E-Advertisements, I mean, publisher samples
Publishers have developed the equivalent of grocery store samples of crackers and cheese. More and more short stories or prequels are being offered for the Kindle either free or for 99 cents or $1.99. The publishers have become clever in their titling of these unconventional pieces – introductory prequel, short story, bonus scene, thoughts on BOOK TITLE, and special e-book edition.
These short works usually include a sample of the larger book hoping you will have to know the resolution of the conflict and buy the complete higher priced book.
I think of these as advertisements – some thinly veiled, others obvious. Reader reviews have been very critical on some of these items:

I knew this was short, but I expect at least a bit of story.

While billed as a “bonus story,” it just stopped in the middle of the 24 pages.

Please do not give us a portion of a book and then ask us to buy the ending under a different title. Makes us not want to look at any of the other books you offer!

 
Publishers are also offering free samples of a particular genre or an author’s books in a compilation usually titled something similar to Mystery Teen Sample or The Author Name Sampler. These snippets of bundles are easy to produce and cost the publisher very little.
When you download a sample from Amazon, it is always the first bit of a book. When the publisher produces the sample, the best of the book is presented, usually stopping at a critical point, hoping the reader is enticed to buy the larger book.
Last week Microsoft offered a free book which was basically a user’s manual for one of their software products. A great way to get the user’s manual in the hands of the users, but also a clever way to advertise their product and allow potential users to read about the features.
Even if the publisher offers them free, are they worth it? I’ve read a few of the prequels and teasers. They weren’t groundbreaking, satisfying, or even worth the investment of my time when so many great reads are unread on my Kindle.
How do you feel about these optional items offered by publishers? Do you like them? Are they valuable to you in making reading choices? Or are they just annoying? UPDATE – Added an option to poll based on a comment.


 
Amazon is doing a little housekeeping, too
According to this article Amazon will be removing some books from the Kindle Store. We have written before about the books that anyone can download and market as their own – private label rights. Removing these and other readily available free content from the Kindle Store is a good move and we appreciate Amazon’s action.
 
Cheap bundle of books for children
The bundle description says stories. I wondered if this was just a collection of short reads and downloaded the e-file to confirm. Much to my surprise, this file is more than 6,400 locations. The books individually sell for $5.99 or $6.99 each. Written for children ages 9 and up, this bundle for $2.99 is definitely a great buy. The content sounds a bit yucky. . . but the bundle is still a great purchase.
Bundle description: What happens when your mother feeds you more roughage in a week than a health farm dishes out in a year? How will Macca “iron gut” Mactavish’s mates make him throw up? How will Gumby Mason score a boogie from his football Coach? If you’re a fan of cockroaches, vomit, boogie, and turds – then So Stories is the e-book for you. Three of the funniest and most revolting stories ever – So Gross, So Ferel, and So Sick. All three only $2.99 today – a SuperCheap price!
Click here to purchase Three Stories from the So series