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The Bloated eBook File

In the past, I’ve advocated for various things to be included in the ebook file, mostly in an effort to convince publishers that digital format was something that readers actually did want. (yes, dear readers, we had to fight for books to be digitized in the not so distant past).  Some publishers (and self published authors) have taken this to extremes.

In the past month or so, I’ve fielded several complaints from readers, primarily directed at a couple of publishers, for the bloated nature of the ebook file.  It’s not the file size that is the problem.  Instead, it is the way in which additives to the main content is ruining the reader experience.  If there is one thing that you want to stay away from if you are a publisher, it is messing with the reader experience.

How much is left in a book can affect the reader experience.  Paper readers know how far they are from the end of the book by a glance at the physical pages left.  When a reader is reading a digital book, she usually can tell how far she is, either by page number or percentage, or both.   More and more often, the reader experience is being impinged upon because of additives, mostly excerpts from other books, that are giving a false expectation of when the book is to be completed.

For instance, Lightning That Lingers from Sharon and Tom Curtis ends at the 56% mark.  The remainder of the contents of the file are excerpts from other Loveswept titles.  Legends by Deborah Smith ends at the 60% mark.  The remainder of the contents of the file are excerpts.  Every Loveswept title that is being re-released in digital format has the same problem.  The percentage or page indicator leads the reader to believe that they are only a little more than half way through the book and the end is upon you.

Samhain has this problem, although it is much less dramatic.  Many of its books end around the 80-90% mark due to ebook promotional matter.  Self published authors are also taking this to extremes.  A reader reported that Shoshanna Ever’s self published short story “Overheated” ends at the 38% mark and includes a long preview chapter of her other works.  The reader was indignant that 62% of the book she paid for was advertisement.  The reader shared ” it was the fact that so much of Ms. Evers book was preview material that I paid for that infuriated me.”

Update: Ms. Evers informed me that her story “Overheated” has been re-uploaded without the promotional chapter.

One author mentioned that authors have to put  promotional matter in the end of the books because it is easy marketing that an author would be foolish to pass up.   Another suggested that aftermatter should be clearly marked in the title (ie. with bonus materials and excerpts) such as “Halfway to the Grave with Bonus Material: A Night Huntress Novel

For a limited time, discover Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series with Halfway to the Grave. Plus, as a bonus, you will receive exclusive material, including deleted scenes and excerpts!

These HarperCollins ebook editions end around 90% with 10% being the “bonus” materials.

For the most part, readers did not like promotional material and most admitted to not reading it, although Holly from Bookbinge admitted that she ordinarily didn’t like it but occasionally would be lured into buying a book from an excerpt at the end (which is, of course, why publishers include them). One of the problems is that the inclusion of excerpts is scattershot. Oftentimes you will get 5-6 excerpts with no discernable relation to the book you just read. Another person said that the publishers should only promote 1 or 2 books at the end instead of several by all different authors. The goal is that the promotional items should be targeted rather than scattershot. An “if you like X, you’ll like Y” sort of listing. A small inclusion with links to more excerpts makes sense or even an additional download. Robin shared that with Big Fish Games, you can be invited to download more content as you move through the game. A book should work like that as well, downloading additional content with the reader’s permission.

Most importantly, though, the promotional material should never interfere with a reader’s experience with the main content. If it does, the promotional material works against the publisher by leaving the reader with a negative rather than a positive reading experience.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

52 Comments

  1. Thalia
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 04:21:36

    Yes! Thanks for this post. I have yet to come across anything as bad as an ending at the 50-60% mark but still, what I have come across is bad enough. I want to add any “Dear Reader” letters that are not from the author and that is not about that specific book I am reading. All those unwanted things are like a newsletter I didn’t sign up for. And we know how that is bad form on the Internet and via emails, which are free. It’s 10 times worse when it’s in something I’ve paid for.

  2. Meghan
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 04:40:40

    I agree with those who don’t like it. I never read the promotional materials at the back of ebooks OR paper books. I’m just not interested in them, and I would be VERY irritated to discover a book was finished at the 60% mark! I’m glad I haven’t come across any of those and hope it doesn’t spread to more of the industry.

  3. Daisy
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 06:48:14

    I just finished a non-fiction book on the Kindle that ended at 80% – not only was 20% of the file an index, a cheery note had been added to say that the page numbers given obviously referred to the print version, and Kindle users should use the search function instead.

  4. Eve Langlais
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 07:10:35

    Good article. I came across that problem in a few ebooks and it irritates me to no end, because I’m left feeling gypped especially when I expected certain matters to get fleshed out or resolved and they don’t. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t read excerpts at the end, because most have nothing to do with the story I just finished.

    In my indie stuff, I give a short bio at the end, and a list of other titles. That’s it. No excerpts etc. My publishers tend to also follow this format thank goodness. As a reader, I know, if I like that author’s work, I will go looking for more, excerpt or not.

    I also dislike the too long intros into the story, where I get a blurb, an excerpt, a bunch of review/love it quotes etc… When I open the book, I just want to get started lol. That type of bulk in the beginning also makes it difficult to get a proper sample from places like Amazon because the junk takes up too much of the 10% teaser.

    But, those issues aside, I won’t go back to paper lol. I love the ease of purchasing and carrying around ebooks too much.
    Eve :)

  5. Cathy KJ
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 08:25:37

    I’d really like it if there was a way to indicate the start of bonus materials (aka the real end of the story) in an ebook file. I mentally approach action in the middle of the book differently than at the end – a continuation rather than a climax – and have had a few shorter stories really thrown off kilter because the end turns out to be only 2/3rds through the file.

    It’d be nice if the bonus materials could be sent in a separate file or something.

  6. Las
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 09:22:19

    I haven’t come across any ebooks with the promotional material starting at the 50-60% mark. That’s outrageous, and it would be enough to stop me from purchasing anything from that publisher–and I never keep track of publishers.

    There has to be a way to set things up so that the extra material isn’t included in the page count. That way the publishers can get all the free marketing they want without lying to readers about the length of the stories.

  7. Jane Davitt
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:02:15

    More and more often, the reader experience is being impinged upon because of additives, mostly excerpts from other books, that are giving a false expectation of when the book is to be completed.

    Oh my God, yes! I was reading a novella of some 121 pages two days ago and it ended with twenty pages left to go. I clicked to go to the next page after an exciting chapter that I thought was the penultimate one, comfortably sure of a nice wrap-up, and found that was it, I was done. That’s partly the fault of the book for ending too abruptly, but I felt cheated by that false page count. It spoiled my enjoyment of the book for a moment.

  8. Vanessa Jaye
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:16:16

    Ditto’ing everything Eve said, and I do like the idea of fair warning via an ‘additional bonus’ statement. I remember a free read I once downloaded that was nothing more than a bunch of stuff at the front (title page, rights, chapter listing) then essentially what was a GMC/backstory outline & physical description for each character, then a bunch of linkage. Apparently if I wanted to read more of this freebie book ( ie the actual story) I’d have to buy it. I was so pissed off at the bait n switch I vowed never to buy any of books from this particular author, ever.

  9. Allie
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:16:36

    I never read that junk at the end – and if it is more than 10%, I never buy a book by that author again, either. :P

    I don’t like this in paper books, either. Lots of paperbacks have the first chapter of some other book at the end, and I have to mark those pages with a post-it or I get upset when the story ends before the book does. If only I had a post-it I could use on my Kindle…

  10. Vanessa Jaye
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:22:12

    Oops, sorry about the double post. I’m on my phone and I got an error message the first time I tried posting. Can one of the Js please delete the extra post? Thnx

  11. DS
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:34:14

    I remember how annoyed I was when the promised “bonus” material in an ebook was a chapter from another book by the same author.

    I’m not sure about the inclusion of deleted scenes, etc. If the scenes should not have been deleted then they could easily have been put back (revised edition, expanded edition), if they should have been deleted then what is the use of including them?

  12. Janine
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:37:52

    @Vanessa Jaye: Done!

  13. Kristi
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:43:55

    It’s even more annoying when the promo stuff is in the front! I rely on the Kindle samples to guide my purchasing. Recently, I downloaded a Kindle sample of an indie book that looked interesting. The sample ended at the book’s title page! I’m not sure if it was set up that way to tempt me to just go ahead and buy it–but I’m *much* less likely to buy without reading a sample first. So, a potential sale lost.

  14. LG
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 10:53:33

    I just finished an e-book that only included 8 pages of extra stuff at the end (author bio, descriptions of other works put out by that publisher), but there were so many blurbs for other titles, none of which seemed very similar to the work I just finished (which I didn’t like very much, anyway, so I’m not sure it would have made much of a difference), that I just skipped over them all. I haven’t come across anything that was 50% or more promo material though – that sounds awful. I don’t know if the publishers or authors doing that realize it, but there is a thing as too much. Promo materials cease to do their job when readers become angry at their very existence.

  15. Deb
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 11:07:18

    No consumer likes feeling hustled. Why not just add a link instead of whole pages?

  16. LVLMLeah
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 11:12:59

    I have a hard time reading long books. No matter how riveting, I get antsy and want to get to the end. So for me, it was actually a pleasant surprise that when I’d think gawd, I have another 100 pgs to go, I found that I was just about done.

    But then I got savvy to all the promotions at the end of ebooks and now I check the end point of book first and I’m not as pleasantly surprised anymore.

    I usually try to find out the word count on a book before downloading so that I get an idea of what I’m paying for. This helps keep me from being pissed if I do buy a book that ends at 60%.

    Unfortunately Kindle won’t post word count so I have to scrounge around other to other sites that do. And also, I’m not totally sure I can count on the word count only including the actual book and not all the extras. It’s the best I can do though.

    And to publishers and self-pubbed authors who add all that, I never read that stuff. I guess it works with enough people or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

  17. Phyllis
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 12:05:31

    It’s a lot like popping in a DVD for my preschooler that has 2 episodes of some show on it (so maybe 45 minutes of show, if you include title sequence and credits) and finding there are at least 20 minutes of ads at the beginning. Then she screams because she *wants* to watch the ads and I just want to skip them.

  18. Wahoo Suze
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 12:36:28

    Yes! I need to know when the end is near, so I can pace myself accordingly. The other night, I was reading in bed, and the book I was reading ended about 20 minutes before I was expecting it to. I wasn’t ready to sleep yet, so I started another book, and it kept me up way too late. Threw me right off, and it irked me a little bit.

    Also, the space on my reader is finite. Yes, I can put more books on the insertable chips, but really. If 10-20% (or more!) of each book is advertising, then when my reader is full, 10-20% of the space is taken up by advertising.

    So I’m not only paying for advertising when I buy the ebook, I’m paying to store the advertising.

    If I like a book, I check out the author’s website for their backlist. I read excerpts in the estore before I buy. I check out “if you like this, you’ll like that” recommendations. I don’t need big excerpts in the book itself sucking up all that space and messing with my reading rhythm.

    I wonder if the “bonus material” can self-delete after being read once, or after a designated time period, like when you borrow an ebook from the library.

  19. Liz
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 13:31:17

    Now that I know that Samhain ends at 85-90%, it doesn’t bother me (much). But I never read the excerpts.

    On the other hand, I frequently click on the “other users bought” links that Amazon now provides. I don’t impulse-buy them, but I will get samples or put them on my wish list for later.

    So that’s how I wish publishers would do their suggestive selling. It takes up 1-2 pages, max, and if done well could actually be a feature rather than an irritant.

  20. library addict
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 15:07:50

    I guess I’m used to it with the Samhain titles, but it’s still annoying.

    I don’t read the excerpts in ebooks and rarely do so in print books (unless it’s the first chapter in the next book in the series by the same author).

    I think 5-10% should be the max though.

  21. Susan Laura
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 16:08:16

    I am used to it now but when I first began reading ebooks several years ago I was often annoyed that the book would end when there was still an indication of 10-20% more content. I guess I was watching that progress bar more than I realized and felt cheated that the story I paid for ended many pages too early. I may skim the “extra” stuff at the end but it’s rare for me to see anything of interest.

  22. April V.
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 17:48:23

    I have thankfully not run accross this problem. Most of the ‘extra’ bits I’ve seen are very small, one or two page promos which are completely acceptable.

    What I don’t like is when the ebook is published at the same time as the paper and the format of the ebook is not fixed for readability. Paragraphs running together and no breaks for chapters and other silliness that makes reading difficult when it should be fun. It is pure laziness and it drives me up the wall.

    However, if I found that 50% or more of a book I had paid for was advertisements, I’d be furious. In fact, I’d probably return it with a nasty note to the publisher.

  23. Andra
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 18:50:47

    I guess I’m a bit of an odd apple, then, because this happens to me with paper books too. I check how much I have left to read by just eyeing the book and estimating how much is left and then I get a nasty surprise when the book ends before I expected. I guess there’s a lesson in here to flip/click to the end of a book first.

  24. Joy
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:04:39

    A good promotional sample should be only a few pages–enough to tease but not enough to get too far into another book. I don’t mind when a book has maybe 20 or less (4-5 short samples) promotional pages at the end, but I also don’t like when it ends WAY before I’d thought it was going to. I like to pace myself.

  25. Nikki
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:11:41

    The filler is getting up there as one of the most irritating parts of ebooks. I really dislike how publishers and authors are including a lot of filler at the beginning and ends of books. I would say Siren is probably the worst for filler at the beginning. If I am trying to figure out whether I want to purchase your book, please don’t have my sample end at your warning. I move beyond my curiosity and just refuse to purchase. Honestly, anyone who is going to illegally distribute is not going to read the warning, I don’t read it after I buy the book either!

    However, in terms of filler at the end, Samhain, for all that I love most of their books is the most irritating. I recently purchased a much awaited book at what I thought would be a decent length for the price. However, the book stopped at 80%. That means not including the filler at the beginning, I only had 75% of a story. When I looked at the price and what I got I was extremely irritated. The other issue is that they often include excerpts from the story you just finished as part of the sample. Even if you were reading in print, that is a waste of space and smacks more of someone not thinking than anything else. I would rather have no samples and more story.

    I think publishers and authors can easily include simple promo links instead. If I want more from you, I will go looking for it.

  26. Michelle McCleod
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:23:32

    Oh dear. I have a 75% story to 25% promo excerpt ratio for the novella I just released. I don’t waste time with pumped up review blurbs, just list the covers and the excerpts at the end.

    I’ll have to rethink the whole promo excerpt thing in the future.

    Please don’t hate the authors. We’re just learning all this marketing stuff as we go.

    M

  27. Kaetrin
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:48:50

    Hmm. I got what I thought was just under halfway through Lightning that Lingers and it wasn’t doing it for me so I put it down. Looks like I may have nearly finished it. :(

  28. Brian
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:51:48

    Since I’m used to Samhain’s 85-90% ending point it doesn’t bug me anywhere near as much as them setting the base font for their ePubs at 60% of full size.

    An example of a bloat book (both in extra junk and size) for me are the new releases of the old Star Wars novels I read back in the early 90′s. As an example ‘Heir to the Empire’ by Timothy Zahn is 466 ‘pages’ in ADE, but the book ends at ‘page’ 331. Additional stuff is…
    About the Author 1 page (to be expected)
    Also by 1 page (expected)
    Intro to the SW expanded universe books 2 pages
    Excerpt of the next book 17 pages
    Intro’s to the various era’s in Star Wars with a book excerpt from each era 109 pages
    SW novel timeline 2 pages

    I was OK for the most part with everything but the Intro’s to various eras with their excerpts. Then the covers they include with each excerpt are pretty large in the file size department making a 400ish page fiction novel 4.3 MB’s in size.

    I’m all for a fairly large cover image for the book itself, most aren’t large enough IMO, but I don’t need them for each excerpt, especially if they’re so large.

    I haven’t seen many complaints though so maybe the hardcore Star Wars folks are fine with the bloat. IMO it’s a waste.

  29. carly m.
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:56:43

    I really don’t mind the excerpts, as long as I know to expect them. I definitely read them — it’s how I discovered most of the Samhain authors I read. I think Samhain does a great job of including excerpts in similar genres (you just finished a cowboy contemporary — here’s more by other authors!). I don’t mind it by self-published authors either. It’s how I ended up binge reading Julie Ortolon. By novel description, only one of her books caught my eye, but the first chapter of the next book at the end of each one had me hooked and clicking buy. I think keeping the promotional materials under 10-15% is key, though.

  30. Diana Estill
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 22:07:05

    @Michelle McCleod:

    Michelle, I agree. We’re all learning as we go. I include a “bonus” story at the end of each of my humor books. I’ve always thought of that as giving more than what’s expected–in a good way. My bonus story is never more than 5% of the total eBook.

    Amazon’s formatting guidelines now include instructions for bookmarking where an author wants an eBook to open. (This prevents the sample from including a lot of front matter.) Perhaps some instructions for bookmarking where the title feature ends would be beneficial, too.

  31. Michelle McCleod
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 22:25:02

    @Diana: Yeah,I thought the excerpts would be interesting to people. I have 2 and one blurb for someone else’s book. The one for my next book is the longest. We’ll see if it’s a mistake.

    @Carly: I tell readers about the excerpts in the front matter (but put them at the end). As my current release is a novella, I also put the story word count in the blurb. Hopefully that makes it better, at least marginally.

    M

  32. SAO
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 23:21:52

    I read a mystery which didn’t adequately note the end of the story and the beginning of the sample chapter of the next book. I was really confused for a while.

    With non-fiction, I have often been fooled by the number of pages left when they are taken up with endnotes and indexes. It’s a pain to sit down to read and discover you only had a few pages left of the actual book.

    I note when digital books were first being discussed, every commentator thought they would need bonus material, like video author interviews!

  33. megara
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 01:13:08

    @Brian:

    I found the same thing when I recently read Zahn’s “Choices of One” on my kindle: the story ended at 75%. The rest of the content was (totally unnecessary, imo) era intros, with previews of way too many books & huge cover images.

    I was excited when I heard they were releasing the old Bantam SW books as ebooks (I loved the X-Wing books), but bloat + agency pricing has made me hold off on getting any more.

  34. DS
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 07:06:07

    Just before Loveswept went under Bantam decreased the number of actual story pages, increased the font size and began to add lots of previews and clutter. A friend who was running a mostly romance bookstore commented that readers were not happy with that either.

    And, authors, if I have finished a book and enjoyed it I will go looking for more of your books– just a link will do. If I didn’t enjoy it, all the samples and “bonus” material in the world won’t get me to check it out.

    I was also pottering around an author’s blog and read comments from ebook authors that they were excited about the idea of trading promos to be placed in each other’s books. That might be the cause of some of the totally unrelated stuff that is showing up. Much like trading Amazon five star reviews, they never considered what the readers might think about it.

  35. Deb
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 07:32:32

    @DS I write this as someone who hopes to be published soon: Jesus! If people are going to engage in “clever” marketing, maybe they can be clever about it?

  36. Michelle McCleod
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 08:06:12

    @DS To be fair, this has been a standard promo practice in publishing. Ebooks did not invent the excerpts at the back of the book, just generated complaints about it.

    I think the issue is one of degree.Ebooks don’t have hard limits whereas print books have increasing costs with increasing pages. There is no financial relationship to length in ebooks and I think some of us have gotten carried away.

    Posts and conversations like this are invaluable. I guarantee you, the authors packing their books to the gills with promo material have no idea how much they are turning off readers. None.

    Be patient with us, we are still learning!

    M

  37. Kristi
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 09:01:54

    Yes, it’s annoying, but no more so than Harlequin stuffing subscription cards in the middle of their books (even tearing those out makes for awkward one-handed page-turning). Paperbacks have forever stuffed extra chapters of other books at the end (sometimes two or three, which always makes me wonder why they didn’t just make the primary book a tad longer to use up the extra pages).

  38. Chicklet
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 10:08:58

    Ugh, yes. I am so sick of bloated ebooks. I just finished Come Unto These Yellow Sands by Josh Lanyon, and got stuck with over 40 pages of excerpts from a bunch of other books, including Lanyon books I’d already read and a K.A. Mitchell I’ve already purchased. Not only did the presence of such a large “extras” file throw off my enjoyment of the story itself (“Wow, this seems to be wrapping up quickly — is this another red herring? Is there another murder coming up?”), it was also thoroughly unnecessary. Ever since I read the first Adrien English mystery, my motto has been READ ALL THE JOSH LANYON, so they don’t need to sell me on his work, and I’m also exploring K.A. Mitchell just fine on my own.

    Just give me the title I bought, okay? If I like the author’s work, I know how to find it and track down samples; if I want similar works by other authors, I can find that too.

  39. Brian
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 11:04:02

    @megara:

    I was excited when I heard they were releasing the old Bantam SW books as ebooks (I loved the X-Wing books), but bloat + agency pricing has made me hold off on getting any more.

    The X-Wing books were my favorites too. Luckily our library got all the SW ebooks when they released them so I didn’t have to deal with agency pricing. I probably would have bought some (at least the X-Wing’s) if they’d been around $5-$6 which I think is about right for old backlist titles, but at $8 a pop I was happy to get them from the library.

  40. Amy
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 12:06:19

    Yes! i have that same problem. I have no problem with a page or two of the excepts but some of these are practically the whole book.

  41. Lindsey
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 13:59:06

    This would be an interesting subject for a poll if you still do them.

  42. DS
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 14:29:59

    @Deb: Yep, there was even some hints at selling promo spots in particularly popular books. My theory: don’t annoy your customers with your advertizing. And if you do intend to annoy your customer don’t plan the annoyance in public.

    I wonder what happened with the Big 6 enriched and amplified ebooks that was supposed to have multimedia added? I haven’t seen any announced since Summer 2010 when Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth was released as an Apple app with video from the Starz series. Did anyone buy this one?

  43. JenM
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 17:07:15

    In Agency published books, I don’t notice much of this. Occasionally there’s an excerpt from the author’s next book, but that’s about it. With Samhain, I quickly got used to the fact that there were always at least two or three excerpts at the end and I’ve gotten in the habit of figuring out where the actual last page is so that I can better gauge how far along I am. I agree wholeheartedly that I read differently depending on where in the book I am and I hate to be surprised by that. Thanks for the warning on Lightning that Lingers. I have the book but haven’t yet read it, so at least I’ll know to watch for that.

    I don’t really mind the inclusion of all that extra stuff, because I figure I can always ignore it, but I do hate to be surprised by the actual word count. Since Amazon refuses to include a notation on the number of locations in their Kindle book description, I appreciate it when the author includes the wordcount in their blurb.

  44. Lisa Mondello
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 18:39:33

    I do have the first chapters listed at the end of my books. But I have those chapters listed in the Table of Contents so the reader will know they’re there. The price of the book is going to be the same regardless of whether or not that content is there. I price my books far lower than the normal ebooks out there as well. I know I like a deal and when I have a series that I enjoy I like to be able to afford the entire series and know what’s coming next. But that’s just me. I don’t write novellas or short stories.

    I write full length novels and that’s what my readers get. So I really feel the reader is getting their money’s worth for the story, along with a little bonus of the first chapter of a few of my books. It’s their choice whether or not they want to read it. I just know, based on hearing from readers that contact me, that they like knowing what’s next and getting a quick peak.

    Lisa Mondello
    http://www.lisamondello.blogspot.com

  45. Debra Holland
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:37:02

    I like excerpts at the end and usually read them. Often this leads me to new books that I wouldn’t have bought if I didn’t read the excerpt.

  46. Lori Dillon
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:52:29

    Guess I’m in the minority. I like excerpts at the end as long as they’re in the same genre as the main book. It throws me off if I just finished a medieval historical and the excerpt is from an urban fantasy or a contemporary romantic suspense (even though I read those too). But I think the excerpts should be short. The opening scene or two is all I need to know if I want to read the rest of the book. I’ve found many new authors this way.

  47. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity loves Banned Books Week
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 19:33:14

    [...] Dear Author on ebook file bloat. [...]

  48. Austin Briggs
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 03:20:11

    Wow, I’ve never realized the strength of emotion about this. Personally, I’ve never cared either way and never felt cheated either with or without excerpts.

    Good warning, though. I’ve never included any into my books, and never will.

  49. Bob Mayer
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 12:39:17

    I’d recently posted a question regarding this on Kindleboards after Joe Konrath told me he doesn’t do excerpts because of reader complaints. I hadn’t gotten any, but it’s made me really reconsider putting excerpts at the end of my ebooks. Even though the reader is given a complete 100,000 word novel, I can see the problem with only feeling like you got 85-90% of what you paid for. Thanks.

  50. Jen Talty
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 12:59:10

    I have no problem with short excerpts in any book, whether it be print or eBook. I either read it, or I don’t. I do believe that any book that ends at 60% in an eReader is just ridiculous, but when it’s closer to 95%, and has a short excerpt, or information about the author, or a few short blurbs and some links, I think its just fine. I do think publishers and authors need to be aware and test to see where The End falls when adding a short excerpt and then based how long the excerpt is according.

  51. Jane
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 13:02:01

    @Jen Talty: I’m wondering if the solution is to put the excerpts in the front matter. I know with the Kindle and I think epub, you can code where the book opens which would eliminate the problem of excerpts hampering reader expectation.

    Also, (and this isn’t direct at Jeny Talty but in general) I think that you can’t assume that because trad publishers do it that it is something readers want. Readers aren’t the customer of the trad publisher. It is retailers. This may change, of course.

    Does Harlequin still put it the big card stock in the middle of their books? I haven’t seen that in a long time.

  52. Bella Swann Erotica
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 10:00:01

    I don’t put excerpts or promotional materials at the end of my books either because I want readers to have an accurate understanding of the length of the story they are reading. I have a half-page that lists the names of other books I have written but that’s all. If readers like my books, they are easily able to find others I have written from the same place they found the one they are currently reading.

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