BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ebook Rant






Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen me tweet over the weekend about ebooks being too short. I was not happy.

I recently downloaded some freebies from Amazon for my Kindle. It's a damn good thing both were freebies or I'd have been demanding a refund from Amazon. Both books were new releases, and both were clearly indicated as being short stories. Neither book blurb mentioned that there were excerpts. One was from a Big Six publisher and one was self-pubbed.

So, I'm reading the first one, not loving it but enjoying. It was part of a series I stopped reading a few years ago and picked it up to see if I should give the series another try. As I said, I enjoyed it but didn't love it, I doubt I'll go back to the series. The story concluded (and it was REALLY short) and I looked at the percentage; it was only at 48%. Yes, the story was less than half the book! The remainder of the book was two excerpts, and some info about the author. W. T. F? The book blurb made no mention of excerpts so I was completely unprepared. And annoyed. And pissed. And upset. I ranted on both twitter and facebook.

Yesterday I decided to read the self-pubbed short story. This one was longer at 74% but again, it ended without warning and there were excerpts from two books by the author. Again, the book blurb failed to indicate that there would be excerpts.

I don't mind excerpts; often I enjoy them. I know some folks consider them advertising. Normally I don't but these two books, especially the 48% one? Yeah, I feel gypped. If the blurbs had said "contains excerpts from other books" I wouldn't be so upset. I'd have known, I'd have been prepared and neither story would have felt like it ended so abruptly. Okay, I'd probably still have been annoyed at the 48% because that's just wrong. That "book" was basically one extended advertisement. I really hope this isn't a new trend, super short stories and surprise excerpts, cuz it absolutely sucks. Basically, we the readers are being cheated. The only good thing is that they were free.

Contrast these ebooks with ones from Samhain and Loveswept. Their books contain excerpts but the blurbs say that so you're forewarned. My complaint with those books is that you don't know when or where they end so sometimes when the story ends it feels abrupt. I've learned to anticipate one of those books ending somewhere between 70 and 80%; sometimes they're a little longer.

So, authors and publishers, please, PLEASE, if you have any respect, or heck, love, for your readers, always note when an ebook contains excerpts. Also, if a short story is particularly short, note that too.

What do you think? Should blurbs mentions that the book contains excerpts? Has this happened with full length books? Have you ever bought an ebook where the story, the reason you bought the book, was less than half of the material in the book? Am I just freaking nuts?

ETA: Author Krista D Ball, whom I often chat with on twitter and whose books often appear on here, sent me a link on twitter and asked how I felt about that book blurb. It's freaking perfect, is what it is!

Also contains a sneak preview of Ball's new novel, Road to Hell.
*Spirits Rising is a novella approximately 80 pages long, or about 25,000 words. The chapter sample at the end is approximately an additional 8 pages.

Here's the link, if you want to see for yourself - http://www.amazon.com/Spirits-Rising-Spirit-Caller-ebook/dp/B006T88RNE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349216801&sr=8-1&keywords=spirits+rising Now, that wasn't difficult, why can't all authors and publishers do this? 

14 comments:

  1. For me it was a free download of a book, and I read it for 78 pages and bam it said buy the book. it was a sample or long ass excerpt..It didn't say sample or anything..grrr

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  2. Ooooo, I haven't had that happen. False advertising!

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  3. Books that do this guarantee that I will NOT be reading the excerpts.

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  4. That's one of the issues with ebooks; you can't riffle through the pages to see if the whole thing is that book or if the last 50 are excerpts, reviews, adverts for other stuff, or even footnotes.

    It makes me think that if ever I do manage to get to the "all by myself" publication stage, I'll want a clause in my contracts that says "any electronic or audio publication will warn on the title page what percentage of the publication is this story/book, & what percentage is other things." I won't object to their being there, the publisher does need to advertise, but I want the reader to know what they're getting before they shell out.

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    1. Exactly! With a print book if you're buying it in a brick and mortar store or other physical location (library sale, yard sale, etc) you can flip through and see what you're getting plus print book usually trumpet the fact that there's an excerpt. So why do authors and publishers fail to understand that ebook buyers want to know what they're getting?

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  5. I have been noticing more and more books that sound great are very short. I almost bought one after reading the synopsis, it was right up my alley, and the cost looked reasonable - then I looked further and saw it was 29 pages estimated. I am sorry, but $2.99 for 29 pages? o_O

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    1. Yeah, that's too much for only 29 pages. I understand that authors and publishers need to make money but ripping off the readers, who are also the consumers, is bad PR and bad business.

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  6. I have to agree with you, but this has happened to me with traditional published authors too. I'll download it and read and suddenly hit the end, which isn't an end so I go back to the beginning where somewhere it mentions it's only an excerpt and I never noticed.

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    1. The 48% ebook was a tradition publisher, one of the Big 6 in NY. And if your book's blurb failed to say it was an excerpt, that was false advertising. You shouldn't have to purchase it in order to find out that it's an excerpt.

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  7. I have had this happen with amazon. They story is great and then all of a sudden it's done.Nor more story, just it tell me to buy the whole book. It's very irritating...

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    1. I've rarely had problems with print books, but ebooks. Well, it's a free for all and I hate it. I enjoy ebooks but I don't enjoy being taken advantage of.

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  8. I'm not against short stories, and by the time you have added a contents page, the obligatory legalese, title page etc then that is always going to skew the page count of a shorter work. That I can forgive and I can't really see away around.

    What is off is misrepresentation - misleading the reader by including undisclosed content they may not want and certainly haven't paid for. By all means include excerpts, but be sure to put a true word/page count in the description (even 'novella' isn't sufficient when they can vary in length so much).

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  9. I don't mind if there are lots of excerpts and other materials in a book -- as long as the story itself is what is advertised. I do like to see a word count in the description. (Page count doesn't help because paper books vary from 200 - 800 words per page. Also if it's Amazon doing the estimating, that will include the excerpts and extras.)

    However, I don't go by the progress bar at the bottom of the page. I read enough collections that it throws me off anyway. I do wish more publishers would use word counts to help readers know what they're getting.

    BTW - maybe I'm weird, but if I like a book or series, I'll buy a book FOR the extras, the same way I'd buy a special edition. But even there, to get my interest, they should mention that it's there.

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  10. I'm totally with you, we need to know what to expect! It's always one of the weird things with any ebook, that odd sense of not really knowing where you are in the pages. I've had the same thing happen with full length books, where they have excepts from other books at the end, or glossaries I didn't know about I really wish I had, so I have that same feeling that the book suddenly ends when I didn't expect it to because I knew there were a lot more pages showing on the reader. This is something that publishers really need to adapt to, they have to provide tables of content, simply providing word counts like many ebooks sites have done for years just isn't going to work anymore now that so much more than just a simple story is being included in so many publications.

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