Bookish Musings: Do you read early excerpts?


I never used to even think twice before reading an early excerpt. If I finished a book and found that the remaining pages in the back were a sneak peek of the next book in the series or of another book by the author, I’d dive right in. The longer they were, the better. I’d usually finish and moan about how the next book wasn’t out yet, having sampled the unobtainable and wanting more.

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And the last early excerpt I read left me feeling exactly the same way — excited, and wanting more. In fact, it was probably the best early excerpt I’d ever read. I had seen a blog post raving about Stephanie Perkins’ writing that had links to a Goodreads preview of the first 3 chapters of Isla and the Happily Ever After. After hearing for so long about Perkins’ books, I decided what the heck, why not? and jumped right in.

9627755Long story short, I succumbed to the swoon-worthy romance and immediately went back and read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, both of which I really enjoyed. AKA Isla was probably the most successful early excerpt I’d ever read, because it made me want to read both of Perkins’ other books! 

But then began the painful wait for Isla to come out into the world. My expectations for the book were through the roof, because I felt like each of Perkins’ books just got better and better, and the first Perkins couple I had really been introduced to was Isla and Josh. It was easy just to melt into a puddle just remembering them together in NYC in the preview.

So  when I finally got my paws on a copy of Isla, I wasted no time in starting it. Slightly off-topic, I was pretty disappointed in Isla, even if I still swooned at some parts — you can read my review here. But one of the biggest surprises? As I started the book again, I remembered the first 3 chapters from the preview almost perfectly.

I’m not exceptional at remembering things, so I was quite puzzled. I tried to press on and read the first 3 chapters again, but all the joy was taken out of it. All the sweet serendipity of their chance meeting was gone for me, and after struggling for a little, I ended up skipping ahead to what I hadn’t yet read. It ticked me off that I had to skip ahead, and so the story didn’t start on the same cute note for me.

And just the other day, glancing at the Goodreads reviews for Isla, I saw how Cait from @ Paper Fury noted in her review that because Isla was so hopped up on painkillers in the first chapter, the reader is introduced to her and her crush on Josh in a way TOTALLY different from what she is like in the rest of the book. So yeah, while the first few chapters of Isla made for a very entertaining excerpt, they really threw me off quite a bit.

So I’ve been pretty wary about reading any early excerpts ever since. Even for books I’ve been dying to read (hello, Passenger!), I’ve done my best to avoid reading the previews. Maybe I’ve read a few of small scenes from unreleased books, but nothing more. Maybe I’m being too cautious and actually missing out on some great excerpts, but I’m afraid of being burned again and ruining my reading experience! I’d rather wait and read the book from the beginning for the first time when it’s finally released than take my chances on ruining the book.

So tell me: do you read early excerpts? Has anyone else had a mishap with reading previews, or do you jump right into reading them?



  • I think it really depends on when you read the excerpt and when you read the book. If you read the book waaay later then you may forget the snippet and enjoy reading it again but if you read it too soon then you’ll probably remember it all and end up skipping 0_0 For me, I read about 8 chapters of The Heir by Kiera Cass online in the previews unlocked but then I bought the book the very next day so it felt like I just paused the story for a moment. I didn’t really mind that way!
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    • You definitely have a point, it can be really different depending on when you read it. If the book is already available to buy like The Heir, then it sounds perfect! But when early excerpts are offered waaay in advance to try to tide readers over until the pub date, I think it seems to not work as well. Plus, there are others ways to get readers excited pre-release than sharing super extended advance previews!

  • Annie says:

    I don’t read early excerpts mostly because I don’t like starting things I can’t finish. Like, I’d rather put the book away and wait a day, a week or even a year for the next one when I can devour it in its entirety. But that must have totally sucked reading the first three chapters and the thrill and elation having already been spent from reading the excerpt. It’s a little like watching a movie you’ve already read the script for. It’s fun and all to watch it play out – but you’re really just watching things you completely expect unfold. That’s why I don’t like spoilers either 🙂
    Annie recently posted…Fairy Tale Legacy: JasmineMy Profile

    • I know, right? I can definitely be patient if it means I can start and finish a new book when it actually comes out. It was definitely a let down with Isla and the HEA. And I’m with you on spoilers — I don’t want to know until I can read it myself!

  • This is a simple one for me: Nope! No way! I know there was an excerpt released for Queen of Shadows earlier this year, and I’m like, “NOPE. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.” I mean–if I’m even CONSIDERING reading a book it means I’m majorly looking forward to it, and I know that reading an excerpt from it just going to make me want it more (which is the point of them I guess?) and I’d just prefer to wait for the whole thing.
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  • I actually just scheduled a post on this topic yesterday! You’ll see all my reasoning there when it posts (I’m such a tease) but basically I don’t like to read excerpts anymore, especially if it’s from a series I enjoy. I want to go in innocent and be surprised by the plot and characters.
    Bec @ Readers in Wonderland recently posted…Review: Looking for Alaska by John GreenMy Profile

    • So far that definitely seems to be the consensus in the comments! It makes me wonder who *does* read early excerpts if not so many book bloggers are. And I agree, the more I already like a series or the more the book is hyped, it seems even more important to avoid previews. Maybe they might still be useful for lesser known/popular books to inspire interest?

  • NOPE. Never, never, never. I did once or twice, and all it does is frustrate me! I WILL read an excerpt if I know I can read the book right after, but not far in advance- it’s annoying, and then like you said- the book no longer feels fresh when I finally do get to start it! Great topic!!

    • It is incredibly frustrating to read even a really good excerpt but then not be able to read the rest of the book! Since most people who commented have said they don’t read early excerpts, it makes me wonder who does read them 0.0

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