“The holiday shopping season is upon us, and once again e-book readers promise to be a very popular gift. Last year’s holiday season saw ownership of a dedicated e-reader device spike to nearly 1 in 5 Americans, and that number is poised to go even higher. But if you’re in the market for an e-reader this year, or for e-books to read on one that you already own, you might want to know who’s keeping an eye on your searching, shopping, and reading habits. Unfortunately, unpacking the tracking and data-sharing practices of different e-reader platforms is far from simple. It can require reading through stacked license agreements and privacy policies for devices, software platforms, and e-book stores. That in turn can mean reading thousands of words of legalese before you read the first line of a new book.”
“It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” And on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first “Hunger Games” book is to download the next one. In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.
PC Mag – “California Governor Jerry Brown this week signed into law a bill that will extend privacy protections currently in place for library records to book purchases, including e-books. The bill, known as the Reader Privacy Act of 2011, will require government agencies to obtain a court order before they access customer records from book stores or online retailers. It will officially become law on January 1.”
AP – “Government agencies would have to get a warrant or court order to obtain customers’ reading records from bookstores and online booksellers, under a bill approved by the state Senate. The legislation by Sen. Leland Yee is patterned after similar privacy protections that currently are in place for library records. The bill, SB602, passed the Senate unanimously and without debate Monday. It now goes to the Assembly.”
WSJ – “A Wall Street Journal investigation into online privacy has found that popular children’s websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than do the topwebsites aimed at adults.”