The value of Kindle free samples to academics

One of the great things about Kindle ebooks is the ability to sample. For academics and historians this is most useful in the case of anthologies of stories or books made up of academic articles on a topic. What someone like me generally wants most is the introductions to these, and one can usually get all or most of them via the “10% free sample”. For instance, Ann and Jeff Vandermeer’s wrist-snappingly heavy 7lb anthology, The Weird: a compendium of dark and strange stories (Atlantic, 2011), has two forewords by Michael Moorcock and the Vandermeers. I was very keen to have these, although not willing to devote two months to reading the other 750,000 words. I got both for free, by downloading the free sample.

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