Reader Poll: Excerpts at the End of Ebooks–Do You Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?

I recently learned–much to my surprise–that a lot of readers get quite angry when an author includes bonus material at the end of an ebook. I always thought it was a good idea, so I put full chapter-one excerpts to two or three of my other ebooks at the end of all my ebooks. I’ve never received a single complaint. Apparently, other authors have. Some readers feel cheated when they’re reading along, thinking they have a lot more story to go, only to turn a page and realize the last percentage of the ebook is excerpts or other material.

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The only time I received complaints was when I released my Pearl Island trilogy with an extra chapter that wasn’t in the original print books at the end of each story. Existing fans of the trilogy wanted the bonus chapters without having to re-buy books they already owned. I didn’t blame them, so I put all three bonus chapters into one free ebook as a gift to fans of the trilogy.

I want to hear from readers and authors, though, about how you feel on the issue.

Here are my questions:

1) If you read ebooks a lot, have you come to expect excerpts or other material at the end, so it doesn’t surprise or bother you? Or do you get annoyed when you turn a page and realize the story is over when you thought you had 5% to 10% more story left?

2) What type of bonus material do you enjoy?

• Full, first-chapter excerpts? Or do you prefer short snippets? Or just a blurb?

• A bio or maybe a letter from the author?

• How about a short “story behind the story” piece? Similar to a DVD that has “The making of this movie.” (Note: I wrote one of these for my Pearl Island trilogy, but I have it on the Website specifically dedicated to fans of the trilogy: PearlIslandBooks.com)

• How much is too much? Or do you not care, since space doesn’t matter with an ebook?

• Have you run across any particular bonus material you especially enjoyed? If so, what was it and why did you enjoy it?

3) Would you rather have the excerpts and bonus material on the author’s Website with a link in the back of the ebook? Would you actually go to the site to read the bonus material? Or would you be irritated that you couldn’t read it on your ereader?

Thank you so much for your input on this! Please use the share buttons below to invite other readers to offer their input. The information will be shared with many authors, so your voice matters.

13 comments

  1. Fran Baker says:

    I’ll be interested in hearing what readers have to say as well, Julie. I’ve not included first chapters in the back of my backs – not yet, anyway. But if readers like them, I may reconsider.

    As for me, if I get to the end of a book and enjoyed the story, I don’t mind a couple of “teasers” for other books.

  2. Cordelia Blake says:

    I usually do not read the sections at the end of the book unless I am really into and deciding if I will buy the sequel. I know that if there is a book that I really want to read, I can just get the sample on my kindle so I’d rather wait until I’m going to read it anyway.

    If you wanted to give a bonus, I’d love a short story, since I never buy those. Or a coupon off the next book! Also, I like to see clearly everything the author has written in order of publication and series so that if I like the author, I can easily get more books. Prices would be great too but I’m pretty sure that’s asking too much.

    Thanks for asking!
    Cordelia

  3. Catherine says:

    1. I totally expect it. I prefer excerpts from the author that I just read, rather than other authors – if it’s the author I just read, I read the excerpt. If it’s other authors, I usually skip it.

    2. I prefer full chapter excerpts – the first chapter is perfect. I always prefer more rather than less! I will say though that I have been annoyed at paperback books ending about 80% of the way through, and the rest being excerpts from five different books. For whatever reason, it doesn’t annoy me as much on e-books – probably because I don’t notice length of the book quite as much.

    3. I actually prefer if it’s in both places – I can read it at the end of the book or I can go to the author’s website. I routinely visit websites of my favorite authors to read excerpts of their upcoming books. But it’s always a nice bonus to have it at the end of their latest book.

  4. Robin says:

    I’m only bothered if the teasers are too large of a portion of the ebook. I download a lot of free ebooks and author’s aren’t always good with saying that it’s actually a short story, so I’ll think I have a novella to read at 75-100 pages, only to find out that the story is the first 30 pages and the rest of the novel is teaser stuff to try and get me to buy the other books. That to me is a bait and switch.

    That being said, teaser chapters at the end of a full length novel don’t bother me. I mean, it’s done all the time in the print novels, so I’ve come to expect it. Besides, if you can’t tell that the author has wrapped up the plot/story by the end of the book and think there is going to be more… I think you’re reading an author that needs more work!

  5. JoyceG says:

    I read a lot – hundreds of books a year, and most these days are on my Kindle. I have noticed the “trend” of adding chapters/excerpts at the end of a book, and while it doesn’t annoy me, it is misleading when you are watching the “percentage read” info at the bottom of the page! That said, I don’t really care for excerpts of upcoming books – if I’m going to read the book (or not), that excerpt is not what will sway me. I don’t mind “ads” with upcoming books and publication dates being included, but I prefer them to be for the author of what I read, not for every author from that publisher – some books have page after page of them. And finally, I *love* bonus material, especially historical background about something from the story. Eloisa James and Tessa Dare (Spindle Cove series) are two authors I can think of off the top of my head that have included historical info in bonus material, and that info really adds to the readers’ understanding of the period, etc. It shows that the author has done just that much more “homework” to me, and I appreciate their willingness to go that one step farther and condense that info into a few pages of background.

  6. Victoria says:

    I read the chapers of the new books but really would prefer not to have them.

    I think a note from the author is nice :)

    I love the “story behind” idea. IT’s always so neat to see what triggered your thoughts and how that played out in the story.

  7. Julie, I don’t mind the excerpts at the back of standard print or ebooks. The majority of my reading is on my Kindle now, and I know when the story has completed. I enjoy your stories so much I’m going to buy them whether there is an excerpt or not, but sometimes I would prefer just a teaser. When I start a new book and have read the full first chapter excerpt, it takes a minute or two (60 to 120 seconds, big whoop) to page to the second chapter. Imagine me inserting an overly dramatic sigh here and flinging my hand to my forehead Camille style. It’s not that big a deal!
    I think the author should insert as much as he or she is comfortable with sharing.

    For this fan, keep doin’ what you do. I’ve found a writer who touches and inspires me with each book you release. Thank you, Julie

  8. Snookie Mello says:

    I love having the excerpts at the end of the books. It helps me decide whether I”m going to buy a book or not. I especially like it when I’m reading a series book. It lets me know if I’ve missed a book. I wish there were a way that you could buy the book from the excerpt. I’m sure some marketing person will figure that out one of these days. Now I just go to B & N and put the title in the search bar to see if it’s an ebook so I can purchase it.

  9. Bobbie says:

    I love excerpts from the next book in the series if there is one. Not so much from other authors. Mould love a short story too.

  10. Kiesha says:

    When I first started reading ebooks, I was highly upset because I thought I had more pages to read only to find out that there were excerpts. You can’t flip to the back like you can with a paper book. I’m pretty much used to it now. I don’t like the chapter excerpts because when I’m browsing at the bookstore I feel like I’ve already read it.

  11. Tammy Seidick says:

    I wonder if the problem could be solved by letting the reader know upfront (somewhere in the front matter of the ebook) that there will be an excerpt from such-and-such title at the end …

  12. E. Ayers says:

    I love all the comments and you’ve given me some great ideas. I’m not publishing backlists so I don’t always have the first chapter polished enough to add it to the book going out. But I want readers to know that there’s another one coming.

    I bought a book that was about 40 pages long. Okay, that’s a quick read. It wasn’t even that. I think the story I bought was about 3 pages and everything else was the first chapter for other stories. I was disappointed. I also know the author can’t control what is listed for book length.

    Putting something upfront interferes with the free sample that is given on most sites. You don’t want to read excepts from other books. You want the excerpt of that book!

    E-readers are changing the way we buy books and read them. It’s also changing the rules for authors.
    E.

  13. Jami says:

    I enjoy bonus information at the end and links to the author’s website. I do read all of my ebooks using my iPhone.

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