Electronic Book Lovers Beware, Your e-reader is Watching You

Electronic book lovers beware, your e-reader is watching you: Devices track which novels you read and what time you put it down to go to sleep

One of the many simple pleasures in life is escaping from the hectic world and hook up with a good book. With the advancement of technology, it appears that you are no longer alone when you enjoy a novel because of the popularity of e-readers. The digital devices that you used not only track which books you read, but also can monitor the lines you’re dwelling on and the time you put your book down at night to go to sleep.

Michael Tamblyn, of Kobo, which supplies e-readers to WHSmith, John Lewis and Tesco, claimed that it collects information from users to recommend new books and increase sales.

‘We’re synchronizing a bookmark constantly as you move along,’ Michael Tamblyn said.

He also said ‘That gives us insight into how you’re engaging in the book that you’re in … so if you have stayed up through the night and you can’t put that book down, that helps us find other books from other people who have had that same kind of experience.’

‘When you think about the number of books people buy and don’t finish, the “other people who bought this also bought this [formula]” isn’t that good a way to try to recommend a book,’ he added.

In addition, Amazon’s Kindle device also collects information about users’ habits by which the duration of reading and the last page they have read can be monitored.

The Internet giant sells e-books at around 60 percent of all e-books bought in the United Kingdom which makes the giant deserving to have the right to store the data gathered by Kindles on its servers.

Renate Samson of the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch said‘It is rather alarming to think that whilst you read your e-book your e-reader device is reading you.’

He also added ‘That these products feel the need to monitor more than just what we read, but to actively store data on what page we might linger on or more worryingly what time of day or night we choose to read seems disproportionately intrusive on what is to most of us a moment of personal quiet time.’

Across all age groups, e-books account for around a fifth of all book sales in the United Kingdom as of this moment. Elderly people have adopted and preferred the use of gadgets and reading e-books due to the reasons that they can easily manipulate the font size making the words easier to read for them without spending much for a special large-print edition.

Mr. Tamblyn said that it’s collecting data to aid in increasing the e-book sales.

‘What we’re interested in is where does the next 20 percent come from? We think it will be people who are holding onto print much more tightly than in the past,’ he said.


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