address and use devices that turn on GPS? Do they interrupt start/stop of read to ask you? Do you have to not let other household members use the device to not skew the results?

If 200,000 average speed readers finish a book in a week, 300,000 slower than average readers take 1-4 weeks to finish, and 200,000 speed readers burn thru it in less than 24 hours -- how does that translate into sales or marketing? What if some of those readers normally read a thousand books a year from various sources including buying in that device and some only read 3 or 4 books a year -- how do you figure that in the tracking?

If 40,000 teenage readers buy and burn through a book but 300,000 teenage readers buy and slowly read a book -- I have trouble seeing how tracking reading speed (which regardless of book or device will be so subjective to each reader and their reading environment and real life interruptions) tells publishers which type of book they should be marketing...

I can see some use to track how quickly after finishing one ebook the next ebook is bought as an indication of how many books a year a reader might conceivably buy (not quite sure what publishers would do with that because generally reader is going to have a budget in terms of funds and in terms of time).

Tracking my reading schedule on a device to to somehow decide I'm reading during a commute or not is about as accurate as when I was flagged for making a personal attack on an author because I shelved another author's VMWare study guide on my P2P (peer to peer computer networking shelf).

It's not a controlled enough environment to generate valid data. A reader with a cold might read 10 times faster when not on cold medicine; just because I might read a book weekdays at 9 am does not mean I am reading during my commute--unless asking in a survey, how the heck would a publisher even know if I commuted or worked at home or drove to work or worked weekends or night shift? If data is coming from questions and surveys, why the tracking?

If just going for averages and crowdsourcing, almost all of the viable data from tracking is already known. The average reading speed is the average reading speed. There's not a whole lot publishers can do to make us read any faster than we do unless we're willing to work through some speed reading program they might offer. Tracking won't tell if we are in the mood to buy a new book. Tracking won't tell what we are in the mood to buy. Generally, yes, if we love a particular genre, we're likely to enjoy more books in that genre -- but, tracking cannot tell if we got recommended something by a friend or were burned out on genre and wanted to try something new.


message 16: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 132 comments The thing is the e-reader reporting cannot be viewed in isolation and hence dismissed as useless. Data mining now involves ceaselessly gathering tiny bits of information about you from everything you do on line, and using it to develop a predictive profile of your behaviour.

http://digitalmediaix.com/consumer-ma...


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