LACUNY Institute 2015

Document Type


Publication Date



Graduate Center


Libraries have more options than ever before to provide access to ebooks for their patrons. New platforms, approaches and content providers get involved in ebook sales as time goes on. And there is a lack of critical evaluation of what information is being sent to whom about what our patrons view, download and read.

In this talk, I discuss the concept of patron tracking in ebooks, by looking at various other services and platforms outside of libraries (i.e. Starbucks, Disney Land) which are well known to track user information. I’ll compare these to common ebook platforms (which use Digital Restrictions/Rights Management systems, such as Adobe Digital Editions, etc.) to analyze how concepts like “digital payment jewelry” or mobile apps--which are intentionally designed to track user activity and payments--compare to what information ebook platforms track about readers.

I discuss the dangers of what this means for librarians who value privacy, as well as a few best practices for acquisitions librarians who would like to provide ebooks for patrons in a manner that respects patron information (if that is possible!).


This presentation was given as part of the 2015 LACUNY Institute. For full paper, see:



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