September 6, 2012


It gets busy at Costco during the lunch hour on any given day because they give out samples of various food products. Samples help me decide whether to purchase a product. Oftentimes, if I like the sample, I’ll try the product.

But what if I got the opportunity to sample something and chose not to because it came highly recommended?

Or I didn’t want to take the time to sample it, and only purchased it because it was on sale?

Would I be justified in feeling duped if this product I didn’t bother to sample fell short of my expectations?

Books and ebooks are one of the few products a consumer can sample beforehand. In a bookstore, you can stand there and read as much as you’d like. Online, you can generally read a percentage of an ebook, up to as much as the first 20%, to help you make your decision.

There’s been a lot of media coverage recently about book reviews. Any given review on any given book, whether the book was written by a traditionally published author or an indie, can be faked. A fake review will generally either sing the book’s praises or trash it. That’s not to say all five-star and one-star ratings are not to be trusted, but who has the time to investigate their veracity?

Further, even if you know a recommendation or condemnation is honest, you still have to take into consideration that it is one person’s opinion. Opinions are subjective. Even an honest appraisal of a product can be biased - or I should say will be biased based on that person’s likes and dislikes, which may be the polar opposite of yours whether you admire that person, hate them with a passion, or don’t know them at all. And sometimes an honest appraisal comes from someone who had the opportunity to sample, but didn’t, often because they got the ebook for free. The opinion is perfectly valid, but would that person have even chosen the book if it weren’t free?

My time is precious. I’d rather use it reading the sample, and let the product convince me whether or not to buy. Then if it doesn’t live up to my expectations, I’ll feel perfectly justified in giving my opinion.

Read the sample.


  1. You made some good points here. If I see a great review on a book on more than one site, then I'm apt to believe it.
    My problem in reviewing books is that I love to read so much, it is indeed very very rare that I read a book I don't like.

  2. Thanks Donna!

    It sounds like you have good instincts in choosing which books to read! :o)