Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An annoying trend

Recently I downloaded a free Kindle book, The Proposition, by Jennifer Lyon. It was subtitled "Book One, The Plus One Chronicles."

No problem, I thought. If I really like it, I'll probably go ahead and buy the subsequent books in the series.

I was really into the story when... all of a sudden it ended! In the middle of the plot! And the Kindle took me to Amazon so I could purchase the next book in the series for $2.99.

When I looked a little further, I realized that even part 2 wasn't the end of the story, and part 3 was another $2.99.

Then I discovered I could buy the entire trilogy for 99 cents. So I did. And I enjoyed it, although I rated each of the individual parts only one star and noted that they are incomplete. The trilogy as a whole got four stars.

The point is, "Book One" wasn't a whole book. It was only a third of a book. It was only about 120 pages long in real book terms. And each of the others was about the same length, so putting them all together gave you one 400-page book.

This is a trend that I find very disturbing. Publishers trick you into starting a book by giving away a free "book" that isn't really a whole book.

The other day one of my favorite romance authors, Susan Mallery, posted this on Facebook:

Quick clarification: RANCHER AND THE RUNAWAY BRIDE Part 1 is free. The other 2 parts are $1.99 each. My publisher chose to publish the entire 36 Hours series in this way. Just wanted to make sure you understand how the books are formatted before you get into the story (which I love, by the way).

So not only are new and self-publishing authors doing this, but also the publishers of established authors.

I find this trend annoying and disturbing. And from now on before I download a "free" book, I'm going to make sure it's not just part one. On general principles I will refuse to purchase these serial books unless and until I can purchase the whole story as a single package at a single price.

What do you think? Does this make you as angry as it makes me?


  1. AGGRAVATES me to no end! Especially when the first was a freebie... I have no issues with sequels (uhm, we met over Plum, right?) but each 'book' should have a beginning, middle and end. Otherwise, its a serialized novel.

    1. Absolutely! I love series, where you have the same characters, or the same town. But it's not a series if it's 3 parts that tell a single story. :)