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Chapters for Sale

Random House is going to start selling select chapters of popular books to determine potential sales. The first book is going to be “Make It Stick” which was released on January 2nd, 2008. They are going to sell each chapter for $2.99 which also includes the epilogue.

My first thought is that this would be a good alternative to driving down to the book store to thumb through a book to determine if I want to buy it.   I would have to deal with traffic, parking, fuel cost… The question is will readers pay $2.99?

Via Reuters

Ned Litte

is Jane's long suffering husband who enjoys high fantasy novels and the occasional romance that Jane disguises as a fantasy book. He is also the photographer and artist of the multimedia reviews here at Dear Author.


  1. Ann Bruce
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 16:45:39

    They’re charging for a preview?!? IMO, this tactic is the equivalent of charging for movie previews/commercials.

    If a paperback is USD$5-8, would you pay $3 for ONE chapter?

  2. Jayne
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 17:12:04

    The question is will readers pay $2.99?

    My answer is hell no.

  3. Kitten
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 17:43:45

    Yeah, I have to agree with the ‘hell no’ answer. The difference between this and visiting the book store (with fuel costs, etc) is that when at the book store, I can sample a great deal many more books’ first chapters. At $2.99, I expect nearly a full book, not a chapter.

  4. Shannon Stacey
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 17:48:43

    I’d go with hell no, too. That’s what excerpts are for.

    But if they’re using it to determine potential sales, does that mean if only a handful of readers want to pay the read an excerpt, they’ll determine the book won’t sell and pull it? On the flip side, if it’s a “popular book”, don’t they already have an idea if it will sell?

    Maybe not my place to second guess Random House, but that’s just stupid.

  5. LinM
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 17:56:07

    In the old days (2007), if an eBook was only available in Mobipocket DRM format, the publisher was Penguin. Starting at the beginning of 2008, RandomHouse joined Penguin as a witless eBook publisher – a significant portion of their eBooks are only available as DRM’d Mobi. Who knew that they could sink even lower? $2.99 for a chapter? – I’m not even remotely interested.

  6. Susan G
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 17:57:55

    Wow – it’s no wonder the publishing industry is doing poorly if this is their idea of innovation. Incredibly stupid – no way would I buy ONE chapter for $2.99. They should be paying me to take the time to read the sample chapter and let them know if I’d be interested enough to buy the entire book. Ooooh, I think I just found my ideal job . . . . .

  7. whey
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 18:11:26

    It seems like it might be an attractive alternative for stand-alone chapters (non-fiction, tech, self-help, anthologies), and/or if the total for buying all chapters is not more than buying the book in whole (lots of tech books are $20+). It sounds like an iTunes model.

    I don’t think this model works for a story (that relies on previous and future chapters) or for mass market paperbacks (that are usually less than $8 a book).

  8. (Jān)
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 18:26:38

    I’m with Jayne. Why should we pay for their promotions?

  9. Cynthia
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 20:58:25

    What SusanG said – This is innovation???

    Put me in the “hell no” column

  10. Keishon
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 22:28:36

    The question is will readers pay $2.99?

    Are they crazy?

  11. Catherine
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 23:44:51

    Crazy intrigues me so I went to the Random House website to check it out.

    The entire ebook is $17.95. If you buy it a chapter at a time it’s $20.93 (6 chapters plus an epilogue). So, you pay a little extra if you make it to the end. But, you could potentially save money if you discover it’s a wallbanger halfway through.

    You can read the book’s entire introduction for free here. It prompted me to request the book at the library – I only buy non-DRM ebooks.

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