Thursday, April 3, 2008

Will Amazon Ever Collect This Sort of Data?

As I read this press release earlier today I got to thinking... This company, Smart's Publishing, is just leveraging the technology and tracking recipient reading habits to better serve their customers. Pretty straightforward stuff and highly useful information for the newsletter publishers using the service.

We don't think too much about the footprints we create when opening and reading e-newsletters, but what if similar tracking features found their way onto your e-book reader? Would you care?

My sense is that most consumers feel their book-reading habits should be considered private. Of course, if you're buying your books through an online vendor or using a member discount card at a brick-and-mortar, well, your habits are already being tracked.

I'm talking about something much more granular than this though. For example, would publishers like to know what percentage of customers typically only get about 20 pages into an e-book before giving up and never reading the rest? Would reference book publishers like to know what topics tend to be the most viewed or what terms are most frequently searched for? Could these patterns have value? Absolutely.

Perhaps that's another pricing model that will find its way into the e-book world: You could pay one price for privacy where your activity isn't being tracked or a lower price if you're willing to let the vendor capture your habits and potentially sell the resulting data.