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But, have they been reading?

Here is an interesting experiment that was done with ebooks, that would be very hard to do with print books and get good results. These publishers wanted to know if reading completion rates were the same for males and females. They added a bit of code, called candy.js, to the ebook that sent back information on the reader with the completion of each chapter the next time the reader device was online.  Then they found out that the completion rate was about the same for each gender. Instead, bigger issues for completion rates were things within the book like the writing style, characters, and topic were more influential on book completion. This trend held true across multiple genres including non-fiction, and literary fiction (including fantasy, science fiction, and crime).

Now as a research tool this is very interesting, as it eliminates the self-survey issues that have been commonly used to interview people - either the book was read or not, and there is specific data to show it. Think of how the use of such a tool could be applied to reader reviews, if they didn't finish they couldn't write the review. Not that it couldn't be "tricked" of course, a person could easily flip all the way through a text without reading it, but if their regular reading rates were known they could be crosschecked.

Now consider how it could be used in education, if a textbook chapter was assigned, the teacher would know if the students had read it. The data could be collected from books read to find the student's reading rates and other tendencies, like reading preferences.


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