With all of the new Kindles opened up over Chrismas, I thought it an appropriate time to talk about the free sample option Amazon has with the Kindle program: consider it like going to the bookstore (well, that is if there are many of them still open these days) and turning a few pages before buying it. You can get a free sample of a Kindle book – usually a few chapters to just a couple of pages – to try out and see if the book is something you are interested in prior to buying. I use the feature quite a bit, as I get extremely annoyed in shelling out money for a book and realizing about 10% of the way through it I think it’s not for me.
Also, from time-to-time Amazon will make available a book that has an introduction and a chapter or two of a book for free: I guess you could call it the “super sampler” in that you get to try out more of a book for free. On the other hand, James Patterson books often release 30 chapters for free but there is a catch – his chapters sometimes are just a paragraph or two so who knows if it is really longer than the free sample of a book? I really think of those as a marketing gimmick, listing a few chapters as a “free book.”
I don’t really care too much either way – if I am interested in the book, I will do one of two things:
- If it is a free book and I am even remotely interested in it, I will download the whole thing. What do I have to lose? Nothing (e.g., it’s free!). Should I complain because I don’t like the genre? No. Again, it’s free – why the sense of entitlement? Over the past several years there has been a lot of religious-genre fiction offered for free on the Amazon website, and a lot of folks have been complaining loudly about it on the Amazon discussion boards every time an item like this becomes available. Why? I don’t know – a publisher or independent author is making it available for free. Maybe the complaint should be directed at other publishers who are choosing to not offer their items for free. Like I said before, you don’t have anything to lose! Maybe these folks should redirect their energies and complain directly to the dysfunctional US Congress – both parties – about getting their act together and behaving as adults…but that’s another blog post for another venue.
- If it is not a free book (gasp!), I usually will download the sample in order to see if I like the first couple of pages, then I will make my buying decision. Why waste $9.99 sight unseen when I can have a sample downloaded to my Kindle for free?
I bring this up as I don’t want any of you to forget about the free sample option. Since I have a separate folder / category devoted to samples on my Kindle, I looked at them a little while ago and noticed I actually have 27 samples to check out on my Kindle. I select 3-4 samples at a time when I see something after trolling through the Amazon store, but I may not check the sample out until later. Why wait so long? Usually, it is because I am in the middle of another book – I’m not one of those people who can multitask between three and four books at the same time. When I’m reading a book, I’m usually pretty absorbed and get deep into the story, characters, etc. and can look up at the clock and realize three hours have quickly passed.
So, how do you find / download the free Kindle sample? Go to any Kindle book available on Amazon’s website and, just underneath the “Buy Now” section on the right-hand side of the page you will see an icon titled “Send Sample Now.” Click that button – if you have multiple Kindles, please make sure you have the correct Kindle listed in the drop-down menu. IF you are looking at a book via shopping directly on your Kindle, one of the options is to check out the free sample, click that item and the sample will be delivered to you.
With the free samples, plus the 200+ books on my Kindle now, I should be set for a long time…
Hope that helps!
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