From Digital Book World:
One of the data points we record at Jellybooks is how many chapters a reader finishes. Reading fiction is a very linear activity in which you start at the beginning of the novel and, following the story arc, read until you reach the end. You don’t usually hop in and out of chapters as you would do in a non-fiction book or textbook, and reading analytics bears that out.
However, what if the novel doesn’t grab your attention? What if you get bored? Reading analytics can measure that, too!
The way we display this is through a completion graph. To facilitate comprehension by authors and editors, the graph is deliberately structured like a Table of Contents (TOC), listing each chapter in the book. Next to each chapter is a horizontal bar graph in blue showing the percentage of readers who read that chapter (or substantial parts of it). The grey bars show front- and back–matter (introduction, dedication, prologue, epilogue, copyright page and so on) that are organized as chapters but are not part of the main narrative. As readers progress, the percentage drops off, showing that readers lose interest and even stop reading.
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The example above shows a title that was tested several months prior to publication date. Readers received it as complementary Advance Reading Copy (ARC), like they would from say, NetGalley, but instead of being asked to write a book review, they were asked to upload their reading data with the click of a button. Though participation in this focus group was generally very high, this book stood out from the dozen or so others, as an astonishing 90 percent of readers gave up after just two chapters. Let that sink in. Nine in 10 potential readers who took the time to start reading this book, expecting to read it all the way to the end, gave up after less than 50 pages. Just 50 pages!
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Surveying readers confirmed that people gave up because they genuinely did not like the book. They either didn’t like the writing, couldn’t identify with the main character or simply “weren’t that into the book.” Many a reader also stated, “I will stick it out for 50-100 pages for any book I try, but after that I move on if I don’t like the book”.
Last year we also had the opportunity to exchange data and information with some senior executives [from] a certain company in Seattle that has data on millions of readers (but not prior to publication date), and it confirmed what we had seen. Readers don’t get past the first 50-100 page for the majority of books. Wow!
So dear author and editor, what is the lesson? In today’s world of infinite distractions, you need to capture the reader’s attention within the first 50 to 100 pages. The 19th century approach of 100-page rambling introductions that lay out the background will turn off 21st century readers.
Link to the rest at Digital Book World