Warning: Rant Alert! 😉
The article points out something that I didn’t know – and which honestly gives me the “Creeping Willies” – you are being tracked, just like a terrorist or a criminal wearing an ankle bracelet.
e-book retailers are now able to tell which books we’ve finished or not finished, how fast we have read them, and precisely where we snapped shut the cover of our e-books and moved on to something else. – New York Review of Books –They’re Watching You Read by Francine Prose.
I did find it funny that many of the “It” books (Gone Girl is used as an example) may be purchased, but whether they are finished or not – well, let’s say ‘not’ is the most usual answer. And tracking only e-books means that they really don’t know how many people who purchase paper versions actually read the book. With Gone Girl, the third most purchased book at Kobo, only 46 percent of the readers who purchased the book made it to the end. Fifty Shades of Gray? Only 48 percent could stomach it all the way through. The most popular French book, in terms of sales, shows “Le Suicide Français,” may have been a runaway hit in terms of sales, but just 7 percent of Kobo’s French readers made it through the book’s conclusion.
Now, maybe people are putting the books down and coming back later – but it is statistically unlikely that these large numbers will follow that pattern. More likely? People are buying the books because they are “trendy” – then dropping them when they find them unpalatable, or simply boring. Or, in the case of FSoG, gross, poorly written, and juvenile. Anyway! Off the point.
There are several things that bother me. As a reader – keep your big ol’ nose out of my reading habits!!! I bought the bloody book, you shouldn’t be able to track when, where, and how I read it – or if I finish it. That is my business!!! It’s not like I am reading “Bomb Making For Dummies” or “How To Take Over The World In Three Easy Steps”. And people like Amazon and Kobo, etc., have no business knowing that I occasionally go on Paranormal Romance binges! (Uh, did I just admit that?) If I want you to know I read all the Eve Langlais Freakin’ Shifter and Kodiak Point books, one after the other, in order, over a 48-hour period, that’s my business. Hey, I was depressed, whadda ya’ want?! I just read three hard-hitting thrillers as well, with several more on my list, so get over it.
For those of you who are authors? As Prose points out in her article:
(She) imagined a not-too-distant future in which “writers (and their editors) could soon be facing meetings in which the marketing department informs them that 82 percent of readers lost interest in their memoir on page 272. And if they want to be published in the future, whatever happens on that page should never be repeated.”
So. That sounds suspiciously like what you will be allowed to write will be forced to conform to statistical marketing patterns rather than what you want to write. And as Deborah Jay said in a comment on my review of Tibetan Cross by Mike Bond:
I guess he writes what he enjoys over what might appeal to the widest market.
Agreed. However, there is a deeper meaning here. If Mike Bond wants to write for himself, to market to a particular audience, even if that audience is limited – who should have the right to tell him no, he can’t do that??? What right does big business have to tell you what you can and cannot write? I may not have been happy with aspects of his books, and yes, I skim quite a bit, but I read the parts that interest me, that entertain me – and isn’t that MY right?
Hey, I own the book, leave me the hell alone!