Reading Analytics and Readers

Earlier this year Jellybooks, a digital book testing and data tracking firm, shared reading analytics they had captured while tracking readers.

I think the reading analytics get interesting when they turn their attention to completion rates. My favorite three points worth sharing and discussing:

  1. less than half of the books started were ever finished
  2. women seem more willing to give a book chance, quitting after 50-100 pages while men often bail after reading only 30-50 pages
  3. business books have really low completion rates

The NY Times has an expanded article on the report if you want to see charts, graphs and more details.

I have to admit that I am very pleased that folks are not afraid to put a bad book down. That used to not be the case. But there are so many good books out there, ‘life is too short’ and all that jazz.

As interesting as the reading analytics are things get really interesting when you start thinking how publishers will use this. Or even authors. That’s the scary part. How would the great books of the past have been shaped had the authors known when readers “get bored” or start to skip parts? Can you imagine how formulaic plots would have become? It’s bad enough as it is.

So the numbers are fun as it’s always interesting to see how people behave, but when it comes to creating art and novels that tell the stories of people, I hope authors will pause before peeking at the numbers.