Advertising is necessary, but most people detest adverts. They slow a movie (unless you record and fast forward). Magazines are filled with them. They even find, or used to find, their way into some paperback books. At least with a print copy, we can see the ads upfront.
With eBooks, the ads are unseen – until we get to the end of the book and find sample chapters of the author’s next work. Not everyone has an issue with this, but for some readers, it’s a problem. I recently read an online discussion about how readers feel cheated by the inclusion of sample chapters.
The problem is not so much the insertion of the additional chapters, but with perception.
On an eReader (I’m using Kindle as an example as I’ve never read on a Nook) the percentage of the book read is shown. This gives the reader an idea of how much story is left. Imagine getting to the 70% mark, believing there is 30% of the story left, only to find it wraps up within the next few pages. We weren’t prepared for that. What happened to the rest? This is not a good kind of surprise.
It doesn’t matter that the novel itself was full length and that with the added excerpts we actually got more for our $2.99 or $3.99 than if we’d only received the novel. What counts is that we feel misled, conned, cheated. Even with free downloads, readers do not like the story to end with 30% left on their Kindle. Not even 10%. Some of those who paid for the download commented that they feel as though they’ve been tricked into paying for the author’s advertising.
I’ve seen it with books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle. I understand the frustration. We can’t “see” that the author gave us more than we paid for because we only see that book ended before we were at the 99% or 100% point on our progress bar. It feels like the story ended too soon and the author filled out the remaining percentage with the excerpts to reach 100%.
Readers getting pissed off is the last thing an author wants. Once they’ve been turned off, we’ve lost them, along with everyone to whom they might have recommended our books. An author can argue all they want that the reader got more than they paid for, that the excerpts did not reduce the length of the book, but it does no good once the reader is annoyed.
Yes, readers can ignore the excerpts (and from the comments on the forum, the majority do), but they are still unhappy about what they perceive as a shortened story. 1% or 2% left for advertising seems to be okay, or just one page of links to the authors next work. Readers commented that if they enjoyed the book, they still don’t read the excerpts. If the quality of the blurb or the sample pulls them in, they trust the rest of the writing is as good, and they will find the author’s next works on their own.
Readers: how do you feel about excerpts? Even if the book was great, does it leave you feeling misled when an eBook ends at less than 100%. Would it turn you off recommending or reading other books by this author?