Keeping Readers Engaged

2013 was the year of ebook subscription services. While a number of smaller startups had attempted this concept prior to 2013, none seemed to really take off.

Stack of books

Then last year, Scribd, the internet’s largest document sharing site, began an ebook subscription service. They offered consumers access to books and other written works on their iPhone, iPad, Android devise and web browsers for just $8.99 a month.

Following on the heels of Scribd, Oyster, a startup, launched their own ebook subscription service featuring over 100,000 books for a monthly fee of $9.95.

Over the past few months, these subscription services have just begun to analyze the data from their subscribers. Such data can shed light on reader’s preferences and reading habits, useful information for authors and publishers.

Here are a few of the early findings on subscription e-reading habits:

  • The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end.
  • Readers are more likely to finish reading biographies than business titles.
  • Romance novels are speed read, faster than religious titles.
  • Readers are 25% more likely to finish books that are broken up into shorter chapters.

Just from this small finding, any author can glean two gems to help you get readers to read more of your book: break it up into shorter chapters and keep your mystery novels shorter rather than longer.

I am eager for more data like this to be released to help all of us (authors and publishers) structure our books to better meet the needs of our readers so that we can keep them engaged through the whole book.

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