Book Recommendation: The Aisles Have Eyes (Turow)

Have you ever wondered why individual stores want you to download your app or why there is free Wifi in stores? It’s all part of a sophisticated plan to learn more about you, where you are, what you are interested in, and how stores can increase loyalty and spending in their brick-and-mortar and online portals.

Joseph Turow’s The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power (Yale University Press, 2017) is a wake-up call for consumers and an insight into how Big Data is transforming shopping experiences for stores and shoppers alike … often without the shopper’s awareness. Under the guise of offering you special discounts, loyalty points, or other customer-facing rewards, the behind-the-scenes data sets are staggeringly large.

Don’t be put off by the book’s academic publisher; the content is compelling, and the writing is reader-friendly. Highly recommended.


Ironically, when I went looking online for a book cover for this post, I discovered that you can buy the book at Wal-Mart, the corporation many say has the most sophisticated set of customer and inventory data anywhere.

About Kristin Fontichiaro

Kristin Fontichiaro is the principal investigator of this IMLS-funded project and a clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information.