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Old 07-30-2011, 03:41 PM   #1
PeterT
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Free Previews --- Why Bother!

I just downloaded to the Kobo Desktop the free previews of two books by Marc Strange; Body Blows and Follow Me Down. This is after, many month ago, buying Sucker Punch by the same author.

Body Blows has a missing graphic on the cover page, and a grand total of 10 pages
  • the aforementioned cover page
  • a page with just the title
  • a title page
  • three copyright pages
  • a dedication page
  • two pages of contents
  • an acknowledgement page!

How on earth am I meant to get a feel for a book from this type of preview!

At least Follow Me Down is a bit better
  • four pages comprising cover image and and other book front matter
  • eight pages of contents
  • a page of Author's Notes
  • a single Preface page
  • Nine pages of Chapter 1
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:11 PM   #2
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I agree. I've even tried a couple and didn't get any content pages at all - just title page, dedication, other books by author, copyright pages and that's it. It's impossible to judge a book with no content.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:12 PM   #3
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While I've noticed that the preview amount varies from book to book. I would say based on my experience you have about a one in ten chance of seeing something like a full chapter. And, if you don't have an opening chapter it is a pretty useless tool for making buying assessments, at least for me.

On the other hand, they have come a long way since they first got their bookstore started so hopefully this will be addressed.
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:56 PM   #4
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If it varies quite a bit from book to book then I wonder if it is up to the publisher to decide what is included in the sample? It seems to me that two things are very helpful in choosing a book based on a sample thereof: one, does it have a decent TOC (though this is probably more important for non-fiction), and two, how well written is the first chapter.

I've been very interested in books after reading their supposed content description but then looked at the TOC in the sample and realized the content of the book was not what I initially thought it would be. The total lack of a TOC is often a turn off too as it makes navigation a major pain.

Perhaps if they required a sample to contain the TOC and at least ten pages of the first chapter one could better decide whether to purchase or not.

Maybe they should look at how Amazon does samples as I've never encountered one of their samples that didn't have at least several pages of text to preview.
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:56 PM   #5
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I've stopped even looking at samples - IMO they are a complete waste of time. A large number of the samples I have attempted to view haven't had any content. The final straw for me was a "sample" which consisted of 15 pages and 6 of them were blank!
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:17 PM   #6
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Most previews I've seen have had at least a couple of pages or even a whole chapter so far, although I have had a couple that were just chapter titles. If they don't want to give me at least a small sample I am not going to bother buying their book.

To my surprise, I was just looking at the preview for the Michael Connelly Lincoln Lawyer bundle and there was 6 whole chapters there!
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:37 PM   #7
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There is no question that previews under Amazon work as expected and at Kobo simply do not. Kobo offers lots of value and a very strong platform ... but there are areas of improvement open in the bookstore end of things. Reader reviews, improved search controls, recommendation engine ... Amazon will hold this lead for the foreseeable future.
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:48 PM   #8
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I wonder if the reason the previews are so bad is related to the reason that GO TO never really worked right for Chapters, but worked just fine for pages within chapters. In the world of Kobo/Kepub, all sorts of things are Chapters that are not, in fact, Chapters of books. So, for example, when using my Kobo Wifi, I wanted to use GO TO to get to Chapter 3, I would end up at the third thing Kobo saw as a chapter, which was probably the TOC,or an image, or Chapter 1--you get my drift. I am willing to bet that whatever way they determine what we get as a preview is counting differently than we do as readers.

I use the previews as my wish list.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:03 AM   #9
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I never used Goto for skipping chapters! I always just went to the Table of Contents
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:02 PM   #10
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It tends to be the publisher (or the author, in cases of books published through Smashwords) that dictates how much of a book is going to be available as a preview. The Kobo store really doesn't get a vote.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:11 PM   #11
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Each book's preview is determined by the publisher.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:47 PM   #12
PeterT
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Interesting then that in the case of Follow Me Down, the Kindle US preview is for the exact same ISBN but goes to the what the index calls "Day One - Monday, October 11" / "Three" while the Kobo preview goes as far as the end of just "Day One - Monday, October 11".

Unfortunately, Amazon does not have the other Marc Strange available in eBook format.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
Interesting then that in the case of Follow Me Down, the Kindle US preview is for the exact same ISBN but goes to the what the index calls "Day One - Monday, October 11" / "Three" while the Kobo preview goes as far as the end of just "Day One - Monday, October 11".

Unfortunately, Amazon does not have the other Marc Strange available in eBook format.
You could always try hitting Google Books and see what you can find.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:46 PM   #14
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Well... Body Blows has 68 pages on Books.google.com. Follow me down is not available on Google. And the book I own Sucker Punch has 64 pages.

I suppose I would just like to see some consistency between the various eBook offering firms as to what IS available.
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