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The Bloated eBook File

26 September 2011

From Dear Author:

In the past, I’ve advocated for various things to be included in the ebook file, mostly in an effort to convince publishers that digital format was something that readers actually did want. (yes, dear readers, we had to fight for books to be digitized in the not so distant past).  Some publishers (and self published authors) have taken this to extremes.

. . . .

How much is left in a book can affect the reader experience.  Paper readers know how far they are from the end of the book by a glance at the physical pages left.  When a reader is reading a digital book, she usually can tell how far she is, either by page number or percentage, or both.   More and more often, the reader experience is being impinged upon because of additives, mostly excerpts from other books, that are giving a false expectation of when the book is to be completed.

For instance, Lightning That Lingers from Sharon and Tom Curtis ends at the 56% mark.  The remainder of the contents of the file are excerpts from other Loveswept titles.  Legends by Deborah Smith ends at the 60% mark.  The remainder of the contents of the file are excerpts.  Every Loveswept title that is being re-released in digital format has the same problem.  The percentage or page indicator leads the reader to believe that they are only a little more than half way through the book and the end is upon you.

. . . .

For the most part, readers did not like promotional material and most admitted to not reading it, although Holly from Bookbinge admitted that she ordinarily didn’t like it but occasionally would be lured into buying a book from an excerpt at the end (which is, of course, why publishers include them). One of the problems is that the inclusion of excerpts is scattershot. Oftentimes you will get 5-6 excerpts with no discernable relation to the book you just read. Another person said that the publishers should only promote 1 or 2 books at the end instead of several by all different authors. The goal is that the promotional items should be targeted rather than scattershot. An “if you like X, you’ll like Y” sort of listing. A small inclusion with links to more excerpts makes sense or even an additional download. Robin shared that with Big Fish Games, you can be invited to download more content as you move through the game. A book should work like that as well, downloading additional content with the reader’s permission.

Link to the rest at Dear Author

Ebook/Ereader Technical, Ebooks

2 Comments to “The Bloated eBook File”

  1. I hate extra stuff like this in my ebook. I can download samples of books easily enough on my own, I don’t want them cluttering up the book I’m reading. I do like to know what else the author has written, and if the author has a series where order matters (like a mystery series) I like to know what order to read the books in, so putting the list of “other books by this author” at the end of the ebook rather than at the beginning would be nice, but I don’t want excerpts from them.

  2. Because Amazon, Smashwords and B&N offer a solid sample of the writing (Smashwords’ sample percentage can be half the book if the author so chooses), putting an excerpt of another title or forthcoming title into the back matter seems redundant to me. As a reader, I’d like to see a short, solid blurb and small jpeg of the book’s cover, along with a direct buy link if there’s one available. Anything else and it’s just bloat.

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