Earlier this month, Rakuten — Japan’s e-commerce giant, akin to Amazon in the US – announced it would acquire Cleveland-based Overdrive, a supplier of digital content to libraries. In January at the Digital Book World Conference, Overdrive’s David Burleigh and Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn (Rakuten purchased the Canadian-based e-book publishers and device maker in 2011) told CCC’s Chris Kenneally how data drives their businesses and what it reveals about their customers’ reading habits.
The owners of ebook platforms now have unprecedented and previously unattainable knowledge about how people read.
They literally see every time an ebook is opened; on what device it is being opened; how fast it is read; and whether passages or entire works are re-read. Perhaps most dismaying of all for authors and publishers alike, they even know many ebooks that are bought are never “cracked,” let alone finished.
Recorded at last week’s Digital Book World Conference + Expo 2015 representatives of global ebook platforms offered revealing insights into what they know abut what you read. Panelists told CCC’s Chris Kenneally about consumer reading behavior across multiple devices, and whether fans of fiction read differently than non-fiction aficionados. They also discussed how much reading of English goes on in non-English-speaking countries.