Barnes & Noble to Share More Reader Data with Publishers

Barnes & Noble vice president of e-books, Jim Hilt. Photo credit: Babette Ross

By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid

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Barnes & Noble will share more reader data with publishers to collaborate and sell more e-books, according to Jim Hilt, vice president of e-books at Barnes & Noble, who spoke at the Digital Book World Conference this morning.

While Hilt offered no details on how Barnes & Noble will share data, what kind of data it will share, when and with whom, he said, “the transformation and rapid growth in our digital book industry will only happen when authors, retailers and publishers will become more transparent about the data they use…we will all collectively sell more great books we love, every day, all the time.”

Despite the lack of details, the news was likely welcome among the some 1,000 publishers and publishing industry executives in the room. Digital reader information has long been coveted by publishers – and long-held close by online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sharing of reader data between retailers and publishers may be closer to reality because of new technology. The EPUB 3 publishing language, for instance, allows for JavaScript to be embedded in e-books, which would theoretically allow publishers to track their readers’ reading habits – if only retailers would allow that code in the books it sells and build e-reader software capable of supporting such technology.

Perhaps that’s the data sharing that Hilt was referring to. will follow up. ((Digital Book World is owned and operated by F+W Media, as is

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Over 1,000 publishing executives at Digital Book World 2012. Photo credit: Chad Phelps

For more photos of Digitial Book World, follow Phelps on Twitter @chadx365.

2 thoughts on “Barnes & Noble to Share More Reader Data with Publishers

  1. Thad McIlroy

    My handwritten notes from Hilt’s presentation including these two statements:
    1. “Information helps us sell great books.”
    and his concluding statement:
    2 “Information collaboration is the future of bookselling.”
    I wanted to share an example of a “motherhood statement” but will quote instead from an online definition:
    Motherhood Statement (plural ‘motherhood statements’)
    A ‘feel good’ platitude, usually by a politician, about a worthy concept that few people would disagree with, without any specified plans for realisation. For example, ‘Our country must contribute to world peace.’
    Given your note that “Hilt offered no details on how Barnes & Noble will share data, what kind of data it will share, when and with whom,” please forgive me for declaring my cup half-empty, while yours is apparently half full.



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