Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tracking ebook reading habits

The other day, some headlines came out that reminded us of one of the features of ebooks, at least when they are read using the ebook sellers' reading devices and apps: Kobo announced a list of which ebooks readers are more likely to finish... or not finish.

It turns out that being a bestselling book doesn't necessarily mean a lot of people are reading it.  For instance, Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch was only completed less than half of the time, and Twelve Years a Slave was only completed a whopping quarter of the time.

What ebooks do people tend to finish, though?

Casey Kelleher’s thriller Rotten to the Core was listed as being the most completed book in the UK. Katia Lief's One Cold Night, while listed as being "only" completed 69 percent of the time, is still more often completed than either The Goldfinch or Twelve Years a Slave.  I imagine that thrillers, romance, and other easy-to-read books are probably completed much more often than classics and literature.

Some customers might object to ebook seller tracking their reading habits, but if this bothers you, there are some ways around it.  Just download the ebook onto your computer and transfer it (sideload) onto your tablet or e-reader.  I actually even prefer ebook reading apps like BlueFire to the ebook sellers' apps -- particularly Kobo's app, which I find to be clunky and counterintuitive.

I don't think it's a bad thing that booksellers are tracking our reading habits, though.  Perhaps it'll influence what books make it onto the bestseller lists in the future -- not just what sells well, but what people actually read, as in, from beginning to end.

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