Hey, cause for celebration, possibly. I just found out the Kindle version of my book, Will Write for Food, is the 16,620th Most Highlighted Book of All Time on Kindle — just a few points below The Qur’An and Start a Cupcake Business Today.
Is this good news? I have no idea.
But it’s info I didn’t have before, and potentially helpful. Now I can look up what people highlighted and see that they tweeted quotes from my book. (That’s how I found out about this phenomenon. Someone included @diannej in the tweet).
Kindle users sign an agreement granting Amazon permission to store information, including the last page they read, plus bookmarks, highlights, notes and annotations. So there’s more that I could see, if I could figure out how to get to it.
According to The Wall St. Journal, e-book publishers can find out all kinds of things about the way readers consume the electronic version of our books. “The major new players in e-book publishing’97Amazon, Apple and Google’97can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books,” says the article. “Book apps for tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook record how many times readers open the app and how much time they spend reading. Retailers and some publishers are beginning to sift through the data, gaining unprecedented insight into how people engage with books.”
Regarding non-fiction books, readers consume them in fits and starts, according to Barnes and Noble’s Nook data. That’s not surprising for a book like mine or cookbooks, but it probably doesn’t apply to memoir. Also, Nook readers routinely abandon long nonfiction books. (Uh oh. My book is 100,000 words! Time for a haircut?)
So what do I do with this spying information, now that I have it? For example, the most highlighted sentence in my book is, “Food writing is often all about the senses: touch, smell, sound, appearance, and taste.” Does this mean I should I write more about writing with the senses?
How about you? As an reader, are you okay with these companies collecting information about how you read a book? And as an author, would you change your book based on reader preferences, or consider how the data affects your next book?
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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