The Technology of Reading

by | Dec 13, 2013 | Behind the Scenes

SaintPaulsI am interested in the psychology of the reader. How much research has gone into reader habits? Does anyone know of a study that tracks a group of readers and their response to one piece of writing? I’m thinking of a technical response, such as where attention wanes and interest is piqued? Could readers be hooked up to heart monitors or something?

I think they do something like this for movies and TV shows, but I don’t know how it works.

Nowadays, eBook devices allow readers to respond and share their responses. For instance, Amazon tracks underlined passages on the Kindle. (The most underlined passage is “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them,” which is from Catching Fire and was underlined almost 18,000 times. Second place goes to Pride and Prejudice.)

What is possible here? What does this potential mean for publishers? What is the market data of poetry? How will editors use this to influence story telling?

What new analytics are available, and who is investing in the research? Colleges? Movie companies? Who is the Big Pharma of literature?