“For centuries, reading has largely been a solitary and private act, an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page,” wrote the Wall Street Journal in an article on the subject earlier this year. “But the rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way we read, transforming the activity into something measurable and quasi-public.”
For example, analysis of e-reader data has already determined that it takes the average reader just seven hours to finish the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on a Kobo e-reader, about 57 pages per hour. And on the Nook, the first thing folks do after finishing the first “Hunger Games” book is to download the next one.
That extends to all popular series – readers tend to “tear through all the books in the series, almost as if they were reading a single novel,” according to the WSJ.
Among the other findings, nonfiction books “tend to be read in fits and starts,” while novels are read straight through. Long nonfiction tends to be abandoned earlier, while science fiction, romance, and crime fiction fans read more books more quickly than readers of literary fiction.
Retailers and publishers are beginning to analyze this information to better understand how readers engage with books and how to reach out to those readers more effectively.