Are E-Books Data Collectors?

Reading e-books has left its mark on the literature market. That is true in the truest sense of the word. When electronic books became a big topic around ten years ago, many pessimists saw this as the beginning of the end of the printed book. But they couldn´t have been more wrong. Although e-books have captured a market share, they have not yet succeeded in replacing printed books. The market for e-books continues to grow, but it is struggling more and more with various problems. The French writer Jean Paul once referred to many books as the standing army of freedom. That is entirely appropriate as books indeed take up a lot of space. This is also one of the best arguments for e-books. They make it possible for you to carry an entire library around in your pocket.

But possession does not always weigh on it. On the contrary, books have consolidated their position and withstood the onslaught of electronic books. Of course, e-book readers fit perfectly into our time. Today people try to carry around as little ballast as possible. All popular entertainment media are no longer bought but used. That not only applies to music or films but also the storage of photos and data. Outsourcing to the cloud is convenient. The first electronic book was just a marketing gimmick. It was the novel Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson. But what the cyberpunk pioneer did with it, he probably would not have even dreamed.

Amazon Started the Triumphal March

Amazon Started the Triumphal March
Amazon Started the Triumphal March

In 2004 Sony launched the first reader in Japan. In 2007 Amazon released its Kindle with a direct connection to the shop. These gadgets paved the way for the worldwide success of e-books and today there is a wide variety of reading devices available. Low weight, high battery performance, reader-friendly displays, and numerous functions make reading an effortless pleasure. But what is missing here is the feel.

Bookworms love the smell of books as well as the feel of paper and covers. Moreover, e-books are challenging to give away, lend or sell. That has to do with the legal background, because with the purchase of the e-book, the buyer acquires only the right to use. You don´t have the right to resell or republish an e-book. In addition, electronic books make their readers completely transparent. From the point of view of consumer advocates, this harbours dangers.

Anyone who collects data also wants to use it and e-books provide enough statistics. Each reader generates information that the seller compiles and uses for their purposes. This way, publishers know who has read what, when, where, and which passages you have marked. In this way, they learn what is well received by the reader and optimize their products accordingly. That could mean the end of creativity and exciting innovations. In this way, art becomes a custom-made product. More and more readers are becoming aware of this and now it is up to the publishers to dispel these reservations.