Kindle Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was wondering if anyone else has had the issues I am encountering and have any insight.  I just tried to read two samples and had problems with both.  The first, downloaded tonight, was Rick Warren's new book "The Purpose of Christmas".  After several pages of intro, etc. etc., there was not even a single page from the book!  How on earth can you decide if you want to purchase or not?  The other sample that I downloaded quite some time ago was a Karen Kingsbury book.  She is known for her lengthy dedications and other bits of intro but when I got to the first chapter, there was only a few pages of the story to read.  Have also encountered this previously with other authors.  Has anyone had this experience and is there anything that can be done?  Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,897 Posts
I have had a couple like this in the 6 months I've had my Kindle.  The more the publishing company or the author think of themselves, the more "stuff" you get at the beginning and the less sample.  I just had one this week with only one page of the book itself.  Too bad.  No sale.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,209 Posts
I haven't done a lot of sample.  I still have a long list of things I know I want to read. 

I do remember reading a lot of complaints about this problem on some of the other boards.  There's not really anything you can do about it.  Some samples are good and others are bad.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,879 Posts
Sample lengths tend to vary quite a bit. I have had a couple that I had 2-3 chapters and one that only had the table of contents and the maybe 2 pages worth of the first chapter.  I read somewhere, possibly on this board, that sample contain about 10% content. Don't know if this is true or not. I don't always use the sample to see if I like the book, mostly I want to make sure that the formatting is good. I have had several samples that were so hard to read that it wouldn't have mattered if it was a good story or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Angela said:
Sample lengths tend to vary quite a bit. I have had a couple that I had 2-3 chapters and one that only had the table of contents and the maybe 2 pages worth of the first chapter. I read somewhere, possibly on this board, that sample contain about 10% content. Don't know if this is true or not. I don't always use the sample to see if I like the book, mostly I want to make sure that the formatting is good. I have had several samples that were so hard to read that it wouldn't have mattered if it was a good story or not.
I second what she said ^

Marci
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,280 Posts
If a person self-publishes, using the DTP tools at Amazon, I was told that the sample is automatically generated from the first 10% of the book (samples at Mobipocket are the first 5%). I would assume that even with big publishing companies, the same rule of thumb holds true. The longer the book, the longer the sample will be which means you have more of a chance of getting some substantive content. But, a shorter book (say, 100 pages)...10% would be just 10 pages so it makes sense that you might not get much more beyond the table of contents, dedication, etc.

I've had a few where that has happened and like you said, no sale for me!

L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,848 Posts
Angela said:
mostly I want to make sure that the formatting is good. I have had several samples that were so hard to read that it wouldn't have mattered if it was a good story or not.
Angela, that is such a great tip. I never would have thought of that, and since samples are free, that's a great extra step to take to save time later if there would be a problem. Thank you very much.
debbie
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,280 Posts
drenee said:
Angela, that is such a great tip. I never would have thought of that, and since samples are free, that's a great extra step to take to save time later if there would be a problem. Thank you very much.
debbie
Yes, that's a really great idea. It also let's you find out if the book is in Topaz format, which sometimes is not very readable.

L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for your input, everyone.

Leslie:  That's an explanation that makes perfect sense to me- was just frustrated about the Rick Warren book because I'm not entirely sure I agree with his theology.  Was hoping to get a clue before I purchased- will decline at this point.

Funny how we all have different things that are important to us:  I couldn't care less about formatting- I overlook it and just concentrate on content and it is really important to some.....we all make the world go 'round, eh?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
67,325 Posts
I think, though, that it would not be a bad idea to let Amazon know that the sample wasn't helpful.  There's one of the after market Kindle user guides that I got a sample of.  I was on some other Kindle community (sorry, it was before I saw the light) and someone had complained that the sample wasn't helpful as it ended at the ToC.  The writer was on the board/list and said, "I can fix that" and he got onto Amazon and had them make the sample bigger so it covered at least the first chapter.  Of course, he was an indie guy; he'd just let them set it at the default initially, but was able to tell them to change it.  Anyway, if they (Amazon) get enough requests/notices/complaints about a given book, perhaps they can alert the publisher -- especially if the lack of a good sample causes us to decline to purchase.

Ann
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
I recently downloaded a book that for every (") a letter A or a @ was in its place. I couldn't read the book because every piece of dialog had this and it was way too distracting. So I now always download a sample to check formatting and to see if I like it. I have had a few samples with pages of complete tripe i.e. dedications etc... And only a few pages of content. I just pass those by.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
The worst one I ever tried had paged and pages where the author gushed about his family (each and every one) and why it was safe to do so, as they didn't read the dedications anymore.  Then the copyright pages and the table of contents started.  I say started, as the TOC was cut off about half way thru - that was the end of the sample. Not one single page of the book itself and not even a complete idea of the contents (not a novel, so this was actually important). The only clue as the the person's writing style, and in a format/forum no related to the book itself, was the dedication, which I stopped reading after the first few paragraphs, as it was so annoying.

Samples like this hurt sales, they don't help them. The sooner authors figure that out, the more they'll sell.  Of course, maybe the book was so bad, the publisher was afraid to let you read the first few pages....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,087 Posts
qotdr said:
I recently downloaded a book that for every (") a letter A or a @ was in its place. I couldn't read the book because every piece of dialog had this and it was way too distracting.
I hope you emailed Amazon customer service about it. They have pulled and fixed two books that I complained about because of weird characters.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,087 Posts
Leslie said:
Yes, that's a really great idea. It also let's you find out if the book is in Topaz format, which sometimes is not very readable.

L
Leslie, I always check samples before I purchase, and I've noticed that either the Topaz process is getting refined, or people are getting more savvy on how to use it. I've ended up buying half a dozen books in the last two months that were Topaz an looked just fine, indistinguishable from 'normal' format except for fancy letters at the beginning of chapter, etc.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
426 Posts
I've had this happen with a couple of samples.  The first had no text from the book, but I bought it anyway because you wicked book pushers said it was good LOL  (The Princess Bride).  And the second resulted in a no sale but I did make a note on my PDA to go check it out at the local Borders (then come back here to buy it if I like it).

The only books I've had formatting problems with were ones that I probably tortured too much converting.  ;D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
One I downloaded a sample of The Mists of Avalon. The sample was longer than most books. I think if I had actually bought the book there wouldn't have been enough screen space for all the dots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,879 Posts
drenee said:
Angela, that is such a great tip. I never would have thought of that, and since samples are free, that's a great extra step to take to save time later if there would be a problem. Thank you very much.
debbie
You are welcome, Debbie.

...and as an added note, whenever I do come across a sample that is unreadable, I report it to Amazon and I also post a review on the book warning about the formatting and advising they check out a sample first before purchasing to ensure they are able to read it or to see if the formatting has been corrected.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top