Sunday, November 2, 2008

Book Samples Expire?!

Every time I see an interesting book I think I might like to read I immediately check to see if it's available on the Kindle. If it is, I always download the sample even if I if I can't get to it for a bit. I figure it's a good way to build a list of books I might like to read in the future. I never bothered to check whether these samples have an expiration date. After all, time-bombing samples would be silly, right?

Wrong. I recently discovered that some Kindle samples do indeed time-out. I downloaded the sample content for Pro LINQ a month or so ago and blogged earlier about the interesting zoom feature it includes. Imagine my surprise when I went to show this zoom feature to a colleague and was greeted by the following message:

End of this sample Kindle book. Enjoy the sample? Buy now or see details for this book in the Kindle Store.
At first I assumed it was a nag screen and I figured that's fair. I don't mind a gentle nudge in sample content, but it wasn't just a nag screen. I can no longer access the book's sample content. Worse, despite a couple of attempts now I can't even re-download the sample material. Stupid feature, very stupid.

Amazon, I have two questions for you. First, do you really think providing unlimited access to sample content will hurt Kindle edition sales? Second, do you also honestly believe you'll sell more Kindle content by time-bombing samples like this? (The answer to both questions is "no", btw.)


Anonymous said...

I haven't run across that yet with any samples, but it is MONUMENTALLY stupid to allow that. Amazon is NOT standing up for consumers with this and a million other little decisions and it's starting to bug me.

Shelley said...

I certainly hope not, or my idea of doing sample reviews will be short lived.

I have to wonder if the sample access problems aren't related to the specialized formatting used with that book. I checked some other long term samples I have and didn't have problems.

Anonymous said...

I also checked a couple of my oldest samples and they are still all there.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads-up!

How amazingly short-sighted of Amazon.

Anonymous said...

So is it Amazon that's timing at least some samples out or is the author/publishers?

Either way it seems silly and short sighted.

Mary McManus said...

Joe, did you use the menu to go back to the beginning of the sample? I can do this with all of the samples I am still holding. Yours must have ben an aberration.

Joe Wikert said...

Yep, I tried every option I could think of but no go. It seems to be unique to that particular title. All of my other samples, including several that are much older, are still accessible.

John Helmus said...

Perhaps it is a legal issue related to that publisher. I would not be surprised. It still is pretty ridiculous.