This is how free e-book samples look to me most of the time. How about you?

Free ebook samples [cartoon] | Ebook Friendly

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Piotr Kowalczyk
Founder of Ebook Friendly. Ebook enthusiast, technology geek, iPhone artist and self-published author from Poland. His short story collections were downloaded across the web more than 150,000 times.


  1. That’s an interesting point, Marilynn. Piotr lives in Poland, and as he writes in this post from earlier today , geo-restrictions are often an issue there. (Although I don’t imagine that would apply to the length [or brevity] of samples. They’re either available or they’re not, I would think.)

    Actually, my understanding of the joke was that free samples so often feel like a tease: No matter how long they may be, if the book is good, you always want to keep reading … and so the sample always feels too short, even if it’s long in reality. That happens to me, at least, whenever I finish a sample of a book that’s priced at 12.99 or something: I *really* want to keep reading the book, but I also want to wait for the price to go down.

    This happened to me a couple weeks ago with Josh Ozersky’s “Colonel Sanders and the American Dream.” The free sample was so long that by the time I reached the end, I’d completely forgotten that I didn’t actually own the entire book! It was infuriating because the book was SO good. But the Kindle price is $9.99–and while that’s a price I wouldn’t normally mind paying for a good book, I also know that if I hold out just a little while longer, I’ll probably be able to grab it on the cheap. (Perhaps I have a habit of taking frugality a bit too far.)

    Speaking of KFC, did anyone happen to notice this article in the Guardian back on May 31, about the newly-discovered 46-year-old Col Sanders autobiography that KFC is giving away as a free download on Facebook? Turns out it’s actually a PDF, but amazingly, it’s still available. I just downloaded it, and it looks pretty good, assuming you’re into that sort of thing. You can grab a copy here:

  2. Actually, Piotr may be looking at Kobo’s samples, which usually include all the front matter and leave out the story entirely… And recently I seem to have to sign in to look at the useless sample… so I don’t bother any more. I sample at Smashwords.

  3. The interesting thing about the cartoon is that based on the sample provided, I would definitely not buy the book. There is a grammar error in the first sentence fragment, which would not bode well for the rest of the book.

    Aside from that, however, I wonder how many people actually read an entire sample or even a majority of a sample. I decide whether to buy a book largely on factors other than the sample; I simply do not have the patience to read a sample. It is the rare ebook that I buy that I read immediately. Instead, the ebook gets added to my ever-growing TBR pile. However, if I took the time to read the complete sample, I would feel obligated to continue reading the ebook, assuming I liked the sample well enough to buy the ebook.

    Because my TBR is so large and constantly growing, I find that I prefer to decide whether to buy an ebook based on a synopsis and perhasp the reading of a paragraph or two of the sample. (All I’m really looking for in the sample is good grammar and spelling.) I wouldn’t be surprised to find that many other readers do the same.

  4. I often send samples to my kindle when I am not quite sure if the book is for me, especially if it’s a book that is a genre I don’t typically read. If the book is promising, I will buy it. If the book manages to keep me wanting to read on, I will devor the entire sample, then, like Dan said, I will remember that I was a sammple and go buy the whole book instantly.

    Samples allow me to buy a book the way I would purchase a dead tree book in a book store. Most Kindle samples are a good length, but I have had a few where, after all the small print, there were literally not even two pages worth of reading left. Those ones, I would never consider buying. That’s what the cartoon made me think of 🙂

  5. The cartoon made me laugh. Great dry humor.

    Sample? I gave up on them a while back when I spent 3 days reading samples, didn’t like most, found a couple of the books had gone way up in price and realized that I’d wasted 3 good reading days. ;-D

    I read the description at Amazon, sometimes read a couple of worst and best reviews, and then if it looks interesting I make a note and check my library first. If they don’t have it and I still want to read it, I add it to my watch list and will pick it up when the price goes down. I seldom pay $9.99 for an ebook, as I seldom pay that for a printed book. I’m retired and I’m frugal. 😀

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