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Amazon Is Tracking E-Book Passages Highlighted by Kindle Users

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The printed page is slowly but surely ceding ground to e-book platforms like Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s (BKS) Nook, Samsung’s Android (GOOG)-based Galaxy Tab, and Apple’s (AAPL) market-leading iPad.
The advantages of e-books are obvious: For example, you can store all your books in one gadget, look up words you don’t know, or highlight passages so you can revisit them or share them on Facebook or Twitter.
What you might not know, however, is that Amazon actually tracks every passage you highlight on your Kindle to compile its list of the most highlighted passages of all time, as BoingBoing notes.
No. 1 on the list, highlighted by 17,784 Kindle users as of today, is a passage from Susanne Collins’ Catching Fire, the second book in her bestselling Hunger Games trilogy: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.”
In fact, of the 25 most highlighted passages, only five are not from The Hunger Games, which is telling.
The tale of Katniss and her fight against the oppressive Panem regime is a massive hit among its intended young adult audience, as exemplified by the $360 million-and-counting box office take of Lionsgate’s (LGF) movie adaption of the novel. That The Hunger Games is omnipresent in the most highlighted passages list indicates that the young audience is indeed taking to e-books in huge numbers.
Again, it’s another death knell for paper books, which will one day probably become cool, ironic collectibles the way vinyl records are today.
Putting classic literature on the board is Jane Austen, whose Pride and Prejudice is featured twice. The third most highlighted passage ever is that classic opening of the book: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Another Austen line that made 8th place is: “Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
The Orwellian nature of how this list is generated is undoubtedly a tad creepy. There is ostensibly no immediate use Amazon might have for such data, other than perhaps to sell mugs and t-shirts with Hunger Games passages on them. However, I’m sure the company is collating every kilobyte of data possible from its users to better sell targeted products, and knowing what you like to highlight on e-books helps toward its profile-building.
Perhaps that could be the new marketing campaign paper book publishers can initiate: Read hard covers and paperbacks -- you can highlight whatever you want, and nobody will ever know.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.