17 Jan 2015: Front matter, back matter, what does it matter?

One of the things I dislike about reading ebooks on my Kindle, is that when you open the book, it automatically opens on page one.  Not the cover I spent so much time creating, not the title page or dedication page, not even the table of contents.  Can anyone explain this to me?  Maybe if I was just a reader and not a writer, I might not even have noticed this, but I sweat blood and tears to put all that front and back matter into proper order.   Then to add insult to injury, when you get to the last page of the book, it automatically pulls you away from anything that might come after that.  You have to hit the back button to get back to the book and continue on.  For me, my back matter contains links to purchase the other books in the series, my About the Author, and occasionally A Note From The Author depending on if there is anything I need to clarify.  My books blend some fact with fiction.  I like to make those lines clear if I had to blur them a little or the sake of the story.

So again, why does my Kindle hate front and back matter?

I kind of laugh really as I’ve seen several authors who put HUGE amounts of front matter in that probably never gets seen.  Book reviews, very long dedications, etc.  I think I tend to look at the back matter of an e-book more than the front matter.  In the beginning I’m just raring to get into the story.  At the end of the book, I’m in more a mellow mood to peruse those last few pages.

Another thing I dislike about my Kindle is that while it seems content to skip the front and back matter for my reading pleasure, it still includes it in the percentage of the book I’m reading.  I have one author I love, but she puts so much back matter in her book (preview chapters of the next book in the series) that when I’m really getting into the story, I look down and see that I’m 94% through the book, then turn the page only to find THE END.  Yes, I feel cheated out of that last 6% of the story.  I find this especially annoying as I would never read a preview chapter.  If I like the series, I’ll just buy the next book.  Why spoil it with a preview chapter.  That’s like seeing too much of a movie in a preview trailer.  If I see all the good stuff in the trailer, shy see the movie at all?

Let me hear from you people, is this just me?

-Jennifer

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2 comments

  1. LOL!! I see what you mean!

    Have you noticed that all that front matter is seen when using the “Look Inside” feature in Amazon? So, your work is not for naught. BUT now readers trying to check out the first few pages of your book to see if it is something they want to read must wade through your blood, sweat, and tears, and might get to see only a page or so of your novel.

    So, is there a happy medium? Is there a way to tell KDP where we want our Kindle to begin? If not, there should be.

    As the KDP formatter for my author, and after reading way too many how-to suggestions, I have decided to put the list of other books and the acknowledgement in the back matter so that (hopefully) more of the book is presented to the shopper.

    Like

  2. Yes, I put my “other books in the series” links in both the front and back of the book. I even put those links on the same page as THE END. I don’t start on the next page. That way the reader is sure to see them.
    I guess I’d really just like to hear Kindle’s explanation for why when you first open and Ebook to read, it doesn’t open on the cover. This really makes no sense to me at all.

    Like

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