We are coming into very interesting times for publishing books because the new ePub 3 format that is coming up will have the possibility to track reading behaviour. From the readers’ perspective, this isn’t necessarily good because it amounts to a massive invasion of privacy, but from the perspective of someone trying new ways to teach mathematics like me, this would be a major tool.

“So much of the time, it’s an editor and agent and publisher telling you, ‘This is what readers want,’ but this is hands-on reader data,” says Ms. Fenske

I love the above quote as it succinctly describes what is going on. We don’t need the publishers anymore. I mean yes, the average writer might still need some support along the way, say to write some js tracking code, and install piwik, but in general the hacking-author can go a long way on his/her own now.

But J. says I should delegate more, so let us look at what platforms are out there. For $20 per month, Hyptype will let you see what is going on in your book. I love the idea. This is perhaps the first good startup idea I have heard about in a long time. The value proposition is loud and clear. GA for eBooks. Bam! I will definitely have to get in touch with them.

What other platforms are out there? The WSJ article lists several other companies doing stuff in that market. First there is big A, with their kindle dev program which is a way to create interactive reading stuff on the kindle. The startup Coliloquy is using the kindle dev API to offer choose-your-own-adventure kind of books. Very cool, though a little Kindle specific. It seems that every one is getting  in on this stuff.

Like I said, interesting times are upon us.

One thought on “Reading analytics for eBooks

  1. Some links to specs:
    epub: http://idpf.org/epub/linking/cfi/epub-cfi.html
    linking: http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-SMIL3-20081201/
    text-to-speech: http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/ http://www.w3.org/TR/pronunciation-lexicon/

    IDEA: How about a tex-to-words function for math?
    tex_to_words(“|vec{F}|costheta”) = “norm of vector F times cos theta”
    tex_to_words(“frac{ vec{a} times vec{b} }{ pi }”) = “cross product of vectors a and b divided by pi”
    I am sure it could be hacked for simple mathematical expressions….

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