04-09-2011 12:42 PM
Just wondering what folks think about putting a 100% previews of books up. I like the idea of people being able to flick through the whole book (mine is non-fiction) as they would in a bookshop. And they couldn't actually copy or save anything, could they? Do you think it's risky?
04-09-2011 02:07 PM
I don't know. If you provide a 100% preview, what's to stop someone from just reading the entire book online, rather than purchasing a copy?
Also, considering the prevalence of screen-capture software (and the built-in screen-capture capabilities of Windows), people could copy the entire book -- though, to be sure, they would have to take additional steps to turn the screenshots into editable text.
To me, previews are intended to give potential buyers a taste of the meal to come -- a sort of appetizer, if you will. Ideally, you display bits and pieces that are representative of the whole. It should be tasty, of course, but you don't want to "front-load" the meal so that there is nothing delicious to look forward to.
My two cents.
With respect to my own books -- which are essentially computer tutorials -- I created a custom preview that displays the entire Table of Contents, as well as a few representative lessons and tips. For me, that's the best of both worlds. Potential buyers can get an overview of what the books cover, and they also can read selected portions of the book to get a feel for my writing style and the way that the tutorials are presented.
It really depends. For other genres (such as fiction), the type of preview I created might not work as well.
Just a few additional thoughts for you to consider. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!
Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010 and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007
04-09-2011 04:34 PM - edited 04-09-2011 04:35 PM
100% I don't think so! Giving away your book for free does not make sense! I agree with Jan, a portion is respectable.
Author of iVENTED: Snippets of a Complex Persona
04-09-2011 08:19 PM
04-10-2011 05:25 AM
Thanks very much for your views. But I'm still not sure.
Jan, my book is nearly 300 pages long - I can't see many people doing 300 screengrabs to get the book for free. If they do, then I think they deserve to have a copy! But I know what you mean about the taster - leave them hungry for more - that's a good point.
David, there are some who believe that giving away your book in electronic form actually increases sales dramatically. See Cory Doctorow's blog for example. I think he makes all his ebooks free but people decide they want hard copies and go out and buy them.
Kevin, OK, but how many people do that reading-a-complete-book-in-a-bookshop thing? They are the type of people who probably wouldn't buy the book anyway. And it wouldn't make you not put your book in a bookshop, would it? Also, in my case, I have some photocopiable activities included and they would need the book for those. In fact I do give some of those away free on my blog - The Spelling Blog http://thespellingblog.blogspot.com
So thanks very much. I'd love to hear more opinions on this.
Johanna Stirling - Author or Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners
04-10-2011 06:29 PM
I've decided to try it. The quality is not so great that anyone's going to want to sit and read the whole book. (I mean the visual quality of the preview of course, not the quality of my book!! )
So you can now preview the whole of Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners on http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/teaching-spe
Let's see what happens.
04-10-2011 07:27 PM
04-11-2011 04:43 AM
Thanks for your reply, Kevin.
I agree that with a novel it doesn't add much and risks quite a lot. But non-fiction is much more something that you want to flick through to see if it covers what you need. The contents page or index alone may not give you that information.
If there was a button on the product page that said "Download this preview here" I would be more wary, but again the hassle involved in downloading a whole website and extracting the text and then reading it online or printing out that huge text would put almost everybody off. If there's someone who knows how to do that, has the patience to do it AND is interesting in teaching spelling, well, lucky them! Hopefully they'll tell their friends about the book and some will want to buy the book. As Cory Doctorow says, "my biggest threat as an author isn't piracy, it's obscurity".
Don't get me wrong - I also want and need to make money from my book. This is marketing not altruism. I know that my book is useful for certain people and I'm confident that if they look at it they will know too. Teachers (my audience) usually don't make a lot of money and can't afford to buy books unless they know that they will be useful. Actually I really hate the thought of anyone buying my book and thinking it was rubbish - as long as they could give me a coherent appraisal of why it was rubbish (rather than just disagreeing with some things I've said), I would very willingly give them their money back and thank them for their input.
I'm still not certain that the 100% preview is right for my book and may review the decision later. But I'm giving it a go for now. I'll let you know how it goes.