As we’ve done since 2009, again we’ve taken some of the most popular e-book platforms and combed through their privacy policies for answers to common privacy questions that users deserve to know. In many cases, these answers were frustratingly vague and long-winded. In nearly all cases, reading e-books means giving up more privacy than browsing through a physical bookstore or library, or reading a paper book in your own home. Here, we’ve examined the policies of Google Books, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Sony, Overdrive, Indiebound, Internet Archive, and Adobe Content Server for answers to the following questions:
- Can they keep track of searches for books?
- Can they monitor what you’re reading and how you’re reading it after purchase and link that information back to you? Can they do that when the e-book is obtained elsewhere?
- What compatibility does the device have with books not purchased from an associated eBook store?
- Do they keep a record of book purchases? Can they track book purchases or acquisitions made from other sources?
- With whom can they share the information collected in non-aggregated form?
- Do they have mechanisms for customers to access, correct, or delete the information?
- Can they share information outside the company without the customer’s consent?
Note: The chart does not point out that when you access an ebook via a library’s OverDrive page and then have it delivered to a Kindle device, Amazon.com has a record of the transaction. We pointed this out in our original post about Amazon and OverDrive access back in 2011.
In October, we noted that Google Analytics had been added to the latest release of the OverDrive Media Console.