Can Authors Change E-Books Based on How People Read Them?

January 3rd, 2012

Call them living books!

In today’s WSJ, Nicholas Carr argues that dead is good.

An e-book, I realized, is far different from an old-fashioned printed one. The words in the latter stay put. In the former, the words can keep changing, at the whim of the author or anyone else with access to the source file. The endless malleability of digital writing promises to overturn a whole lot of our assumptions about publishing.

He argues that authors will tweak, update and improve. In other words, a dead version will come alive. Publishers may keep taps on what people read and …

… fiddle with books for commercial reasons. Because e-readers gather enormously detailed information on the way people read, publishers may soon be awash in market research. They’ll know how quickly readers progress through different chapters, when they skip pages, and when they abandon a book.