Speak Without Interruption, a blog worth following, recently had an interesting article about how to sell lots and lots of your books. This article briefly discussed how to use the Internet to sell your books by providing samples on your website and elsewhere.
I wanted to add that this is a major thrust of Amazon’s marketing, where they have the “Look inside this book!” option that lets you thumb your way through the TOC, the index, and a few pages to give you the flavor of what you’re getting. Not every book has this, but I’d wager that a majority of books in print do because it’s a smart way to go.
My upcoming book, being a book for a specific audience (still can’t say at this moment), will have a sample chapter available in PDF format from a number of venues (again, I can’t say specifically yet) that interested readers can download and review. If the book looks like it’s worth it at that point, they can buy it. I’m probably going to peddle it through Amazon, even though they take a 50% bite of the action, simply because it’s worth the exposure.