Where Should Ebook Copyright Statements Go?

amazon review pageJA Konrath broke down how to best construct the interior of an ebook this morning, and the one piece I have to contend with is what to put at the end:

12. Copyright page. Why put that in the front matter when people skip over it and it takes up sample space?

He’s put this out there before, and if you own the current versions of any of my books, you know I’ve followed the advice – it makes perfect sense.

My reasoning is somewhere in the same family, ie nobody’s reading it, so why make it the first or second thing they see?

Similar to a YouTube vid or even a blog post, don’t give people a chance to click away. Silly as it sounds, the copyright statement does this.

I’ve done it.

He suggests putting what is essentially your back cover copy first, since many people buy ebooks on a whim, only to forget what is was or why they picked it up months later.

(I’ve also done this, but not so often that I need to italicize it.)

So this is all great – it was the perfect ebook formatting…until the other day.

That’s when Amazon quietly updated their Kindle apps to automatically make the following show up after the last page of your book:

amazon review page

I can’t find the Tweet, but I begged for this some two years ago.

Couldn’t be happier it now exists, except that nobody will ever see it if there’s anything superfluous at the end of your book…especially a copyright statement.

This superfluous material might even include your about-the-author page, bibliographies, pencil sketches your brother drew of you, etc.

People won’t keep flicking through.

Here’s how this should go, if you’re trying to get someone unfamiliar with your work to read and then review it:

1) Pseudo-back-cover copy.

2) Book.

3) Review form.

Under this paradigm where you’re both snagging your reader and getting them to review your book, you can’t put all your extra garbage at the start or at the end.

Thus…

Next time I reformat my books, the copyright statement, author page, and all other informational text is going right in the middle.

Call it an intermission – if people have read that far, they’ll flick past and continue. It’s harmless and safe.

This may seem extreme, but reviews being as precious/valuable as they are, you don’t want to take a chance of someone missing that easy-to-submit form when they’re fresh off their read.

You may even place a false cliffhanger on that last page instead of THE END, just to be sure they see it.

  • http://twitter.com/milquetoast7 tamara

    Amazon ending that sentence with a preposition is giving me the anxiety, even though all grammar rules are based on political dictionary nonsense created by Daniel Webster, star of that TV show with the mustachioed dad.

    Why don’t printed paper books put the copyright at the end. Some have acknowledgements at the beginning, too – I don’t want to read about you thanking your editor and your local Starbucks barista before I can even find the first page of your novel.

  • http://brian23.com Brian

    what if the editor and Starbucks barista are the same person

  • http://twitter.com/milquetoast7 tamara

    haha. if they aren’t, they will be soon.