Open Book

Finally, Google Book Search will carry you to a page where parts of Slow Road Home can be viewed.

You can see the front and back cover in color. You can peruse the table of contents.

And you can see parts of many but all of not so many of the 108 vignettes in the book. Why? Because I chose the option to make 20% of the book readable.

But I would have chosen to make more contiguous pieces readable so once a potential book buyer begins reading for the flavor of the book, they could complete the thought to the end of the piece. With the exception of a couple, none of the short passages in the book is longer than two pages, so I’d have been happier to have the limit at two contiguous pages. But Google didn’t give me that option.

And I find this read-from-the-book function doesn’t work for me using FireFox. I have to switch to MSIE. Will you let me know if your experience is the same? I’m in communication with Google about this, and they were unaware of the problem with FireFox. I need to know if it’s just me.

I’m wondering how much I’d give away to make the whole book readable. Would that make it MORE likely for a browser to purchase the book, or LESS, having access to it all via Google Book Search? Your thoughts…

(If this way of seeing excerpts doesn’t work for you, I’ve pulled some together on the book website, here.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Dunno, Fred. I’m using Firefox (w/NoScript, Adblock) and have no trouble with the reading function. No difference between that and IE7.

  2. I’m running Firefox on my Mac, and I had no trouble viewing the pages. Also, I had near continuous pages up to page 36 (I think it was). Only a few pages were not included, so I was able to read whole pieces to their ends.

    As for using excerpts as a means to induce buyers, I’m not sure what to say. That doesn’t work for me. I generally read books because I am familiar with the author or someone whose opinion I respect has recommended a given book. I’ve found too many times that when I read an excerpt used as a promotional device, I’ve read the very best passage in the book and the rest of it can’t compare. So I’m leery of this as a promotional means, but it may work for others.


  3. I’m with gin and pablo, mo problem reading the excerpts (and stumbled upon some I had forgotten, I see I need to pick it up again). Firefox

    My experience with books online has been that the free books end up causing me to buy additional efforts by the same author. I like being able to try a new name without having to drop a lot of money first.

  4. It’s working for me with “Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.10) Gecko/20070116 Firefox/1.0.4 (Debian package 1.0.4-2sarge15)”

    Venerable versions of Firefox, in contrast to gin and gary’s up-to-the-minute versions.

    I find the excerpts more than adequate to make an informed book-buying decision.