NPR website about E-Readers having an antenna that not only allows the convenience of downloading new books from anywhere, but it is also possible - although it didn't say this happens yet - for the device to transmit information back to the makers.
Clicking to turn the page indicates how fast you are reading, that you stopped reading on certain pages, how many pages are read at a sitting, whether or not you go back to re-read a passage on a previous page, or if you skip to the end to find out what happened.
Cindy Cohn, legal director at Electronic Frontier Foundation, says this kind of page-view tracking may seem innocuous, but if the company keeps the data long-term, the information could be subpoenaed to check someone's alibi, or as evidence in a lawsuit. Apparently, they may also be able to monitor where the pages are read and the devices themselves can be tracked throughout the world as Kindles, iPads etc use GPS or data from Wi-Fi and cell phone towers.
So what kind of data is your e-reader sending? Like: How long do the companies store page-view data? NPR asked this and other questions of Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Sony, all of whom declined to respond, but Google and Apple's responses make for interesting reading and are here
Amazon now dominate the e-book market, thanks to Kindle e-readers, and the publishing industry believes they have built a vast database about the reading public form hand-held devices, i.e. zip codes, gender, reader age and other reader interests.
If publishers used information, such as the fact you stopped reading a book on page 72 to, say, produce more engaging stories, is this something from which readers and authors could benefit? Or are we toadying to the short-attention-span-keep-it-fast-paced-with-none-of-that-lengthy-introspection-stuff- reading public?
To finish with a quote from Stephen King - "Ultimately, this sort of thing scares the hell out of me, but it is the way that things are."
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