|From: Above & Beyond|
The major new players in e-book publishing—Amazon, Apple and Google—can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books. 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. [...]
Pinpointing the moment when readers get bored could also help publishers create splashier digital editions by adding a video, a Web link or other multimedia features [Jim Hilt, Barnes & Noble's vice president of e-books] says. Publishers might be able to determine when interest in a fiction series is flagging if readers who bought and finished the first two books quickly suddenly slow down or quit reading later books in the series. [...]
Others worry that a data-driven approach could hinder the kinds of creative risks that produce great literature. 'The thing about a book is that it can be eccentric, it can be the length it needs to be, and that is something the reader shouldn't have anything to do with,' says Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 'We're not going to shorten 'War and Peace' because someone didn't finish it.'"
—Alexandra Alter, The Wall Street Journal