Over on DigitalBookWorld,
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Start Strong or Lose Your Readers
In the first post in this series, I introduced the notion of the “Internet of Bookish Things” to describe how (e)books were now nodes on the Internet that could record how books are being read. And in last week’s post, “Reading Fast and Slow – Observing Book Readers in Their Natural Habitat,” I began exploring what we can learn about readers using this new “superpower.” Today we will continue this exploration by looking at how the attention of readers decays while progressing through a book.
One of the data points we record at Jellybooks is how many chapters a reader finishes. Reading fiction is a very linear activity in which you start at the beginning of the novel and, following the story arc, read until you reach the end. You don’t usually hop in and out of chapters as you would do in a non-fiction book or textbook, and reading analytics bears that out.
However, what if the novel doesn’t grab your attention? What if you get bored? Reading analytics can measure that, too!
The way we display this is through a completion graph. To facilitate comprehension by authors and editors, the graph is deliberately structured like a Table of Contents (TOC), listing each chapter in the book. Next to each chapter is a horizontal bar graph in blue showing the percentage of readers who read that chapter (or substantial parts of it). The grey bars show front- and back–matter (introduction, dedication, prologue, epilogue, copyright page and so on) that are organized as chapters but are not part of the main narrative. As readers progress, the percentage drops off, showing that readers lose interest and even stop reading.
Below I’ve included two real-life examples of books. For confidentiality reasons, the actual chapter descriptions have been removed and replaced with numbers (as well as F and B for front- and back-matter). I can’t take the chance of you guessing what book is being shown, but rest assured that this is real data from real books being read by real humans.
Read the full post on DigitalBookWorld
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