E-Reader Privacy Chart, 2012 Edition

See our announcement of this chart's launch here.

Can they keep track of searches for books?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
Yes
Logs all search data with IP address. Will also associate searches with user’s Google Account if logged in. Will not associate searches with user’s account if not logged in.
Yes/Unclear
Logs data on products viewed and/or searched for on the device, and associates info with Amazon account. Searching the Inside Book feature requires login to Amazon account. It is unknown whether searches for books done at locations other than Amazon are also reported back to Amazon, but the Privacy Policy does not exclude this possibility.
Yes/Unclear
The privacy policy indicates that searches made on the Nook are probably not recorded, but B&N generally logs data on searches made and pages viewed on B&N website. B&N does not disclose whether it associates book searches with a user's account if logged in. It is unknown whether searches for books done at locations other than B&N are also reported back, but the Privacy Policy does not exclude this possibility.
Yes
Kobo seems to have the capability to keep track of book searches because it indicates that it shares those searches with third parties.
Yes
Sony seems to collect information on “site interaction,” which presumably includes uses of the Reader Store, and on “network-enabled devices,” which probably includes its e-Readers.
No
Appears not to track searches of books on library sites.
Unclear
While IndieBound’s reader app seems not to have a distinct privacy policy, the site policy indicates that it collects “non-personal, aggregate information (such as information regarding the pages on our site you have visited[)].” This suggests that searches may be recorded, albeit not linked with personally identifiable information.
No
The Archive does not collect IP addresses or user-identifiable data about book searches.
No
The Adobe Content Server software cannot monitor what a user reads.
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?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
Yes/N/A
Logs specific book and page viewed on website. Stores last five pages of each book read. May also track annotations. Cannot use for e-book obtained elsewhere.
Yes/Unclear
Stores last page read and may store annotations, highlights, markings, etc.
Unclear
Presumably stores last page read, but Privacy Policy and Terms of Use are unclear as to other stored data.
Unclear
Stores last page read and content deletions. May store annotations, bookmarks, highlighting etc. on servers in Canada.
Unclear
Sony’s privacy policy does not indicate whether it stores information about reading after purchase.
Unclear
Overdrive’s privacy policy does not indicate what information it stores, other than to say that the service uses cookies to store information about web usage.
Unclear
The privacy policy does not indicate whether the reader app has the capability to store information about reading. However, since the books come through Google Books, that policy (referenced above), which does report information about reading to Google, presumably will apply.
Archive.org does not collect user-specific (including IP addresses) information when freely available content is read/downloaded. Restricted content can be borrowed through OpenLibrary.org. Borrowing requires a user account with a verified email address. The Archive knows which user has which book checked out while the loan is active, but once the book is returned we do not retain the loan information by user. OpenLibrary.org does not retain IP addresses. No
The Adobe Content Server software cannot monitor what a user reads.
What compatibility does the device have with books not purchased from an associated eBook store?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
Not AZW but most others.
Google Books serves books online in ePub and PDF format. Google’s bookstore, Google Play, allows customers to download books in ePub and PDF and read them on any device.
Not ePub but most others.
Only Amazon's proprietary AZW and unprotected TXT, MOBI, PRC files are directly compatible with Kindle. Kindles also have PDF support. Amazon also allows publishers to offer books without DRM. Some public libraries offer books in Kindle format that can be accessed through library sites.
Not AZW but most others.
Supports popular eBook formats like EPUB and PDF from other sources (if Adobe DRM or non-DRM), but they will not be compatible with many Nook features.
Not AZW but most others.
Supports eBook formats like EPUB, PDF and MOBI from other sources, as well as image files and comic book formats including CBZ and CBR.
Not AZW but most others.
Supports eBook formats including EPUB, PDF, RTF and TXT files, as well as audiobooks in MP3 or AAC format.
Supports AZW, EPUB and PDF as well as audiobooks in WMA or MP3 format. Not AZW but most others.
IndieBound’s reader app enables consumers to purchase Google eBooks through associated independent bookstores. It limits consumers to those bookstores that are associated with the app.
Offers PDF, EPUB, MOBI, Daisy (for sight-impaired/print-disabled), DJVU and OCR-generated txt formats. Compatible with many different devices and books in many different formats, but also can be used to restrict formats.
Do they keep a record of book purchases? Can they track book purchases or acquisitions made from other sources?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
Yes
Book purchases must be made from a logged-in Google account, and Google keeps a record. Google books cannot be used to read books obtained from other sources.
Yes/Unclear
Amazon tracks purchases made through the Kindle Store. It is not clear whether Amazon tracks purchases loaded on to the Kindle from other sources.
Yes
Barnes & Noble tracks purchases made from a logged-in Barnes & Noble account, including through the Nook store. It also collects information, including “sideloaded content,” through the device’s interaction with the Internet.
Yes/Unclear
Kobo requires purchases in its store to be made from a logged-in account. It is not clear whether Kobo tracks book purchases made from other sources.
Yes/Unclear
While the privacy policy is unclear, Sony appears to keep track of purchases from the Reader Store since the user must log in to purchase books and Sony assigns an identification cookie to users for licensing purposes. Sony does not keep track of books obtained elsewhere.
Unclear
Overdrive itself may collect information related to “content selections,” but seems not to track lending histories.
Unclear
IndieBound indicates that it collects personally identifiable information associated with “orders,” but does not specify how this works within the reader app.
N/A
The Archive does not sell books, but some of its associated sites (e.g., www.openlibrary.org) link to bookstores.
No
The Adobe Content Server software does not obtain information about what users read.
With whom can they share the information collected in non-aggregated form?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
Law enforcement, civil litigants, and within Google’s own services. Law enforcement, civil litigants, and within Amazon’s own services. Law enforcement, civil litigants, and within Barnes & Noble’s own services, as well as with service providers, third party providers and membership programs, and publishers of newspapers or magazines that the user subscribes to. “Trusted third parties,” including, but not limited to, Indigo Books & Music, Inc, and publishers of newspapers or magazines that the user subscribes to. Law enforcement, civil litigants, and within Sony’s own services, as well as with publishers of newspapers or magazines that the user subscribes to. Overdrive does not share personally identifiable, non-aggregated data. “Affiliates, partners, agents or other parties;” law enforcement, civil litigants, and to “protect against fraud.” The Archive does not collect user-specific information (including IP address) about the searching, reading, or downloading of texts, and so cannot provide it. Books, bookmarks, reviews, and forum postings are publicly available. The Adobe Content Server software does not collect user-identifying information and so cannot share it.
Do they have mechanisms for customers to access, correct, or delete the information?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
Somewhat
User may delete or disassociate book titles with account, but may lose ability to read them. Users can delete their search history.
Somewhat
Users may access and update info in account profile, but Amazon may retain prior versions for its records. There is no right to access or delete search and purchase history.
Somewhat
Users may access, correct, and change info in account profile at any time. There is no right to access or delete search and purchase history.
Yes
Users may access, correct, and change personal information at any time.
Somewhat
For information collected through the Reader Store: Users may send a request to have certain personal information updated and it will be done in a reasonable time. There is no right to access or delete search and purchase history.
Somewhat
While Overdrive does not elaborate on users’ ability to access, correct, and change personal information, it complies with EU Safe Harbor principles and thus must have some mechanism in place to do so.
Somewhat
“ABA members” can access and correct their information by calling a customer service number. It is unclear whether the users of the IndieBound app can do so, however.
N/A
No user info or IP addresses on searches, reading, or downloads are collected. Bookmarks may be deleted.
N/A
No information about users is collected.
Can they share information outside the company without the customer's consent?
Google Books Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook Kobo Sony OverDrive IndieBound Internet Archive Adobe Content Server
No
User must opt-in to have personal info shared outside Google.
Yes
Users may opt-out of use of information only for certain promotional and marketing purposes.
Yes
Users may opt-out of use of information only for certain promotional and marketing purposes or for certain analytic uses of info by third parties.
Yes
Kobo shares information with third parties without consent, but obtains consent for uses not set forth in the privacy policy.
Yes
For information collected through the Reader Store: User may refuse to share information (on either an opt-out or opt-in basis) only for promotional or marketing purposes.
Yes
Overdrive shares information with third parties, but only in aggregated and/or non-identifiable form.
Yes
IndieBound may share information, but users may opt-out by calling a customer service number.
No
The Archive does not collect user-specific information (including IP address) about the searching, reading, or downloading of texts, and so cannot provide it. Books, bookmarks, reviews, and forum postings are publicly available.
No
No information about users is collected.
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