Wish List by John Locke is a novel available as an ebook for less than $1. Last time Kobo ran a “$1 off” coupon code promotion, I snapped it up.
Then I tried to read it.
Somebody, for some reason I can’t fathom, thought it would be a good idea to put SEVEN BLOODY PAGES OF ADULATION in the front of this book – review outtakes, including “five star” reviews. In a small font. Preceded by a relatively lengthy copyright note, and followed by a page with a dedication, and a page with acknowledgements. The book had no working table of contents to skip that cruft and just get to the story. That left me pretty irritated even before the prologue started.
Seriously, why would you do that?
I can kinda see how those comments might be considered potentially useful in paper books, because in a bookshop there is no display with reviews, but downloadable ebooks? Online, reviews are easy to find – usually on the page where you download the book in question. So they strike me as superfluous in ebooks.
And those reviews have a better chance of being balanced than whatever is included in the book. Since I’ve seen one author quoted on a book with “a fabulous book, I wouldn’t want to miss a line” and on the later added sequel with “a fabulous series, I wouldn’t want to miss a line”, I assume those endorsements are fake, or at least dishonest. And even if they all were genuine, obviously only 100% positive bits of reviews get into the book itself. It’s advertising.
If I had looked at a sample to decide if I wanted to buy, I’d have dismissed it before reaching the end of the adulation, because with going through that much hyping being “required” before I can read it, the book probably isn’t any good speaking for itself. It reminds me a bit of the unskippable advertisments in some DVDs, only this is even more pointless, because if I already have the book, I don’t need convincing to get it. And it bears repeating: SEVEN BLOODY PAGES! AAAARGH!
I’ve got to say, it makes HarperCollins ebooks I’ve seen so far look better by comparison. They include stuff often found at the front of print books – other books by this author, or the copyright page – at the back of the book, after the story.
In my opinion, there should not be more between the reader and the story than neccessary, because anything beyond that will bore, annoy and put off some prospective readers.
Eh, yeah, enough rant, back to Wish List.
The prologue involved a date between a man and a woman, from the viewpoint of the man. He wants sex, she doesn’t, but he talks her into it (not that he has a hard time). While they’re in bed getting started, his mobile phone rings, he pulls a knife from below his cushion and stabs the phone. Then he’s disgruntled because his date is freaked out by his behaviour, rather than impressed.
From the style I guess it’s supposed to be funny. I found it extremely creepy.
I decided to not read the rest of this book. It’s rather unlikely I’ll ever pick up any other book by John Locke.