Alexandra Alter, in her article entitled “Your E-Book Is Reading You” and published in The Wall Street Journal proffered pertinent issues pertaining to e-book promoters being supportive of actively collecting information regarding the consumers’ reading behavior. Alter’s purpose was to expound that e-books are tools for soliciting information on the behavior of consumers, in terms of reading patterns: kinds of books purchased and read; how long are these books read; and factors that contribute to intensity of interest or losing interests in reading. These information were indicated to be remotely impossible to be gathered and known of consumers’ buying and reading behavior from traditional printed and published books.
Alter initially introduced the discourse through the provision of consumer behavior patterns regarding reading Suzanne Collin’s trilogy of “Hunger Games” which is deemed effective in soliciting enhanced appeal to her adult readers. The current discourse hereby aims to provide a rhetorical analysis of Alter’s article in terms of determining the effectiveness of the author in generating overall appeal towards the relaying and accurately understanding the main message through closely examining the rhetorical elements.
Alter was able to enhance logical appeal through the provision of facts, data, and statistical information from reputable sources.
This was evident from citing the following: market share for Barnes & Nobles which was disclosed at 25% to 30% of the e-book market ; figures for sales increase of Nook devices (45% increase), as well as increases in e-book sales for Nook (119% rise); the number of e-readers in the United States (noted at 40 million); and the number of tablet owners in the U.S (65 million); as well as e-book sales apparently generated in the first quarter of 2012 to have reached $282 million; while compared with sales for adult hardcover books noted at $230; among others. These information were disclosed to have been sourced from reliable and verifiable organizations such as the Association of American Publishers, and the Forrester Research, to name a few. Using facts, statistical figures, and credible details acknowledged to be sourced from authoritative and credible organizations confirm the effectiveness of using logos as a rhetorical element.
Concurrently, Alter also enhanced the emotions of the target audience through enticing the readers’ interest on the subject being discussed with the integration of humor and wit. For instance, in arguing that there really is no need to collect information on the customers prior to writing literary discourses; the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Jonathan Galassi, was cited to have stated that “We’re not going to shorten ‘War and Peace’ because someone didn't finish it" . As such, readers appreciate the integration of humor and could have sought approval from the points of views of the audience. Another example was the remark that was allegedly relayed by the legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cindy Cohn, who supported the contention that the reading habits of consumers should be left private and confidential. She was cited to have averred that “Right now, there's no way for you to tell Amazon, I want to buy your books, but I don't want you to track what I'm reading” . Through aiming to touch on the emotional appeal of readers, Alter has succeeded in emphasizing relevant points that included privacy rights and the eccentricity or creativity of writing literary discourses without necessarily waiting for the consumers’ feedbacks to dictate their preferences and demands.
After comprehensively assessing the logical, emotional and credibility of the author, one could deduce that the author was effective in relaying her main point. The author thereby confirmed and made readers aware; especially avid reading audiences who have used the e-book medium as their source of regular reading materials, that organizations such as Amazon, Apple, and Google, could in fact, “easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books” . Through the use of rhetorical elements of logos, pathos, and ethos, the author was able to successfully impart the message in the most enticing and interesting manner. Likewise, it was evident that she used a balanced argument by presenting two sides of the contentions: those who supported gathering pertinent information from customers to enable them to further improve strategies that would cater to customers’ needs and demands; and those who argued that reading should be a private endeavor and no one, for any reason, should have the right to evade privacy and confidentiality that readers must be accorded with. In the end, Alter aptly concluded with a confirmation that soliciting appropriate information from e-book readers enables crucial stakeholders: the authors, publishers, editors, and agents, to use vital information towards more beneficial strategies that would ultimately improve their craft, according to the data that has been received and evaluated.
Overall, the integrative application of the strategic techniques of enhancing the appeal of the audience significantly assisted in creating an effective literary discourse that made reading the article more interesting and significantly worthwhile. This evidently proved that the author’s writing experience, formal educational background, knowledge of the audience, as well as the rhetorical strategies assisted in enhancing the appeal of the discourse. The use of collaborative rhetorical and literary elements enabled her to enhance the readers’ appeal to understand the message she originally intended to relay at the most interesting manner. In the process, her arguments persuaded the readers that soliciting consumers’ behavior information could actually be mutually beneficial in relaying their reading preferences and enabling e-book promoters to improve on their craft accordingly.
Alter, Alexandra. "Your E-book Is Reading You." 19 July 2012. The Wall Street Journal. 8 April 2013