I came across an interesting article today, which I have included the link to below. It makes sense that by reading on an electronic device that certain data can be retrieved according to what the readers are doing and how far they progress through their books. To use this data to help authors though, well, I think it’s brilliant. I don’t think I’m to the point of signing up for one of these services (yet), but I do see how the data could be useful.
One of the services tracks books and considers them read if the reader gets to the 10% mark. Another service considers the book read if the reader makes it to 50%. Personally I’d want all of this data plus who made it to 100%. I have bailed on books past the half-way mark because some annoyance about the book finally got to me and made me give up. False Dawn is one that I recall. I can rarely remember the names of books because I read so many, but I remember this one because it was such crap. I suffered to the 85% mark on this one mostly because I was just being stubborn about it. I kept hoping that something good might happen. A meteor falling from the sky and crushing the hero would have made my day. The book had great reviews on Amazon, but frankly the book was a big ole pile of steaming, smelly drivel. I left a review on Amazon along those lines too.
Anyway, I think the data that can be obtained for how many readers are starting a book and how far they progress through it is valuable information for the author. Amazon reviews are good, but coupling reviews with reader progression would be far more valuable. How many books did you read last year? And of those, how many did you write a review? If you’re like me, you only wrote a review for a minuscule fraction of the total books you read. This is where the ebook data could really be handy for a writer.