Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Your eBook Might have a Virus called candy.js


If you have an e-reader issued by Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo your reading habits are being tracked. These companies want to monitor what books you are buying and how long it takes you to get through them. When ebooks are sold on other platforms, publishers and authors are normally kept out of the loop, until now. A new tracking script is currently being implemented that totally negates privacy.

Jellybooks has created a new a piece of code called candy.js, which is embedded inside an ebook to track how users actually read. Penguin Random House UK was among their earliest partners in a pilot program. Currently this code shares your personal information not only with Jellybooks, but also any publisher taking part.

Currently this technology by Jellybooks is included in Advanced Reader Copies (ARC), which basically is only available to book reviewers or people who are participating in focus groups. Normally these books are read on 3rd party apps for Android or imported into Apple devices, such as iBooks. While reading the ebook, Jellybooks collects reading data for each individual reader based on unique tracking software embedded inside the ebook. The collected data is stored inside the ebook and the user can be reading online or offline. In return for receiving the free ebook, readers are prompted to upload the data with a single click form inside the ebook. Jellybooks then distribute the results as online data graphs and figures to authors and publishers.

Sure this technology is limited to ARC e-books at the moment but Jellybooks wants to bring it mainstream. They want publishers to know what genres are hot right now and what apps people are using to read e-books on. The funny thing is, once this does go mainstream readers won’t get discounts on books that track your reading habits, it will just be another piece of software that shares your personal information with publishers.

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