Collective Intelligence and Your e-Reader

By: Sylwia E. Dziedzic, Marketing Intern

For years, literature has been an exploration into the application of philosophical ideas and concepts. To some, reading provides an emotional escape into a virtual escapade. Others read to expand their imagination and use it as an aid for relaxation. But what if your interactivity patterns, such as the length of time spent on a particular page, content written in the margins, and words highlighted on your Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook, or iPad were monitored? Data and analytics have undoubtedly changed the way mobile apps and gaming consoles are constructed for consumers. Therefore, we must ask the question: are editors more likely to test their books digitally before releasing it in print to ensure their content will sell? And of its counterpart: do readers accept the intrusion between their private journey with the author and words on the screen?

Patrick Berry, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric shared some of his thoughts:

“The increased use of digital books seems inevitable. My 12-year-old daughter is as comfortable with a Kindle as she is with a print book. But, the issue of privacy is an important one.

I’m especially interested in how digital books can help us rethink the boundaries of the book. What if books incorporated video or provided access to web-based content? I just completed a coauthored book-length multimodal project designed to document how people outside and within the United States take up digital literacies and fold them into the fabric of their daily lives. Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times (coauthored with Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe) represents a first attempt at crafting a born-digital book http://ccdigitalpress.org/ebooks-and-projects/transnational

With roughly 40 million e-readers and 65 million tablets in use in the U.S., according to analysts at Forrester Research, it can be difficult to correctly analyze how many users are aware of the monitoring process. We also still don’t know whether the process will help authors to generate more grasping content. We can only hope that this process won’t permanently change authors’ writing styles and the attachment they feel for their novels. Only time will tell.

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