#276: Bibliometer

Looking down from the escalator in a bookstore the other day I was amazed at how many books are competing to be bought.

People are very much encouraged to browse in bookshops (the word originated in the offline world) but how can they decide to purchase, or not, based on a few seconds’ exposure to 500 pages of text? The buying decisions are presumably mostly based on the author, blurbs, reviews, cover…and price.


Today’s invention attempts to support the decisionmaking process of the bookbuying public.

Books would be displayed in piles, for sale, as currently happens, except that they would be sealed and unopenable. Some designated tables would be reserved for browsable copies, with a few of each book present. Each of these would be wired to the table, so that lifting a given book would break a circuit and allow information about how long it was inspected for to be collected. (It might even be possible to extend this to switches between individual pages ( eg by printing contacts/circuits on adjacent pages using conductive ink). In this way, information about which parts of a book were open for longest could be gathered on behalf of writers and buyers alike).

Large volumes of data would be gathered, across a chain of stores, about books which were heavily browsed and this could be correlated with sales figures for the book in question. These browse times would be displayed beside the books for sale -as indicators of interest in them.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say…

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