A few days ago, as I finished The Hollow, I noticed a preview at the back of the book. Now, that's not so unusual. I've seen previews for other books before; Alyson Noël's Immortals series has them, and some of Gail Carson Levine's books do as well. However, there was a difference. While the previews in the Immortals books and Levine's books were for other titles by those authors, the preview in The Hollow was for a book by a different author altogether.
My first thought was that it was just plain tacky. It's advertising, plain and simple. And I'm not used to seeing advertising in books. I'm sure you could argue that these previews are like movie trailers. But I think there's a difference. A movie is very much a collaborative effort, while a novel was created (more or less) by one person: the author. A book is supposed to be the author's time to shine. After many hours of work, their creation is finally released to the public.
But now we've got advertisements for other books inside of novels. It kind of seems like stealing the author's thunder. Even though I didn't enjoy The Hollow, I felt sorry for Jessica Verday after seeing that preview in the back of her book. Here's a debut author who's just released her first novel. It's quite an accomplishment. And yet, there's this subtle message sent by the inclusion of the preview that this novel is not quite enough on its own. At least, that's how I felt.
Jessica Verday appears to be quite a fan of the author whose preview appears in her book, and that may be why it was included. But what about another first-time author whose book gets a preview stuck into it... a preview by an author whose books they don't like? I can only imagine how annoyed, disgusted, and hurt I would be if I wrote a novel and the publisher decided to include an exerpt from, say, Stephenie Meyer's latest book.
From the publisher's point of view, previews are probably a good thing. But from the writer's point of view? I'm not sure how happy many of them would be with some other author's writing cluttering up what is supposed to be their creative work.
What do you think? Are previews for books by other authors a good idea? Or are they just tacky?