Reading metrics

The Kindle and it’s brethren are likely to change the book industry forever – similar to the way the iPod changed the music industry.  I used to be a skeptic, thinking that the “feel” of the book would be hard to replicate.  But a friend asked me the right question – “Do you think your kids will have a bookshelf or a kindle?”  Put that way, I see little hope for the paper version.

Now, I read of a great way in which digitally read books can be analysed and the metrics used to impact our purchase behaviour.  The Kindle has a software called Whispersync which tracks your movement across a book.  This gives Amazon some pretty cool data on user beahviour.  Musicmachinery has this great feature on the metrics you could start reporting.  Some of my favourites from the list:

  • Most Abandoned – the books and/or authors that are most frequently left unfinished.  What book is the most abandoned book of all time? (My money is on ‘A Brief History of Time’)
  • Pageturner – the top books ordered by average number of words read per reading session.  Does the average Harry Potter fan read more of the book in one sitting than the average Twilight fan?
  • Burning the midnight oil – books that keep people up late at night
  • Most Re-read – which books are read over and over again?  A related metric – which are the most re-read passages?  Is it when Frodo claims the ring,  or when Bella almost gets hit by a car?
  • Mystery cheats – which books have their last chapter read before other chapters
  • Trophy Books – books that are most frequently purchased, but never actually read
  • Entertainment value – the books with the lowest overall cost per hour of reading (including all re-reads)

I like this.  Imagine using these metrics instead of the critic reviews or the (sometimes dishonest) blurbs that accompany most books.  More power to the Kindle!

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