there is a story behind every book

Ebook Analytics for Publishers

Welcome to Reader Analytics by Jellybooks!

Reader Analytics by Jellybooks allows book publishers to collect data on how their customers read books across third party reading apps and devices.

This ebooks analytics tools for book reading uses many of the same technical principles used in Google Analytics for web pages. The purpose of the tool is to help publishers understand how their customers read books. Hence the publishing trade press has nicknamed the tool a “Google Analytics for Ebooks” (Disclaimer: this Jellybooks service is in no way connected to or endorsed by Google Inc.)

The reader analytics tool is designed for use in virtual focus groups. Jellybooks currently does not encourage, endorse or support the use of the tool in general ebook retail despite such use being technically possible.

Our reader analytics tool allows publishers to visualise and analyse the following data:

  • When the reader opens a new chapter in an ebook
  • Ebook reading speed
  • Length of reading sessions
  • Position where readers abandon an ebook
  • Time of day a book is read
  • Readers clicking on links or images in the ebook

The data is displayed both for individual readers, as well as a group averages. Thus it is possible to correlate:

  • What kind of reader abandons the book, reads in and off or reads cover to cover
  • How reading style compares to whether a user will recommend the book

It is important to note that participants in our virtual focus groups are not anonymous. By enrolling in a focus group to receive a free book, participating readers agree for their personal reading data to be visualised. This is one of the central reasons why Jellybooks does not endorse or support the use of the tool in general retail. In such a scenario, readers would have an implicit expectation of remaining anonymous.

Participants in the publisher’s virtual focus group can be selected by the publisher (closed groups) or by Jellybooks (open groups). Where the closed option is selected, the publisher invites virtual focus group participants via email who can then redeem their invite code on the Jellybooks website. Each copy redeemed has a personalised tracking code unique to each focus group participant. Where the open option is selected, the focus group is advertised by Jellybooks on its home page and through its social channels (we operate one of the largest book community groups on Pinterest with other 60,000 avid and passionate readers). The publisher still has the option to approve individual readers applying for participation in a virtual focus group. Publishers can also select a hybrid option of inviting participants form their own focus group panel or loyalty program as well as promoting the focus group through Jellybooks.


The collected data can be used

  • To make editorial improvements (in which case the focus group should be undertaken several weeks or months prior to the publication date)
  • To decide on how best to position, market and promote the book (in which case the focus groups should be done just a few weeks prior to the publication date with a near final copy.

Virtual focus groups can also be undertaken after publication date, when deciding on a new edition or planning a mid-list/back list promotion for a book. However, the principle of readers being invited and receiving a free book in exchange for their participation applies also to such use cases.

How Does Reader Analytics Work?

Reader Analytics by Jellybooks works with the same ebook files you already use for retail purposes provided they were generated and can be supplied to Jellybooks as ePub 3 files.

  1. The first step is to upload a copy of the ebook that you want to use for the virtual focus group, to the Jellyfactory.
  2. Jellybooks then incorporates special tracking code into the ePub file.
  3. Next ebook files with personalised tracking codes are distributed to focus group participants
  4. Participants can read the ebook on third party reading apps with the tracking code recording their reading style and interactions and storing it in the ePub file
  5. Every time a reader taps the sync/upload button an updated record of their reading data is uploaded to the Jellybooks servers
  6. Publishers can visualise and analyse the data on the Jellyboks VIP dashboard and compare it with data for other books in the genre.

Data is not available where participants do not tap the click/sync. However, participants receive a nudge from Jellybooks if no data is received. Furthermore, Jellybooks keeps a record of users who participate in virtual focus groups and do not upload their reading behaviour. Publishers may choose to exclude such readers from their focus group.

The basic bargain between publishers/Jellybooks and the reader is that the reader receives a free copy of the book in exchange for sharing their reading data with Publisher/Jellybooks. Readers who opt out of this arrangement lose their right to participate in future focus groups (data on individual reader compliance in the past is available to all publishers using the Reader Analytics tool. Focus group participants can also see their own reading data at Jellybooks is committed to total transparency in terms of the data collected.

Technical Details and Specifications

The basic requirement is that the ebook must be an ePub3 file and that it is provided with a high resolution cover image. The files can be uploaded quickly and easily through the Jellybooks VIP portal.

Currently only iBooks for iPhone, iPad, and Mac is supported, but support for Adobe Digital Editions, Kobo, Bluefire and other ebook reading apps will follow over the course of 2015.

Amazon currently does not support Javascript in any of its applications or devices though it is part of the ePub 3 specification. We have been in contact with Amazon, but they cannot give a date when Javascript will be supported. Unfortunately, we are unable to support the use of Kindle applications and devices in focus groups until Amazon supports Javascript.

Reader Analytics by Jellybooks is a hosted Software-as-a-Service. There is a modest monthly fee based on the number of transactions you require (each ebook supplied to a focus group participant is counted as one transaction).

Note: Currently we can only reliably detect when the reader opens a new chapter. We cannot detect page scrolling or any other viewport interactions due to current limitations of how ePub3 has been implemented. However, we record if the reading app is open and in active use and using that data estimate page level progress.

Signing Up for Reader Analytics

You can sign up for early access to Reader Analytics at if you are interested in the program or want to find out more. The Reader Analytics service from Jellybooks is currently in limited beta with major trade publishers and will launch commercially in spring.