eBooks – Predictive Book Publishing & Who’s reading who?


So who’s reading who?

The irony of all this is that I’ve been reading my Kindle3 for the best part of two years now, mainly on data mining analysis, techniques, retail sector things and BigData issues. I didn’t sit back and think about the data that Amazon would be collecting about my reading habits.  The day I did there was a small increase in my purchases of print books again.

So my question over the last couple of weeks was “who’s reading who?”. Which books do I read the most, what are my reading habits? Yes there’s the option to switch off and tune out but there’s still that slight niggle in the back of my mind.  

Turns out I’m not the only one asking the questions. The basic questions are quite easy to think of:

Who is reading my book? (Gender, age range and general location)

Who downloads the sample and then purchases the full edition?

Who reads less than 20%/30%/40% of the book and then gives up.

What is the average time it takes to read my ebook?

The list could, and does, go on. 

It’s already being done so it’s time mine the data…..

So insight is worth money. The drive is now towards data driven book publishing and finding the underlying patterns to see what works and what doesn’t.  Hiptype are a company starting to mine and learn from the data.  Now there are lot of questions around security and the ethics of whole collecting of the data.



Let’s take it one stage further….

Could you take the lessons learned from the books that work and come up with a formula to create “the perfect book”.

Sounds pretty mad but it is being done in the movie industry. If you take companies like Epagogix for example who use data driven analysis of movie scripts and attempt to predict the box office takings for the script.  Back in 2008/2009 Epagogix were getting a hit rate of 6 out of 9 accurate estimates. While the idea seemed a bit “out there” hedge fund managers were willing to put money on the table for the funding of movies. If the algorithms were able to increase the box office predicition then it was still worth a bet. And if your movie studio was making 10 films in the year for example VC’s could still use the old formula’s to ensure that they could make money for their clients.

Could the same be done with books? Nothing to say not and it would be a big bonus for authors looking for some idea of how a book idea would be received.  Think about uploading a draft of your story and a system predicted the downloads, preditive revenue and usage patterns of your book. 

Let’s put it this way, if it’s not out there yet it will be. 


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