Kindle and Apple ibooks have free eBook samples of many books and personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea. From a reader’s perspective, this is a great way to see if a book appeals to your interest before buying it. From an author’s perspective, I’d say this would put a lot more pressure on them to write a first chapter that will ensnare the reader into the story you’ve created.
For those who have had books traditionally published, they’ve already had to impress the publishing company to get their book published. The problem with that, is impressing a few people is a whole world different to impressing millions of people worldwide.
Without these free first chapter samples, the most important part was writing a blurb that would entice people to buy your book, especially on the eBook front. With these free exerts, the first chapter needs to be almost as good as the blurb but no pressure or anything.
On a positive note for authors, at least if someone reads the sample and decides the book is unappealing to them, they won’t be leaving a one star review.
Naturally, a fantastic first chapter doesn’t ensure a great storyline but hey, at least the first chapter was great.
Of course when it comes to print books, well, if the cover is great then at the very worst it will look good on your bookshelf.