Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hiptype offers third-party analytics for eBooks...with a catch

PaidContent reports that Hiptype, a company that offers third-party analytic reporting for eBooks, has launched. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other eBook vendors can gather a variety of information about how their eBooks are read--how far a reader gets into an eBook, how often they open it, what notes and highlights they add, etc. However, that information is rarely shared with publishers. Hiptype allows publishers to independently gather similar information. The information is anonymized, but consumers can opt-out of Hiptype's data collection completely (assuming, of course, that they know that Hiptype is collecting information.)

There's a huge hole in Hiptype's data collection that may make it unattractive for most publishers: It requires eReaders that support both HTML5 and JavaScript in order to work, but according to paidContent, neither web-based eReaders like Kindle Cloud nor desktop eReaders, even those that are browser-based, will work. Black & white eReaders are also unsupported. That limits the usefulness of Hiptype to Apple's iBooks and a few iOS and Android eReading apps. Frankly, I'm surprised that they even released the service when its practical value is so low. This isn't a Minimum Viable Product--there's virtually no value in the current offering for most publishers.

They're offering a 30-day trial with service for one book, or programs priced at $19 or $99/month. The $19/month program is limited to 1,000 readers, so it's not useful to anyone other than self-publishers and very small publishers.
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