The Washington Post's Philip Bump has what is meant to be a rather lighted-hearted story revealing that most buyers of Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices make it no farther than 2.04 percent of the way into the book (i.e., they get hung up around page 33). The story is not meant to shame Hillary. In fact she's in good company; readers make it only 2.4 percent into Thomas Piketty's vastly esteemed Capital in the Twenty-First Century (although I can't say why it's so esteemed, if hardly anyone is reading it).
But while Bump's story is not meant to shame Hillary or particularly shock anyone, it damn well shocked me--and all because of this one seemingly innocuous passage about the methodology used for assessing readership patterns: "Every time people highlight something in a book on their Kindles, Amazon records that data."
I knew it! I always knew e-books were the instruments of demons, tools of Satan, the work of Beelzebub. And there's the bloody proof. Amazon.com is snooping into your reading habits. You bought the damn book, you paid for it, and that's where your relationship with the seller should end. Does it? No. Not at all. For Amazon, that's only the beginning, as it now peers over your shoulder to record your reading progress, or failure.
Don't be seduced by the Dark Prince of modernity. Books were meant to be opened, bent, caressed, dog-eared, toted, tossed about, stacked, filed, filled with the commentary of personal marginalia and then lovingly passed on to the next generation. They were not meant to be juiced up by battery power, "downloaded" and villainously tracked by faceless MBAs at Amazon.com.
It's a sinister business, this e-book thing. Please, protect yourself. Be pure. Be virtuous. Buy the real thing.