The New York Times writes up Jellybooks’ analysis of how people read books : how far do they get, how often do they give up. We recognize that Amazon knows all this sort of stuff, but they of course are notorious for playing their cards close to their corporate chest, so we are unlikely any time soon to find out what conclusions their data might yield. In the meantime we have to make do with this kind of partial information. Just because the sample is fairly small isn’t of course a reason to disregard it.

Jellybooks’ research appears to be based on giving you free copies of e-books derived from the digital proofs which publishers often now supply in place of galleys, ARCs, Advanced Reading Copies. By accepting the book, you agree to have your reading activity tracked. I’m always a bit leery about giving away the product free of charge (except in the case of classroom adoption texts). OK, in music or whatever, getting one sample free may well motivate you to buy other songs, but a book is just a more substantial thing. Sure you can want to buy the next book from an author you’ve liked, but that all takes a bit longer than buying another track from an album. I imagine the publishers involved are carefully monitoring the data that are receiving from Jellybooks to ensure that they are getting sufficient value.