RyFT Brand and the Case of the Ebook Sampling Mystery

Magni_GlassOn one bright and beautiful day a potential buyer, let’s call her Patty, enters her brick and mortar book store and wanders the aisles until a book spine catches her eye. Patty picks the book up, scans the cover, flips it over and reads the copy. Now, if she’s still interested she opens to the first chapter (she may scan the contents, but never, never, never the introduction, preface, or prologue) and begins to read. Normally the first paragraph at least, perhaps a bit more. At this point if Patty is enjoying what she’s reading, she takes it up to the sales counter and—cha-ching—sale completed.

This is a stereotypical and well understood process and yet so many publishers forget or ignore this when publishing an Ebook. Do they think the process of shopping for an Ebook is different from shopping for any other kind of book? A store is a store, whether made of bricks or bits of data, we’re the same customers and shop the same way.

Let’s pretend I’m looking for a something new to read on my Kindle, but don’t really know what I want. I go to the Kindle store and browse the ‘aisles’ via recommendations or ‘books like’ or lists. When a cover jumps out at me, I read the copy in the details section and, if I’m still interested, I download the free sample. Only the sample I’ve downloaded ends right after the introduction. The sample doesn’t include a single word of prose so guess what? Yup, Delete Sample! Potential sale lost all because the publisher didn’t think to include any actual content in their sample. Dumb, isn’t it?

So why do they make such a simple mistake? No idea. The big publishers still don’t seem to get ebooks (or perhaps refuse spitefully to get ebooks, but I’m only guessing). Most times the big five fail to price point ebooks correctly; they make the point unfairly high. Maybe they’re expecting ebooks to help cover the higher overhead costs of their paper books. They also often fail to include the ebook copy in the purchase of the paper version; yet another sales and pricing faux pas, but one that I’ll set aside for a future post.

But there are many small publishers and self publishing authors who make this same mistake. Maybe they’re afraid of giving too much away. I can’t imagine PB choosing against making a purchase because she was given too large a sample (unless you know that your story falls apart after the first bit and that you should fix anyway). I can clearly imagine PB choosing against making a purchase because she was given too small a sample. Personally I always give as large a sample as allowed by my distributor. Each and every PB represents a golden opportunity because PB can quickly become PR (potential reader) and gaining readers who can become dedicated fans is a golden opportunity, one that should not be taken lightly. Heck, as for me, I’d invite PB over, make her a pot of tea and massage her shoulders while she reads all but the last chapter of my book in hopes that she might be willing to hand me a couple of bucks to get to the end. I love my readers, both current and potential, and want to provide them every possible opportunity to sample my wares. If PB can sit at the in-store café with a cup of tea and read half of my book, then I want her experience at the virtual store to be equally enjoyable.

And while I’m on the topic of free story samples…

 Three For Free

In case you haven’t noticed, or don’t receive my amusing and unobtrusive newsletter (and why not, it’s fun, it’s free, and it’s quick—just fill out the little blue box to your left), over the last two weeks I’ve released three (you heard correctly, three) Jazz Monster Collector episodes.

The new stories are numbers twelve, thirteen, and fourteen and represent the first three parts of the four episode revenge cycle. And the good news doesn’t stop there, next week I’ll be releasing Jazz Episode Fifteen, Down with the Clowns, the final installment of the revenge cycle. Just click the little covers below to go to each episode’s Smashwords page. Ohh, you’re going to like these…

Jazz Episode 12

Jazz Episode 12

Jazz Episode 13

Jazz Episode 13

Jazz Episode 14

Jazz Episode 14


One Response to “RyFT Brand and the Case of the Ebook Sampling Mystery”

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