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Books Privacy Stats

E-Books That Read You 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-find-you-hackneyed-and-your-font-is-too-small dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Internet users have sadly grown used to having their every click and scroll measured by advertisers and content providers seeking to squeeze every last ounce of attention out of them. Now, it seems such data gathering is spreading into your favorite novels as well. The NY Times profiles several companies trying to collect data on how people read ebooks. Quoting: 'Scribd is just beginning to analyze the data from its subscribers. Some general insights: The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all. At Oyster, a top book is What Women Want, promoted as a work that "brings you inside a woman's head so you can learn how to blow her mind." Everyone who starts it finishes it. On the other hand, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s The Cycles of American History blows no minds: fewer than 1 percent of the readers who start it get to the end. Oyster data shows that readers are 25 percent more likely to finish books that are broken up into shorter chapters. That is an inevitable consequence of people reading in short sessions during the day on an iPhone.'"
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E-Books That Read You

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @04:57PM (#45783473)

    In Soviet Russia...erm...capitalist America, eBook reads you!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:02PM (#45783489)

    Yeah, I agree to some degree. It would be nice to have shorter chapters

  • Not worried much (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:02PM (#45783491)
    I am far less concerned with research about how I read than information on what I read and who I share it with being given to those in power. How I read may make for better written, more useful tomes. Information on what I read can be misconstrued and misused. Unfortunately, what I read has been a matter of record since long before data on how I read.
    • Re:Not worried much (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pepty (1976012) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @02:22AM (#45786217)

      I mind people mining data about me without paying me for it. I don't think it should automatically be illegal or regulated, but I'd like a "please" and a "here's your share of the loot". So how about:

      A company with a suite of applications that tracks everything you do and then:

      -spoofs the data other apps receive about you on your phone

      -deletes cookies, proxies your IP addresses and google searches, etc.

      -blocks all ads, etc.

      Basically makes you absolutely useless to everyone - unless they purchase your information from the company. advertisers can also pay to have their ads whitelisted. The company turns over 50% of the revenue to the users that allow tracking and selective blocking of ads.

      Only sharing revenue with users that register with an active mobile phone account, real residential address, and a $1 fee with via a credit card billed to the same address would cut down on farming of fake users. Google being willing, able, and strongly motivated to spend billions of dollars to crush the operation into dust might be a problem though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:04PM (#45783497)

    Yeah, I agree to some degree. They could use this metadata to make books easier to read, with shorter chapters, and perhaps more graphics and bigger font.

  • by ls671 (1122017) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:04PM (#45783499) Homepage

    I know it's hard to implement for the average citizen but since this is slashdot: It isn't that hard to monitor/analyze/filter out the data that leaks out of your network and devices.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:46PM (#45783695) Journal
      Phones, unfortunately, have really upped the game in terms of creepy surveillance and exfiltration.

      When dealing with normal computers, you always have the easy option of just installing wireshark.

      If that's too disruptive, or you want to monitor multiple systems, or you don't trust the system you want to inspect, you just tap the last link before the ISP's probably-not-trustworthy gear and examine that. Wireless doesn't change the game much, as long as you know the key (passive tapping becomes easier; but there's a greater risk that your monitoring system will miss some packets in the noise, and driver support for things like promiscuous mode tends to be a lot spottier).

      Cellular connections, though? The entire network is Ma Bell's black-box, so even RF sniffing won't get you much (unless you can coax it down to A5/1 or A5/2 and have some time on your hands), and doing the packet capture on-device is markedly harder than on a PC. At best, with a very well behaved android you should be able to use the same tools that you would on normal linux, against whatever peculiar device name is assigned to the cell connection. It's all downhill from there, though creative abuse of VPNs should work against any application not trying to hide from you, even on devices you can't root/jailbreak.

      It isn't impossible, with the right device; but you can certainly make things a great deal more difficult if your application waits until it is on a cellular connection before phoning home.
      • by CODiNE (27417) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @08:40PM (#45784669) Homepage

        I can't get wire shark reliably working with my wifi card, so here's how I sniff iphone app access.

        Share the wifi from the laptop, sniff the wired connection to the router. With enough playing around you can get filters for exactly what you're interested in. But for simple monitoring app access it's good enough.

        You wouldn't believe the stuff that gets sent around in plain text.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @07:36AM (#45786921) Journal
          I get the unpleasant impression that, just as the patent office treats "Do something obvious but on a cellphone!" as a totally novel invention, a lot of 'apps' are hell-bent on ignoring the (not exactly ironclad) advances in security applied to programs written for typical computers and re-learning, the hard way, what the PC crew had to learn once internet connections became a thing...

          At least it can make for interesting reading, if it's some other sucker's phone...
      • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @11:25PM (#45785463) Journal

        Wireless doesn't change the game much, as long as you know the key (passive tapping becomes easier; but there's a greater risk that your monitoring system will miss some packets in the noise, and driver support for things like promiscuous mode tends to be a lot spottier).

        One method I've used in the past is set up an ad-hoc wireless network with a USB-wifi key, and then you can sniff all the traffic with wireshark. If you happen to have a Windows Phone 7 (for example), this is a relatively easy way to get the binaries for your apps from the phone (if you do it while they are downloading from the app store).

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @02:37AM (#45786279) Journal
          If you control the AP, tapping wireless is pretty much identical to tapping wired(whether your 'AP' is also the computer doing the tapping, running an adapter in ad-hoc or AP mode, or whether the computer doing the tapping is sniffing the AP's ethernet link). What makes me nervous is the possibility that (mostly likely out of malice) a phone app might deliberately avoid chatting on any interface except the cellular connection. Non-malicious apps (or malicious apps that assume you aren't paying attention) can presumably be forced over to wifi and sniffed like any computer; but something that maintains silence except when connecting through the cell network would be very hard to pin down.

          RF sniffing to establish the the existence of traffic isn't that hard (doesn't everyone seem to own a set of cheap speakers that provides that 'feature' for free?); but anything more than very rough estimates of traffic volume would be orders of magnitude more difficult than anything running over your network...
  • Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:11PM (#45783519)

    Don't buy e-book readers that force you to be connected to the internet, or only read proprietary file formats, or buy from online store.

    My old Sony PRS-650 doesn't have hardware to go on the internet, and it reads whatever file I feed it, so I'm sure it doesn't snitch on me.

    • by rotenberry (3487) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:26PM (#45783595)

      I, too, have an e-book reader that does not have the hardware to go on the internet.

      Isn't the Unix philosophy to have a single command that does only one job well? "cat", "head", "tail", "ls" are examples of the commands I have in mind. Extend this idea to the real world. I have an e-book reader, a music player, a (dumb) phone, and a wristwatch.

      A smart phone is a bit like the Microsoft operating system: it does everything, but does not do any of them well.

      Not much of a bargain. Mediocre performance AND the loss of privacy.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:37PM (#45783647)

        Nice response... designed to generate an emotional response. Maybe a better analogy would be git versus mercurial... different philosophies, effectively equivalent capabilities, different strokes for different folks.

      • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @06:02PM (#45783789)

        A smart phone is a bit like the Microsoft operating system: it does everything, but does not do any of them well.

        Wouldn't that better describe a Linux operating system?

        Gives you the full power to do everything with your computer, but is full of little bugs here and there.

        In your words: it does everything, but does not do any of them well.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:44PM (#45784999) Homepage Journal

          And, you base all of that on what exactly? Recent personal experience? Linux had a poor user experience, historically. But, we don't live in history, do we? At present, I'm living in the year 2013, soon to be 2014. Today, Linux has not one, but two good sound systems available. It has pretty awesome graphics. Most NICs just work. As has been observed many times, you can set up a desktop, laptop, or whatever for your doddering old grandparents, and convince them that it's the "new Windows". And, we are all aware that serious science has relied on Linux and/or Unix-likes just about forever now. And, servers?

          Whatever. You may continue to cite obsolete historical data to justify dumping on Linux. This is still a free country. Well, as free as the NSA permits it to be.

          • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:02PM (#45785079)
            I mean interpreting power events twice [launchpad.net] or having a mysterious corner tap click [launchpad.net] or breaking simple AT keyboard of various notebooks [redhat.com]. I come across glitches like this all the time.
            • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:23PM (#45785205) Homepage Journal

              Fair enough. You're looking at present day problems - I suspected otherwise. I also suspect that some of those users might be "holding it wrong". ;^)

              More seriously, there are, and probably always will be, bugs and glitches in all operating systems. I honestly believe that Linux rivals all other OS's in all respects today. Those bugs and glitches are addressed as quickly and efficiently as any other OS addresses their own bugs and glitches. More, those bugs and glitches are openly documented, unlike the proprietary systems. No matter the problem, you can track it closely, to find real solutions, or to find workarounds.

              That last one? Updating the kernel disables the keyboard? That's pretty serious. Something one would expect from Apple, LMAO!! The rather simple workaround, however, is to select the older kernel, where the keyboard did work. Presuming, of course, that the machine is configured so that selection of kernels is possible.

              • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:35PM (#45785249)

                Those bugs and glitches are addressed as quickly and efficiently as any other OS addresses their own bugs and glitches.

                But they aren't. They sit in the distro's bug tracker forever, with the occasional unhelpful "have you tested the latest release if the bug is still present" and the bug ultimately just expires due to no activity.

                That last one? Updating the kernel disables the keyboard? That's pretty serious. Something one would expect from Apple, LMAO!! The rather simple workaround, however, is to select the older kernel, where the keyboard did work. Presuming, of course, that the machine is configured so that selection of kernels is possible.

                Yes. The keyboard bug is tracked in mainline [kernel.org] now and I personally did a kernel bisect and pinpointed out the particular commit which causes the bug. The result? Crickets chirping.

                • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:55PM (#45785345) Homepage Journal

                  Have you emailed a rant to Linus? You might trigger one of his famous tantrums, wherein he bites developer's heads off. Those are always amusing! And, it might just fix the problem!

                  I would just roll back to the last known good kernel. The distro I'm using is still at 3.10, and the wife's distro is still at 3.9 I believe. There really is little need to keep those kernels up to date all the time. I've often counseled the wife to just not update. Wait for the updates to roll out to the masses, then scroll through the forums looking for issues. A couple weeks AFTER the rollout, consider doing the updates, unless some specific issue is likely to affect our hardware and/or software.

                  Yeah, I used to keep up with the latest bleeding edge version of the kernel. That's just to much of a headache, so I gave up on it.

                  • by Blaskowicz (634489) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @03:10AM (#45786329)

                    I have a little kernel bug (says it can't mount /tmp) and I have to select linux 3.8.0-32 kernel instead of 3.8.0-33 at boot every time, and I don't have the knowledge to configure grub 2 to do it for me, and I can't fix it because the internet connection went permanently down where the computer is. (well maybe /etc/default/grub has a entry to blacklist a kernel version or to force booting one, or I can switch to using grub legacy but might need the internet to install it).

                    I will probably give up on apt-get dist-upgrade (I thought these were security updates to the kernel, with maybe some rare critical bugfix)

      • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @06:18PM (#45783879)

        Isn't the Unix philosophy to have a single command that does only one job well?

        Funny you should say that.

        A proprietary device with an always on internet connection that can buy things from a specific online store seems to fit this philosophy really well.

        With the Kindle whereever I am, if I finish a book, or someone recommends a book I can pull it out, press a button and start reading the book even if I don't own it. How is that not fitting exactly with the unix philosophy?

        Or are you talking about the darker side of unix philosophy where doing one job and doing it well also means doing so little that it requires a degree in IT to do some basic things which are outside the basic usage requirements of listing a directory and listing the contents of a file?

        • Re:Easy solution (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @07:55PM (#45784439)

          You've completely missed the point of the unix philosophy. The reason for splitting tasks like "Buy a book and read it" into single jobs is so that you can replace the individual parts. You probably have one or two ways to get books on your device: you can buy it from the store, and maybe you can use a desktop application to copy files over, provided they are in the right format.

          By contrast, I can get books from wherever I want, from text files to Amazon to B&N to Project Gutenberg to backwater FTP sites. I can use whatever programs I want to organize these books, whether by file structure, metadata tagging, stored in a database, etc. I can then use whatever programs I feel like to transfer them to my device's storage (if I haven't opted to store them on the device as a master). This is possible because each component of this process was designed to work regardless of whatever other programs it is used together with.

          You can't do that with your device. If there's a part of your "click button, read book" process that fails - for instance, if someone decides that to revoke the "read book" step for copyright reasons - you can't replace the failed component.

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:42PM (#45783667) Homepage Journal

      I don't know of any that *require* it.. But they make it far more convenient for the average person.

    • Re: Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by loufoque (1400831) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:58PM (#45783753)

      You realize even the Amazon Kindle (supposedly the most evil device) does none of those things, right?
      I have one, have never connected it to the Internet, and all the ebooks I have were downloaded online.

      • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @08:33PM (#45784633) Journal

        ou realize even the Amazon Kindle (supposedly the most evil device) does none of those things, right?

        Who said the Kindle is "the most evil"? I've not seen that. In what ways is it supposedly an evil device?

        • by ignavus (213578) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:29PM (#45784935)

          ou realize even the Amazon Kindle (supposedly the most evil device) does none of those things, right?

          Who said the Kindle is "the most evil"? I've not seen that. In what ways is it supposedly an evil device?

          Just look at the word "Kindle" (=starting a burning fire ... as in hell) and the letters it contains:

          The letters D, E, I, L are also found in the word "devil". And we all know that satan finds work for IDLE hands!

          The letters L, I, E (which spells "lie" - a work of the devil) are found in the word "Lucifer". Kindle contains a lie from Lucifer.

          And N, I, K are found in "Nick" (as in the satanic name "Old Nick"). Kindle is "kin" with Old Nick!

          Every letter in the word "Kindle" is found in one or more of the common names for the devil.

          It is positiviely brimming with evil! (Key! "brimstone" - get it?)

      • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @03:09PM (#45789297)

        The Nook also does not require those things. Never connected to the Internet. All books sideloaded.

        Of course, both the Nook and Kindle encourage you to connect them.

      • by romons (2767081) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @05:26PM (#45790479)

        My kindle is always connected using their 'whispernet', which is cell phone tech. They could, if they wanted to, use that to snoop on reading habits.

        I really am not concerned about this. At this point, they can track me in the supermarket using my cell phone when it is in my pocket. Tracking how I read a book I've purchased isn't such a big deal compared to that. If Amazon isn't using its sales information to its advantage, it isn't doing its job for its shareholders.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @07:02PM (#45784107)

      "Don't buy e-book readers that force you to be connected to the internet, or only read proprietary file formats, or buy from online store."

      Buy anything you like and download Calibre.
      http://calibre-ebook.com/ [calibre-ebook.com]

      I own several kindles and I never connect to the web.

      Honi soit qui mal y pense.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @08:02PM (#45784471)

      Is this a problem that needs "solving"?

    • by q.kontinuum (676242) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @08:38PM (#45784657)
      My Kobo reader didn't want to work without registration. I found some help here: http://trollinger.blog.com/2013/10/25/using-kobo-ebook-reader-without-registration/ [blog.com] BTW: Only because of that problem I learned that KOBO devices run Linux, and noticed that they didn't offer the source code in their manual, which means they are probably in breach of the GPL2 and might face some problems for it. I'm not feeling sorry for them.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2013 @12:08AM (#45785683)

        You may want to actually do *some* research before poasting.

        For one,
              https://github.com/kobolabs/Kobo-Reader [github.com]

        And registration is to be able to use Adobe ePub DRM books (that you can get from the Library at least in my country) and generally to get updates to installed factory software. Once you register your reader *once*, you never, ever need to have it connected to the network again. Any of the "social" features can be turned off too, as well as the Reading Life crap.

        I would say Kobo is one of the least intrusive devices. It works fairly well with Calibre and works with ePub DRM-Free books that can be loaded over simple USB connection straight from any desktop, like my Linux workstation.

        • by q.kontinuum (676242) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @04:59AM (#45786611)
          I did some research. GPL2, paragraph 1 requires to always add a license to the distribution. I.e. the user should *not* be required to do any research beyond reading the manual or maybe the help menu on the reader. (In this case the help menu does not count, since it is not accessible before giving away my personal data.) Registering is already too much. I bought something for cash, why on earth should I want to provide my email address and name?!? And who says, if i where using a Windows PC, that data isn't sent when updating the library/adding books, or without win PC, whenever a free WLan becomes available? (Yes, I can switch of WLan. Will it really stay switched off with a vendor who is so sure to know better what's good for me?)
  • by tomhath (637240) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:15PM (#45783535)

    At Oyster, a top book is What Women Want, promoted as a work that "brings you inside a woman's head so you can learn how to blow her mind." Everyone who starts it finishes it. On the other hand, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s The Cycles of American History blows no minds: fewer than 1 percent of the readers who start it get to the end.

    200 pages of soft core porn are more likely to be read than 500 pages of history. Who knew?

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:16PM (#45783539) Homepage Journal

    I don't buy any book that is encumbered at all, or that i cant strip from it.

    Oh, and my reader's wifi, is never on.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:26PM (#45783593)

      Oh, and my reader's wifi, is never on.

      I don't mean to sound like I have a tinfoil hat on, but all you're sure of is that you have instructed the software to turn the wifi off. That doesn't mean the software doesn't lie to you and keeps trying to connect without telling you.

      Think I'm paranoid? Well, maybe I am, maybe I'm not [techdirt.com].

      • by akozakie (633875) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @06:05PM (#45783809)

        Hardware switch off, only WiFi within range under my full control (and I mean it) - no attempt to connect. Hardware switch on, wireshark on, full dump - nothing suspicious. Good enough for me.

        Get a good one and test it, that's it. Paranoia is fun, but needs to have some limits. Still, it is kind of a niche reader - if you use something more publisher-controlled, a Kindle or some official app... YMMV.

      • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @07:45PM (#45784387) Homepage

        My phone has a removable battery. And when I say removable I mean you take the back off and take it out, not have to undo some screws and risk damaging the device like some phones. The NSA might have trouble tracking me when the phone has no power at all.

        • by vlueboy (1799360) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @01:38AM (#45786065)

          My phone has a removable battery. And when I say removable I mean you take the back off and take it out, not have to undo some screws and risk damaging the device like some phones. The NSA might have trouble tracking me when the phone has no power at all.

          I used to find comfort in that same thought, but the techdirt link in the GP post has a comment that ups our healthy paranoia. Even with the "battery" off we should recall there's a secondary battery not maintained by the user, which may or may not power nefarious means (clock tick battery and settings, but why not a cell tower ping? GPS is expensive, but 1 and 2G can be pretty cheap power-wise)

          Consider that a recent /. article said wireless chips are getting even smaller, so air-gapping "legal" interfaces that we know doesn't mean we're safe from an untrusted device. And they are ALL untrusted nowadays. I heard here that the very first Amazon-branded e-reader had a little-known always-on internet connection. Supposedly it was a low speed blackbox paid for by Amazon where you could do simple things like read wikipedia articles. That's scary because people didn't talk about it, and because if Amazon does it publicly, who's to forbid American phones from connecting to government-controlled blackbox spectrum at random intervals and chat away?

          You can never be too paranoid. I caved in and looked up what the Russian "facebook" alternative is some hours ago (yeah, local ISP spying and whatever is still a problem, but at least there's no worry about US ad companies running the show and piping every single post without court orders.) No need to mention the name, because it lost the game quickly: There was a signup box, and a "sign-in with Facebook" button. So our tendrils are all over the place. If they have FB code on their site even being a competitor, then what else do they exchange with the "enemy"?

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:16PM (#45783541) Journal
    Well, now.. as if I didn't feel totally justified intially at eschewing e-books and e-book readers entirely, I now feel completely vindicated against anyone who scoffed at my choice to remain with printed books. You people who chose e-books over printed books feeling nice and snuggly-cozy now, knowing that not only can your "content" be altered or deleted at will by the publisher, but that even how you read your e-books is being recorded, analyzed, and monitized? You feeling violated at all, yet? You should.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:21PM (#45783567)

      You feeling violated at all, yet? You should.

      Now you're telling me how I should feel? Someone has a lot of nerve.

    • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @07:05PM (#45784125)
      I enjoy my ebook reader, and no publisher tracks me, analyzes me, or controls the content for me. I simply took the simple precaution of never connecting it to any network and adding content to it via open file formats. Now you should feel completely embarrassed for eschewing all the advantages of ebooks instead of taking the simple and obvious precautions.
      • by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:22PM (#45784889) Journal
        Would you like to participate in an experiment? Good!
        On the count of three, throw your e-reader at the wall. I'll throw a printed book at the wall. Does yours still work? Mine does!
        Now drop your other e-reader (since the first one was smashed against a wall, destroying it) into a tub of water, I'll drop my book in, too. Does your e-reader still work at all? No? My book is pretty wet, but I'm sure I can dry it out, and while it's ruined, I can still read it.
        Next, we need a time machine to go 10 years into the future. I'm being nice because I have books much older than that. In 10 year will your e-reader still work? Probably not.
        Oops, the battery in your e-reader died and won't charge! You can't read anything now until either the new battery arrives and charges, or your e-reader is sent for service and returns. Meanwhile my nice printed book requires only I be able to see it, and I can read it.

        I'm being funny, but I'm also being serious, and I think I made some of my points. Additionally, you're an outlier: you don't use your e-reader the way corporations want you to, they want you to allow them to have control over your content, even if you "bought" it, and they want all 'open file formats' to be declared illegal and people using/posessing them to be considered 'pirates'. They want to be able to yank away your content, paid for or not, or edit it at will, and (according to TFA) now they want to add your specific reading habits to the very personal profile they're building on YOU.

        Enjoy your e-reader for now. If they have their way, you will not be allowed to use it in any way other than what they want you to. I'd even go so far as to say if they had their way, we would 'own' nothing, everything (including your e-reader) would be a rental or a lease, and they'd retain 100% ownership of it, and you'd be liable, perhaps criminally, for using it in any way they don't like, and to hell with what you want. Meanwhile there will always be a market for printed books, which I will continue to read and enjoy for decades to come, free of any censorship, legal issues, anyone taking them away from me, breakdowns, battery issues, or anything else that comes with e-readers.

        To be 100% fair about it, I think e-readers are probably best used for magazines, newspapers, and textbooks (this last because they are often updated in small ways, and being able to do that on the fly would save lots of people lots of money) because these things are very temporary in nature, and I'm sure that students would love to not have to spend thousands on books and have to carry them all around with them all day long. If I found myself in that position, I'd welcome one, but for novels or anything I want to keep? I prefer printed books.

        One last thing: You can't send your e-book off to the author and have him autograph it, now can you? ;-)
        • by nabsltd (1313397) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:50PM (#45785033)

          Next, we need a time machine to go 10 years into the future. I'm being nice because I have books much older than that. In 10 year will your e-reader still work? Probably not.

          Who cares? My eBooks are all in EPUB [wikipedia.org] format, and if for some bizarre reason no "eBook reader device" in 10 years supports this open format, the actual text of the book is nothing more than HTML and CSS.

          If you seriously think I won't be able to find a device that will render HTML 10 years from now, you're paranoid beyond belief.

          Meanwhile there will always be a market for printed books, which I will continue to read and enjoy for decades to come, free of any censorship, legal issues, anyone taking them away from me, breakdowns, battery issues, or anything else that comes with e-readers.

          Again, EPUB is completely safe from being "taken away", and hardware issues really don't matter when you have a format that can be read on virtually any device. As for "censorship", read about how you can no longer get the original version of this book [wikipedia.org] in a physical book, yet my eBook version has the deleted text added back, because I did it myself. Sure, you might be able to hunt down a first edition and pay big money for it, but I'd rather spend far less money and a few minutes of my time to get the same result.

          • by kheldan (1460303) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @02:06PM (#45788863) Journal
            Wow, you sure are mad aren't you? Why would you get so angry over this subject.. unless you've got some of your own doubts on the subject but are too insecure to admit to them. ;-)

            Enjoy your e-reader and e-books, friend, and I'll just keep enjoying my lovely old paper books, and it's all good.
            • by nabsltd (1313397) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @02:41PM (#45789121)

              Wow, you sure are mad aren't you? Why would you get so angry over this subject..

              I get upset when anybody posts nonsense about any subject. From your statement about "if they have their way" I suspect you've the one who is angry at publishers of some content (books, movies, music, etc.) and haven't truly investigated eBooks and readers, but are merely relying on the one or two exceptional cases that made the news. If you had done your homework to look past those, you wouldn't be making silly claims in the face of open eBook formats and open-source readers.

              I'll just keep enjoying my lovely old paper books, and it's all good.

              Until I can get every book I want as an eBook, I'll keep the paper versions, which means I don't get to reclaim a couple of rooms in my house as soon as I expected.

          • by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @06:14PM (#45790943)

            Who cares? My eBooks are all in EPUB [wikipedia.org] format, and if for some bizarre reason no "eBook reader device" in 10 years supports this open format, the actual text of the book is nothing more than HTML and CSS.

            ePub 2 seems to be not much more than xhtml (a bit of table of contents, title picture, but nothing hard). Writing your own ePub reader say for MacOS X isn't very hard. ePub 3 seems a lot harder, but then you can do things with it that go way beyond ePub 2.

          • by rpstrong (1659205) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @10:28PM (#45792755)

            Again, EPUB is completely safe from being "taken away", and hardware issues really don't matter when you have a format that can be read on virtually any device. As for "censorship", read about how you can no longer get the original version of this book [wikipedia.org] in a physical book, yet my eBook version has the deleted text added back, because I did it myself. Sure, you might be able to hunt down a first edition and pay big money for it, but I'd rather spend far less money and a few minutes of my time to get the same result.

            I spent a few minutes and found the 1966 Penguin version for under $10, shipping included: http://tinyurl.com/q2hf2rr [tinyurl.com]

            And I'd really like to hear the rest of the story. It would be trivial to rant against fireworks in general, without using the manufacturer's name. So what pressure could they bring about? And why are there no cites? (They do preface the article with the "This article needs additional citations for verification" disclaimer).

        • by Longjmp (632577) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:52PM (#45785039)

          Would you like to participate in an experiment? Good!
          On the count of three, throw your e-reader at the wall. I'll throw a printed book at the wall. Does yours still work? Mine does! [...]

          I'm deeply impressed how you managed to get your post as a written letter delivered to slashdot via snail-mail. and have them type it in for you ;)

        • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:56PM (#45785347)
          So what is your point? Try spraying boogers all over your paper book. They clean right off my ereader, your paper book gets all stained and sticky. I've never dropped or thrown my ebook reader. I can always get another one if for some bizarre reason I did. Try carrying a dozen paper books on your next trip. Meanwhile I am not using storage space or trees and paper milling waste to get reading material. They have made owning paper copies of material illegal in the past, and could easily do so in the future, so that point is moot as well. If you prefer paper books, that's fine. Just stop imagining there is some sort of universal superiority over ebooks
  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:18PM (#45783545)
    It's just too bad that all of this interesting data that could be used for good purposes will just end up in the marketers hands to be used to sell more shit and push us further toward mediocrity. Idiocracy here we come.

    Bill Hicks was right [youtube.com]: if you're a marketer you should kill yourself now.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:18PM (#45783553) Journal
    Given the current state of internet-focused writing, with the brutal drive to churn out as much clickbait 'content' as possible as fast as possible, with a side of SEO fuckery, I suspect that adding analytics capabilities to books will... perhaps not... be the most helpful development in literature.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @08:27PM (#45784611)

      Given the current state of internet-focused writing, with the brutal drive to churn out as much clickbait 'content' as possible as fast as possible, with a side of SEO fuckery, I suspect that adding analytics capabilities to books will... perhaps not... be the most helpful development in literature.

      ONE CLEVER TRICK TO SHOW HOW SHALL I LOVE THEE, NEW PARADIGM; LET ME COUNT THE 5 WAYS

      1. I can think of no way in which this could possibly compromise the quality of the TITS literary experience.
      2. Let us not forget that we are at the forefront BREASTS of a new publishing paradigm.
      3. Electronic distribution promises to free BOOBS authors from the shackles of the traditional publishing industry.
      4. It's an agile and disruptive way of making JUGS money through the process of creative destruction.

      (below the jump)

      5. The end.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:28PM (#45783607) Homepage

    In Capitalist America, book reads you!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:38PM (#45783651)

    Internet users have sadly grown used to having their every click and scroll measured by advertisers

    Nope, EasyPrivacy [adblockplus.org] and some other subscriptions for AdBlock alongside Noscipt and Ghostery aren't that hard to use nowadays, no need to surrender your privacy.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:38PM (#45783653) Journal
    .... because they are easy reading and you know there's a happy ending.

    Eroticas go faster because people are skipping over the pages of badly written sex trying to find more plot.
  • by jandar (304267) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @05:52PM (#45783723)

    The results are skewed because the population of e-book vs paper-book readers is different. I hope the books I read won't be altered to match the apparent short attention span of e-book consumers.

  • by freshlimesoda (2497490) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @07:05PM (#45784121)
    No wonder a bestseller...
  • by mbone (558574) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @07:59PM (#45784453)

    What a quaint custom.

    Remind me again why I should care?

  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @08:31PM (#45784625)

    The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all.

    None of this would have been news to a book publisher in 1910.

    Best Books of the 1900's - 1900-1909 [goodreads.com]

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @11:42PM (#45785553)

    I am not sure I understand the motivation for companies: why would they care if someone finish a book? It will not make more money. On the contrary, if people skip chapters, they are done more faster, and will buy another book sooner.

    Only the "all you can eat" business model has an interest to sell books that keep readers buy.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @06:16PM (#45790959)

      Aren't we just talking about user metrics here?

      We gather a lot of anonymous user metrics in the last MMO I worked on, and it wasn't done for any sort of nefarious purpose, but to understand what people are interested in, what they're doing, and how to create better products, or improve the current ones. For instance, we have the obvious metrics of positional heatmaps (showing concentration of players at a given moment or over time), skill usage, class and race selection, even when they turned off their sfx or music. The game designers use a lot of these metrics to help fine-tune the game as well. In previous games, we also gathered hardware data (again, with no personally identifyable information). We used that data, for one example, to determine when it was appropriate to release new games on DVD-ROM instead of on multiple CD-ROMs (obviously, that one was a few years back).

      You ask what the motivation is. Of course a publisher cares if a book is finished or not. That particular title may or may not make any more money, but surely if most people don't finish a book, they'll be unlikely to purchase it's sequel, right? Happy, satisfied customers are the *best* customers. Unhappy customers will flock to your competitors.

      BTW, notice that they're not just talking about publishers. TFA was also talking about independent authors using this service to help to figure out what their customers really like.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @11:52PM (#45785613)

    The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it.

    I know this references the nickname for mystery novels ("whodunits") but I still say it appears the same readers skipped to the end of their grammar books in grade school.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @11:59PM (#45785647) Homepage Journal

    At Oyster, a top book is What Women Want, promoted as a work that "brings you inside a woman's head so you can learn how to blow her mind.

    As someone who's been married over 20 years, and to a woman, I assure you that you really don't want to be inside a woman's head, mostly because you really don't want to see yourself through her eyes.

    Some stones are better left unturned.

  • by knorthern knight (513660) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @12:58AM (#45785919)

    Could Slashdot please refuse to post stories that link to paywalled sites? BTW, I put some of the text from the summary into Google, and the first non-paywalled link that popped up was http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/e-books-reading-the-minds-of-reader-to-learn-what-they-crave/articleshow/27903865.cms [indiatimes.com]

  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @03:57AM (#45786441)

    If this trend continues books printed on paper will become popular again as the only place one will be able to read without distraction of someone trying to coax you out of your money while you read.

    Have investors sold their shares in Barnes and Noble too soon?

  • by allo (1728082) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @07:34AM (#45786919)

    > That is an inevitable consequence of people reading in short sessions during the day on an iPhone.
    So, it is? Any proof out there?

  • by lmcgeoch (1298209) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @09:36AM (#45787223)
    I have seen enough on the internet to know that everything I do is monitored and has for quite some time. I know if don't want to be watched, I know not to do it over the internet, I am kind of over it. So... I think this is great. They are taking data and using it to make books more enjoyable. Maybe they will do a better job hiding whodunit at the end of a mystery. Non-fiction books such as Yoga books are too wordy. I really just want to see how to do the Tree position. Not how Tree position changed the authors life. I guess somethings could be dumbed down. I read reviews before buying a book. I don't buy those books anyways. Enjoying the 21st century...
  • by jandersen (462034) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @11:03AM (#45787653)

    Internet users have sadly grown used to having their every click and scroll measured by advertisers ...

    Have they? I haven't - instead, I have installed things like NoScript, AdBlocker and other, and I use them to good effect. I always block all illustrations from sites that I find annoying - in fact, I mostly block the whole site with a wildcard. I only ever allow JavaScript temporarily - true, I have to reload many sites several times, but it works for me, and I rarely have to tolerate any of the obnoxious crap that others have to learn to ignore.

    Wouldn't it be nice if it wasn't necessary? I can't for my life see why advertisers keep believing that they get value for their money when they so blatantly intrude on people's attention. The only effect it has on me is, that I make sure not to buy crap that has been pushed in this manner.

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