Originally Posted by ereadingdotcom
"If the author can't be bothered to let me flip through a few pages before buying, I can find other authors who are more accommodating."
I'm not sure what the minimum percentage is for a preview at Smashwords. Certainly, as an author myself I would want to provide readers with as much of a preview as possible without giving away the store, so to speak.
Minimum percentage at Smashwords is zero. Some authors have their books set to no preview. Common is about 20%; this is fine for novels and most novellas; for short stories, 35 or 40% may be necessary to show any content, because SW calculates percentage based on "pages" in its viewer--so a separate title page, copyright page, TOC, are 3 pages; if the story is 3000 words long, the front matter can fill up the 20% preview.
I prefer previews of 50% or more, even on longer works; that lets me know the author trusts that anyone who read that far will want to read the rest. There's no reason to stick to a tiny percentage sample; it's not like an excerpt in a magazine where it costs more to distribute a longer one. A 50% or 75% preview on novels is worth downloading to my ereader to check out later; I might not bother with a shorter preview, so if I don't have time to read it when I first run across it, I may forget about it.
SW has a "library" feature for "put these books in a list I can check out later," but there's no sorting it, no way to note a difference between "I might want to buy this" vs "I want to remember to tell my friend I saw a book she might like" vs "I need to blog about how awful this cover is." And the library list is shown all in one column, sorted by order added; there's no way to arrange them alphabetically by author or filter by genre.