Analysis Of Your E-Book Is Reading You By Alexandra Alter

1112 Words 5 Pages
In her persuasive essay “Your E-Book Is Reading You,” Alexandra Alter claims that through the use of digital books, reading books is no longer a private act by consumers. According to Alter, personal reading habits can now be tracked by the publishing world; used to improve book and e-book sales; and shared semi-publicly. Alter contends that in the pre-e-book era, the literature business could not know a person’s unique reading habits (for instance, whether a consumer even finished a book he or she bought). Through the use of e-books and digital applications, however, big publishing companies now know exactly which sentences are highlighted in different e-books via digital reading applications. She goes on to show that some people are worried …show more content…
The title of Alter’s essay, “Your E-Book Is Reading You,” is itself rather disconcerting. One does not expect an inanimate object to be able to read or track one’s intimate habits; yet, her title implies that one’s reading time is no longer as private as it was with paper books. After her slightly eerie title, Alter’s first paragraph contains the quote “ ‘Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.’ ” In the context of the rest of her essay, Alter’s audience cannot help but wonder the following: maybe readers are not equipped to deal with their private reading habits becoming rather public, and maybe the book world is changing too fast for them to deal with it. Later on in her essay, she quotes a publisher who is thrilled that he can now “ ‘get a glimpse into the reader’s mind’ ” (Alter) through data-tracking technologies in interactive reading games and e-books. In general, having strangers be capable of reading one’s mind is not a comfortable option for readers; however, evidently some people (like the publisher quoted) are happy with the opportunities that tracking technology can offer them. Finally, by finishing her essay with an author saying “Now I can see they bought it and read it in the first week,” Alter leaves readers with the impression that times have really, permanently changed; as the quoted author explains, technology can give authors intimate access to readers’ tastes and activities. Alter’s use of the word “now” leaves her audience with the sense that the changes technology has brought to one’s reading experience have been finalized. By scattering slightly ominous phrases throughout her essay, Alter leaves readers with the sense that their reading practices are no longer

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