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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Try Before You Buy... For Books



Having my Kindle has really changed the way I read - and not only because having easily-adjustable fonts is helping me to read avidly again the way that I did before my eyesight went wrong.

I'm talking about the free samples of novels that are available to download from the Kindle store.

Previously, I'd have to decide whether I was likely to enjoy a book based mostly on friends' recommendations or quickly scanning the back cover. I was a library addict as a child, so there wasn't much expense attached to not liking a book, but it did involve waiting to go to the library again, so I'd almost invariably read everything I borrowed, cover to cover.

I find I'm much more fickle now. I'll start reading a book on the Kindle, and if I'm not drawn in by the time I hit the end of the free sample (typically around 10%), then I'll just delete the sample and download something else. I know, I know. There could be some really good books that start slowly - and if someone gives me a really glowing recommendation then I still might take a chance. But ultimately, a tenth of the book is probably going to be enough for me to tell whether I get along with the author's style. And there are so many great books out there that it seems a shame to waste precious time on reading the mediocre ones!

What do you think? If you're also a Kindle addict, have you developed this habit? And did you know that you can install Amazon's Kindle application on your computer and benefit from the free samples even if you don't have a Kindle?

22 comments:

rosaria said...

How do we get Kindle application on the computer?

SilverNeurotic said...

I just got a kindle for Christmas, but so far I only bought one book and did not take advantage of the free sample.

Unfortunately (or, fortunately-however you look at it) I have a massive stack of regular books to read before I can shift more fully into building my Kindle library...but once I do that, I am definitely planning on taking advantage of the samples. I really hate spending money on a book that I don't enjoy.

Drew said...

I love the samples on the Kindle! I do the exact same thing as you, if it doesn't grab me by the time the sample is over, chances are I'm not going to enjoy it.

J. Rosemary Moss said...

I love my Kindle, but I don't use the sample portion as much as I thought I would. That's mostly due to the recommendations of family and friends and Goodreads, I suppose. I usually trust those recs!

That said, it's a nice feature for books that haven't come to the attention of my family, friends, or Goodreads groups.

purplume said...

I don't have a kindle -- yet! I was hoping it will be easier on the eyes. I'm glad to hear that.
I downloaded the kindle on my computer, but haven't used it yet. Can I buy e-books through kindle and read them on my computer? I thought I may as well start getting all my books that way.

purplume said...

oh yes, also, I say if a book doesn't grab you by the end of the sample, well, then life is too short with so many other books to read.

Jim Murdoch said...

What I’m using my Kindle for at the moment is uploading my current WIP so I can read it and see how it feels as a real book rather than wasting a fortune printing out hardcopies. But I have discovered a serious problem: hanging indents. It doesn’t like them. Oh, it’ll do them but since it doesn’t like tabs it doesn’t do them right which is a real problem because there are several chat logs in this book and they simply do not look right and I haven’t figured out how to fix them because the Kindle doesn’t like tables either which would have been an obvious and easy solution.

I’ve not tried any sample chapters yet quite simply because I have too much to read already without tempting myself with any more. And taking time off to finish my book is not helping. I literally have a shelf full of books to read not counting the electronic copies which are also starting to mount up. There really are not enough hours in the day.

Johanna GGG said...

Someone once suggested to me as a child that I read a random page from a book to see if I want to read it - I still often do this but am still addicted to hard copy when it come to novels - rarely buy books without holding them in my hands first - but this sounds an interesting alternative

Jim Murdoch said...

@Johanna GGG - you might find this site of interest: Page 99 Test.

A Cuban In London said...

I used to do the same with novels that did not 'hook' me from the word go. Don't know if I would do it with a Kindle, though. Some books are slow-burners, in fact some authors build careers on being slow-burners! :-)

Great post.

Greetings from London.

The Blonde Duck said...

This could make me a Kindle addict.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I read at least 1 or 2 books a week and have seriously considered getting a Kindle. I'm wondering though, do you miss holding a book in your hands? I guess I'm old school but I think I'd miss that-although I won't miss having sore wrists from holding a heavy book for hours at a time!

Stephanie V said...

Haven't tried the kindle yet. I'll look into the computer version though. That could be the defining step.

Alice Braga said...

I did not know about the desktop app for non-Kindle owners. Thank you for that tip.

And I completely understand the desire to read only what sings to you.

liliannattel said...

I didn't know you could do that on your computer. I've heard other people say they're doing that with Kindle. I just don't have time to read a lot of 10%'s though! I have a Kobo and I love it. I don't miss holding a book, but I do miss being able to dog-ear pages and highlight. I tried the Sony touch, but found the bookmarking and note taking still too primitive to satisfy. The Kobo doesn't do a lot but what it does, it does very well, and I'm reading a lot on it.

fafner said...

I don't have a kindle, but I still find I often start, but never finish books. Usually because some other book catches my eye. I always have the best of intentions of going back to finish the book, but sometimes it never happens...

CeCe said...

I completely agree! I do this all the time.

Since I'm never without my Kindle, whenever someone mentions a book that I "simply have to read", I pull it out and download the sample.

Then I'm able to decide for myself if I want to buy the book or borrow it from them.

Kazzy said...

Yes, the easy accessibility makes all the difference in decision-making.

becky at abbeystyle said...

No, I didn't know. How do we get the Kindle app on the computer?

Michaela (aka Mama Michie) said...

I not only love the samples, but also all of the free books. I've been able to read (and reread) many of the classics since getting my kindle.

MJ said...

I read stupidly fast, so 1/10 of a book isn't much of a time investment for me: I'll have to get into the habit of trying this more often!

LindyLouMac said...

Ciao Rachel and best wishes for 2011, I am back at last catching up on so much that I missed while I was away from the blogsphere! I do love my Sony Ereader but it will never replace the printed page.

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