Lola’s Ramblings: Why I don’t read Excerpts

Posted August 18, 2016 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 30 Comments


Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

Excerpts are one of the common ways to promote a book or the type of post you can see during a blog tour or other promotion type of posts. While for promotion purposes I think excerpts can be great, I personally hardly ever read them. So today I wanted to talk about why I don’t read excerpts.

Why I don’t read Excerpts

In short I don’t like reading excerpts because they are exactly that an excerpt, only a piece of the story. If I want to read a book I commit and read the whole thing or in the unfortunate event that I don’t like the book until I DNF the book. I always feel like with an excerpt you cut out a piece of a larger story. And especially with excerpts of scenes that take place later in the book I feel like I can’t fully appreciate the scene or understand it because I didn’t know what happened before that or who the characters are. When it comes to excerpts early in the book or even the look inside function in amazon I hate getting only a part of the story. Once I start reading a book I want to know I can continue it if I want to, being forced to stop once the excerpt is over is frustrating. Especially in cases where the book isn’t released yet. I also strongly dislikes spoilers and in a sense excerpts feel like spoilers as it already spoils a certain scene for you before you start reading the book. So I usually just avoid reading excerpts altogether. Same goes for first chapters or the amazon look inside function. I just don’t like reading them and rather wait till I can read the whole book than get only an excerpt now. or even take the risk and buy the book than read the look inside function first. In general I think waiting for a bookwithout any teasers or excerpts seems easier than when you do get those as it only makes the wait to feel longer.

Why not reading excerpts isn’t always a good thing

The thing I like about excerpt or at least where I see the value of them is how an excerpt can give you a feel for a book, story, the characters and the author their writing style without committing to reading the whole book. And I think that reading an excerpt can sometimes help you judge whether this is a book you want to read. There are some books I DNF’s that I never would’ve bought or accepted for review if I had taken the time to read an excerpt or the look inside function on amazon. So I do see the value of this, but I still don’t like doing this. There are multiple ways to get a feel for a book and to decide whether it’s a book for you and while excerpts are only one of the many ways to do that, I do think that sometimes excerpts can help you decide if a book is for you or warn you away form a book you might thought you would enjoy based on that. I do pretty well without reading excerpts, but I can also see that there are times and moment when reading an excerpt could be helpful. So sometimes, very sometimes I make exceptions and do read an excerpt.

When I do read excerpts

Basically there are only three exceptions to when I do read excerpt. The first exception is when I want to get a feel for the writing style. If there’s one thing excerpt can give you it’s a sense of the writing style. It might not be able to tell you much about the story, characters etc, but at least you can get a small feel of that and the writing style. The second exception is for books where I organize tours for, I sometimes read through the excerpt when I get it from the author or when I see an excerpt on a blog post. The third exception is books that I already read. I don’t mind reading excerpts if I have already read the book, as then most of my reasons for not reading excerpts don’t matter anymore. I already read the whole book, so the excerpt can be a fun reminder of how much I enjoyed the book and I kinda like seeing which scenes an author picked as excerpt.

Do you read Excerpts?


30 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Why I don’t read Excerpts

  1. I generally don’t read excerpts for the reasons you said, I don’t want just a piece of the story. That frustrates me more than it excites me. And unless I’m already interested in the book from the cover/blurb and am actually considering it, I just don’t have the time to sit and read excerpts from books I’m not interested in. And if it’s from the middle of the book, I agree that it doesn’t have the same effect since I don’t know the context.

    BUT I do use the Amazon look inside thing often. As you mentioned, just a few pages can give me a feel for the tone of the book, the writing style, the POV, etc. I especially use this when deciding on review copies. I almost never accept or request a book without looking anymore because I was ending up with books that I literally disliked and knew they weren’t right for me from the first page, and if only I had just read the first few pages before requesting… You get me? It’s not foolproof, sometimes a book seems great at first (like you said, you can’t tell how the plot or the character development will be), but it at least weeds out the ones that I can tell are absolutely not for me within the first few pages. It has saved me from numerous books that I would’ve ended up disliking.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Pale as a Ghost (Duncan Andrews Thrillers Book 1) by Stephen OsborneMy Profile

    • Glad to know I am not the only one who doesn’t read excerpts. I have seen quite some excerpts from the middle of the book and while they can be great sometimes, it also makes me feel like I am missing something. So I would prefer excerpts from early in the book then.

      I have read a few books were that happened and I knew I would’ve known the book wasn’t for me if I had taken the time to look inside and I do use the look inside function sometimes, but generally I don’t. It just makes me feel off to have already read part of the book before I really start it. So most of the time I just risk it if the book sounds good. Or say no if the book doesn’t.

      And indeed even the look inside method never will be foolproof, but it will weed out those books you are sure you won’t like from those first pages. And I have read some books that were great at first and then went downhill or even the other way around where a book started slow and got great. So overall I would say it’s a good method. I just can’t bring myself to use it.

      • It used to make me feel off too, reading the beginning but then stopping and rereading it again once I decided to read the book. But I guess it doesn’t anymore. It is a little weird reading the beginning when I’m the middle of another book since I’m not someone who ever reads more than one book at a time, and yeah it’s kind of like, I could’ve spent that time reading 10 pages in my current book rather than reading 10 pages in this random book that will either go to waste if I don’t read the book or go to waste if I do read the book and have to reread, but I still consider it worth it. And I oftentimes skim when I’m just deciding, so when I actually start the book and read it for real, there are things I missed and I get more into it or I’ve already forgotten what it said anyway.
        Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Pale as a Ghost (Duncan Andrews Thrillers Book 1) by Stephen OsborneMy Profile

        • Maybe you get used to reading excerpts if you do it often enough? I don’t read enough of them to try out that theory, lol. I have used the look inside function a few times and then sorta skimmed and then read it for real when reading the book, but it still feels a bit off to me. It did help me decide to say yes to two review books which both turned out well, so it was helpfull.

  2. I’m exactly the same way. I like to go into books as blindly as possible. If it is a book that I know I’m going to read, say the next book in a loved series, I don’t even read the blurb. I like to be surprised by what will happen. I don’t mind little quotes that are just a few lines, but I won’t read a whole chapter or even a few pages. I know a lot of people who like reading them, so I don’t mind including them when they are provided to me, but I don’t read them.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Otherworld Secrets Audiobook by Kelley Armstrong (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Same here, if I already know i am going to read the book I don’t read the blurb usually. It can be fun to go blind into a book for a change. Or sometimes I read the blurb now and then forget most of it by the time I start reading.

      And indeed a short quote on a teaser image or something like that is fine, but I prefer not to read something longer.

  3. I tend not to read exerpts, either… But I DO use Amazon’s Read Inside widget, which is fantastic, because I also try not to read more than a couple of sentences of any book blurb these days as I get so sick of how much of the storyline they tend to reveal.

    • I agree some blurbs definitely do reveal too much of the book. But I’ve been seeing some really good blurbs around lately as well. And the look inside function does come in handy sometimes, but I still prefer not to use it.

  4. I totally agree with you Lola! I generally ignore excerpts because most of the time they may make me want MOREEE and I won’t have it… or I won’t really understand everything since it’s only a small part of a story. But I usually love going back to books I love and rereading a scene here or there. 😛

    • It is fun to read excerpts after you read the book. But I prefer to not read them before I read a book as then it just makes me want to read the whole book and I can’t.

  5. I definitely don’t read excerpts! I agree with the reasons you listed. My biggest issue is that I don’t want to get even more hyped on a book and then still wait around forever for it to come out. I can’t do it. I dislike that so much. Great ramblings! 😉

    • I usually deal well with hype, but I just hate starting a book or reading part of it and then not being able to read it all. It feels like I have to finish it and can’t.

  6. The only time that I read excerpts are when I haven’t read the author before and I am not sure about the writing, so I like to read them to see if its a style I can enjoy or not. But normally I hardly ever read them, although there are times when its a book I am REALLY excited for I will especially if its one of my favorite authors.
    loverofromance recently posted…ARC Book Review-Mad For The Plaid by Karen HawkinsMy Profile

    • Even with new authors I rarely do this, even though I know it would be helpful. I just strongly dislike reading excerpts or the look inside feature and will only do so if I really have trouble making a decision whether to accept a review request or not.

  7. Very rarely – one part of this is because I just don’t always have time to read through it. Another is because like you said, I’d rather just read the whole book or at least a larger portion of it to see if I’ll like. I really like when authors/blogs share quotes from books. Sometimes those make me want to read a book more than an excerpt.
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…Boyfriend Material by K.A. MitchellMy Profile

    • I usually assume an indie book is written of good quality. I mostly look at the cover, the blurb and reviews when I get a review request. Some of them have few reviews, so it can be hard to judge if it’s a book for me or not. But I still don’t like reading an excerpt, even though it can definitely be helpful in judging whether a book is for your or not.

  8. I like reading excerpts. I read an excerpt for Shadow Rider and knew right then and there that I had to have that book and I was right. For me, an excerpt tells me some about the authors writing style and if it looks like I’d like to read the book or if the story sounds good.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Freebie Friday!My Profile

    • I do think that excerpts can be great to give you a feel for the book and tell you if you will like it or not, but I still don’t like reading them.

  9. I don’t read many excerpts, but I don’t really have a good reason. I just prefer to get a review and a blurb when I’m choosing a book. Though that said, if I want to know if I’ll like a writer’s style of writing, I’ll read a sampling.

    I never thought about it, but your reason for not reading one- not wanting to get any good scenes spoiled for you- is a good one and I do like to read stuff in order.

    • Same here I prefer to read reviews, look at the cover and read the blurb when deciding whether to read a book or not. Samples can be great for getting a feel for the authors writing style, although I still dislike reading them.

      If I do read a scene I prefer it to be the first chapter as else it just feel off to have read a later scene already.

  10. Oh, this is SO ME! In theory, excerpts make total sense to me… only I hate them in reality! 😂 Basically, I dislike them for the same reasons you do. Because I want to just READ the thing! The only way I don’t *hate* them is if it’s the actual first chapter or something (and the book is already released!) I used to do that with Kindle, how they let you read a little bit before you buy? I found that to be quite helpful, but that’s because I was starting at the beginning, and then I could just one-click have it if I liked it! But just some random pages from Chapter 10 in a book that releases two Februarys from now? Pass!
    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted…#ShatteringStigmas: Guest Reviews!My Profile

    • Exactly! I love the idea of excerpt and I can see how they can be helpful and at the same time I hate reading them. I do prefer to read the first chapter if I do read an excerpt, but I still dislike that as well, but it’s better than reading an excerpt from later in the book.

    • I agree I rather just read the book and skip the excerpts, although I’ve seen some well picked excerpts and teasers, I still prefer to avoid them.

    • Weird how such coincidences happen. I had that recently with my post about trigger warnings, in the week before my post I suddenly saw two blogs I regularly visit talk about something similar.

  11. I never read excerpts at all, but I’m not sure why. Maybe laziness lol.
    If a blurb intrigues me, I’ll look at the reviews, the worst ones first (if a book has only glowing reviews, I will be wary of it…because I can’t imagine a book pleasing everybody)and then I’ll decide to take the plunge and read it, or not.
    What I love on the other hand, is a catchy sentence from a novel. It usually gives a good feel for the book.

    • Fun fact I actually did use the look inside function when deciding to accept the review request you sent me for Forever Hers. I liked what I read and your writing style and that’s why I said yes. So sometimes I do read excerpt and they can be helpful.

      Most of the time I look at the cover, read the blurb and then read the reviews and then decide whether I want to read it.

      I do agree that a catchy scene or quote can give a good feel for the book.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Saven Defiance by Siobhan DavisMy Profile

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