It’s no surprise that the world is going digital. We know the markets are changing as demand increases for online content, and traditional print industries sometimes struggle to keep up with this trend. Like many other book lovers, I prefer traditional print content, though I can’t deny the simplicity and convenience of online reading. I discovered something else about publishing in the digital world, though, and I found it to be very interesting. The rise of electronic publishing means that more data can be collected about who’s reading what. This was a topic discussed at this year’s Digital World Conference and Expo, and CCC’s Chris Kenneally had a lot to say on the subject. (Unfortunately, I can’t find what CCC stands for, but I’m including the source where I found the quote below.)
“The owners of e-book platforms now have unprecedented and previously unattainable knowledge about how people read,” said Chris Kenneally. “They see every time an e-book is opened, on what device it is opened, how fast it is read, whether passages or entire works are reread, and perhaps most dismaying for authors, which books are never cracked, or never finished.”
Although consumers might feel hesitant about distributors tracking their reading habits and behaviors, this could potentially have a strong positive impact on the publishing industry. Traditional publishing methods did not allow for nearly the same depth of analysis of consumer habits and preferences. Now websites can track the amount of visits on their pages, time spent on their sites, etc. What does this mean for the publishing industry and how can markets take advantage of it?
Some publishers are already doing just that. Skip Besthoff, CEO of InboundWriter notes in his article “The Role of Data in Digital Publishing” that Forbes relies on consumer information to evaluate their editorial staff. Their formula measures readership, and where readers are coming from, and this determines how the staff is paid. This consumer data can help publishers in delivering content that is most suited for and meets the demands of consumers.