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Hey Folks,

My thoughts have turned toward samples today. After reading a book description to you pounce right in and buy the book, or do you taste it first with a sample before you decide?

 

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I rarely sample.  I buy based on posts here on KindleBoards, by members and by authors.  If I find someone interesting in their posts here, I'll consider their books.

Betsy
 

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Toby said:
Samples unless it's in the kindle deals for $3.00 or less & then I might read the sample 1st.
I usually read the samples unless it's an author I recognize. I have read samples that absolutely convinced me I did NOT want to read the book, and then I've read some by unknown authors that made me buy it. I think samples are great!
 

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I always get the sample even if I'm 100% set on buying the book.  Because why not? :)
 

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If it's free then I never get a sample obviously. If it's a must have like Boyd Morrison then it's an immediate buy. If it's anyone else I get the sample and decide if I will spend whatever the asking price is.
 

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Always sample unless it's the next book in a series I know I'll be buying. In fact, I hate that they removed samples for freebies - even if it's free, I want to sample it before I commit to adding it to my library. I even wish there were samples for pre-orders or that I could pre-order a sample. I almost never pre-order now because I want to check out the sample first.
 

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I've never read a sample. I just don't like to read part way into a book and then have to decide whether or not to buy it. I can't tell you how many times I've started reading what seems like a lousy book just to have it turn into something really good a couple of chapters later. That works the other way around sometimes, too, but at least not as often.
 

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7vn11vn said:
I've never read a sample. I just don't like to read part way into a book and then have to decide whether or not to buy it. I can't tell you how many times I've started reading what seems like a lousy book just to have it turn into something really good a couple of chapters later. That works the other way around sometimes, too, but at least not as often.
This. I never did more than read the blurbs I bought on paper books; I do the same with ebooks.

Brooks said:
I always get the sample even if I'm 100% set on buying the book. Because why not? :)
Because I find that I just download a bunch of samples and never look at them... It's good that they are there for the people who want them, but I don't use them. It hasn't bothered me yet.

Betsy
 

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Sheldon said:
One of my favorite things about my kindle is the ability to sample before purchase!
Same here. I even read a portion of any freebie I'm interested in before downloading. No matter how interesting the blurb is, the style of writing, there are factors that I can only tell from sampling which determine whether a story will be able to hold me enthralled for 300+ pages. There have been a few times when I've bought on impulse without sampling (because it was a deal) that I ended up not finishing the book - not because it was really bad, but just because I'm very particular about how something is written.
 

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I honestly only sample when I see a book I want to check out more fully but don't have time. . . .it's a sort of wish list system. . .because it used to be much more difficult to put a book ON a wish list from the Kindle.  So, for example, if I'm reading the Washington Post and there's a book review and I think the book looks interesting, I can pop over and quickly get a sample -- mostly so I remember that it struck me in the first place -- and then later go and look at it more thoroughly.

I will say, that the new functionality of being able to sync up the book purchased with the end of the sample is a great improvement for those who do read samples.  I guess I don't because I have so many whole books to read.  But, occasionally, if I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for next, I may go to one of the relatively few samples I have.  If I still want to read it by the end, I just buy it.

 

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7vn11vn said:
I've never read a sample. I just don't like to read part way into a book and then have to decide whether or not to buy it. I can't tell you how many times I've started reading what seems like a lousy book just to have it turn into something really good a couple of chapters later.
I've never had that happen to me - sometimes, my opinion will slightly improve in the second half but not significantly and certainly not in only the last couple chapters. But even if I did experience that, it still wouldn't be worth it to me - if I didn't enjoy reading most of the book, only the last couple chapters, I don't consider it worth my time. Two chapters? That's maybe 10-15% of the book that I enjoyed. Overall, that would still be a dud for me.

Sometimes, it may take me some time to really get into the book - the beginning might seem slow or dull but then wind up being incredible once it finally gets going. But what I look for in the sample is not the "hook" but good quality of writing and prose. You know - good vocabulary, good sentence structure and grammar, realistic sounding dialogue and narrative. These are things that don't really improve much from the start to end of a book. I am not necessarily looking for a book to immediately draw me in and think "wow this is amazing" within the first few pages. I just want to make sure I haven't pick up something that sounds like it was written by a 10 year old and I don't think this is something that drastically changes over the course of the book.

N. Gemini Sasson said:
Same here. I even read a portion of any freebie I'm interested in before downloading.
I'm guessing you use the "Look Inside" feature? I suppose I could use that, though it's not available on all books and it means reading the sample on my PC rather than my Kindle.
 

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history_lover said:
I've never had that happen to me - sometimes, my opinion will slightly improve in the second half but not significantly and certainly not in only the last couple chapters. But even if I did experience that, it still wouldn't be worth it to me - if I didn't enjoy reading most of the book, only the last couple chapters, I don't consider it worth my time. Two chapters? That's maybe 10-15% of the book that I enjoyed. Overall, that would still be a dud for me.

Sometimes, it may take me some time to really get into the book - the beginning might seem slow or dull but then wind up being incredible once it finally gets going. But what I look for in the sample is not the "hook" but good quality of writing and prose. You know - good vocabulary, good sentence structure and grammar, realistic sounding dialogue and narrative. These are things that don't really improve much from the start to end of a book. I am not necessarily looking for a book to immediately draw me in and think "wow this is amazing" within the first few pages. I just want to make sure I haven't pick up something that sounds like it was written by a 10 year old and I don't think this is something that drastically changes over the course of the book.

I'm guessing you use the "Look Inside" feature? I suppose I could use that, though it's not available on all books and it means reading the sample on my PC rather than my Kindle.
I agree.

And yet. . . . . a while back I'd gotten a book based on having read the sample. Not sure why I had the sample, but I did and I read it and thought, "hey, this isn't bad, I could buy this book." So I did. I hadn't even finished reading the sample before buying.

And, you know, about 3 pages after the 'sample' ended, the writing took a turn for the worse. It's like they only edited or proofed the first 10 percent. The 'sample' was very clean; after that there were frequent typos, formatting issues, usage errors, grammar problems, etc.

I realize this is probably the exception that proves the rule! That's actually a book I returned for credit. And called Amazon's attention to the lack of attention to detail after the first 10%.
 

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I kept a collection of them on my K3 as kind of a to be read less.

I didn't back those up when moving to my Paperwhite so I lost those.  I haven't got around to making a new one yet as I've just bought a bunch of books I knew I'd like (favorite authors, continuations of series etc.) lately, as well as taking some chances on cheap things.  So I've got 10-15 unread books to keep me busy for a good while.

I'll eventually get back in the habit of grabbing samples of things that look interesting though, as it is a handy way to have a "look into this more" list and a bunch of samples to read through when trying to find something new to read once my backlog is read down.
 

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97% of the time I go by the description and the reviews and just buy it. Once in a while I may get a sample if there are no reviews or the reviews are very suspicious (family and friends). I find that samples can also be misleading. Many books are slow for the first chapter or two, but then really pick up, o else they start with a bang and then die. I would rather go by peoples reviews.

Steve
 

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stevene9 said:
97% of the time I go by the description and the reviews and just buy it. Once in a while I may get a sample if there are no reviews or the reviews are very suspicious (family and friends). I find that samples can also be misleading. Many books are slow for the first chapter or two, but then really pick up, o else they start with a bang and then die. I would rather go by peoples reviews.

Steve
Everybody has their own vetting process that works for them. I'm like steve, although I also fold in interaction with the author here on KB. Others use samples. One way isn't better than another in general; if it works for you, it works. As has been posted in this thread, samples can be misleading.

My vetting process is kind of like this:

have I read the author before and liked his or her writing? Yes -> buy the book if it's under my price point. Over my price point -> put on wish list.

Unknown author, genre and blur are interesting -> Over say, 50 reviews, over 4-star average, under my price point for an unkown author, buy. Fewer than 50 reviews? Has to be well over 4-stars and well under my price point. Or free.

KB author -> are the author's posts here interesting and well-written? Yes-> low numbers but well-reviewed and they don't seem to be from family members or sock puppet? -> Under my price point, buy.

Now grant you, I don't have a flow chart that I follow; it's just sort of a gut reaction. Occasionally I get a loser, but it works for me; I don't want it to be hard work to find a book to read. It's worth it to me to have an occasional loser in order to have finding books be a more free experience.

Betsy
 

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Nearly always. The only time I don't is if I've read that author's books (especially in a series) and know I want the next one for sure. The next Foreigner book from C.J. Cherryh, the next Discworld book from Terry Pratchett, sure. I recently bought the next Wool book without bothering to sample, and I'm sure I'll read the next Hal Spacejock book without sampling.
 
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