Let’s Talk: Bonus content for books…does it *actually* make a difference?

bonus content

I can’t predict whether you guys will like this topic or not. It’s a bit of a strange one in the way that I’d literally not thought about it until a certain book started bothering me for this reason.

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.

So let’s talk…Does bonus content in books actually make a difference?

what do you mean

I don’t mean preorder gifts. Those things I love. I mean, I don’t preorder things often, but it’s nice to get a little gift for doing so.

But like I said, that’s not what I mean.

I just mean content in general. Like bonus chapters, or a novella, or even a sneak peak into the first chapter of the next book. All these things that are advertised on book covers, hoping to make you buy that particular copy.

That’s what I mean. And that’s what has been bothering me lately.

how can it be bad

Admittedly, it’s not. If I’m waiting so long for a book in a favourite series to come out, I want as much content as I can get.

Which is kind of where the problem lies. Because I honestly think that “bonus content” has turned into a “who can sell more of this book” battle between stores.

I’ll explain better:

This has basically come to mind because of Sarah J Maas’ next book, Empire of Storms. Oh how I love the series, and I’ve been waiting for this book for a year. So I should be thrilled about having some more of the story, right?

Well it would…if there weren’t so many different versions of it.

Here’s the situation – There’s signed editions, and books that aren’t signed. Then it was announced that a store in the US would have special bonus content in the versions they sell. And then another store in the US do the same thing, but apparently they have different bonus content. And then here in the UK they chime in too, and now apparently we can get a bonus content chapter too if we buy from a certain store.

So now, it’s not just the book being released. It’s become more about “which edition are you getting?” Because now there’s at least three different versions – signed, and the 2 different US stories. If the UK one is different from both US versions, then that’s three different bonus content stories out there. If it’s the same, there’s still two different versions.

I feel like I’m making this confusing.

But my point is, there’s all these options…but why? What’s the point? Why can’t all these different bonus content stories be smushed together and published as a novella? Surely we’d be more excited for that?

All these different “bonus contents” no longer sound like something we have as a treat. It sounds like all the different stores are trying to win us over – which, granted, is their job. Of course they want to earn as much money as they can. But it’d just be so much nicer if there was ONE bonus content story, sold in whichever specific shops want it. They’d still earn money compared to the bookstores that don’t have it, and all of us who want as much content as possible will be able to get it, without worrying we’re missing part of the story.

what are you saying

Would I buy a book purely because it has extra content? No.

Would I want the extra content if I was a diehard fangirl of the book? Absolutely.

Does it actually make a difference when it comes to whether I will buy the book or not? No.

Will it make me buy the book from a different store? Only if I liked the store in the first place. Otherwise, I’ll stick to the ones I usually go to.

I’m aware I just sound like a rambling mess right now, complaining about something petty. Sure, it might seem pathetic to some that I’ll complain about not having a few extra pages.

But when bonus content is announced, that means there’s extra little details to the story. Even if it’s just a few pages, it could make a world of difference. And after waiting a year for the book to be released, I don’t want to feel like I’m still missing part of the story, because the people who bought a different edition are talking about that little extra bit.

It’s not nice feeling like you’re missing out on something you love so much.

Other than that, I DO love bonus content. It’s always nice knowing you can get a little bit extra. Honestly, I wouldn’t buy a book purely because it has bonus content unless I REALLY love it, but still. It’s nice.

Now it’s your turn to join the discussion!

What do you think of bonus content? Would you get excited about a book you having some?

Would it bother you to know there’s different versions, and you might be missing out on one?

Has this sort of thing happened to you? Have you ever had to debate about which edition to buy because they all offered different things?

Join the discussion in the comments!

Until next time…

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43 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Bonus content for books…does it *actually* make a difference?

  1. I love extra content, but it can be frustrating when every single retailer has a different edition! This happens way too often, especially with really popular authors. I understand that each retailer is trying to get you to come to them, but it’s too much.

    Anyway. I have a hierarchy to determine my exclusive purchases. I’ll usually go for exclusive cover art or inside art first, especially if it’s limited edition! My second choice is novellas or short stories. These only come second to the art because I know that the novella will eventually find it’s way on to the internet for me to read it. The least enticing extra is a signed book. I loved signed books and I have/will buy them, but it’s not the same thing as actually meeting the author and get it autographed yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah I love your hierarchy! I feel like I’d be the same – special artwork is always limited edition so they seem the most…important? I don’t know which word to use. And I get what you mean about signed books! I only have a couple of signed books but I bought them in store, it’d mean so much more to me if I had met the author though. Still, I’ll buy them if I see them and wanted the book already, since it doesn’t affect the price. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I admit I am generally underwhelmed by “bonus content.” Sure, I’ll buy a “deluxe edition” of a book if it’s sitting in front of me and is the same price as the “normal” version, but I will never go out of my way to buy bonus content. Maybe I’m just a grump, but I usually think this content is kind of boring, even if I’m a pretty avid fan of the author. I actually don’t really like most short stories from most authors; I think they’re better at writing novels. And while an “interview with a character” or a little appendix might be fun and cute, I won’t go out of my way to buy it. If I really wanted to know what the bonus content was, I might just go to Target and read the short story in the aisle, but I am definitely not going to buy a second edition of the same book just to get a tiny bit of extra content.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wouldn’t say you’re a grump, because I’m exactly the same!I definitely wouldn’t buy a second copy of a book, and I wouldn’t go out of my way for a little bit extra either. Usually I don’t bother at all and just find the extra story online or something eventually. I think the most I’d do is like now, where I haven’t preordered the book yet, I just debate whether to buy it from my usual place or go for the bit extra. And it’s only a debate because I’ve not preordered it yet!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I do notice that some of this “exclusive” content occasionally does end up available online or assembled into a e-book of short stories or whatever. The possibility I’ll be able to read the content later just makes me even less likely to buy it in the first place.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I totally know what you mean! I haven’t found this problem too much with books yet, but definitely with preordering albums. Bands will say like oh at this store you get different album artwork, at this one it’s signed, or buy it from us for an extortionate price and get loads of extra songs and merchandise! It’s really frustrating, especially if you love something and you can’t afford the best one, or you’ve already bought another copy and then found out there was some special version you missed. But anyway, back to books, like you said, if I’m a big fan of a series and a book is released with bonus content etc then I’ll definitely buy that copy. But otherwise, if a book is new to me and it advertises bonus content then I might buy it, but if I can just get the normal copy cheaper then I will. Thanks for such an interesting post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed!
      And yes that’s exactly how it is! It’s just hard not to feel like you’re missing out on something no matter which edition you get *shakes head*. Normally I’m not bothered about the bonus stuff, but like I said, I’m a huge fan of that series and will want to know if there’s a little bit more that people are talking about.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I view bonus content in books the same way I view special features on DVDs. It’s nice if there are some, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to search for a special edition from a specific store just for an extra. I’m here for the main event. I think if extra chapters are included then the author should make them available on their website for everyone to read. They usually only include a bit of background information anyway, as if they were vital to the story then they should be in the main part of the book. There’d be outrage if authors started missing important parts of the story out and saying you had to buy it from a particular store to find out what happens. lol. It’s really just a way for stores to increase their sales, as they know there are die hard collectors out there who will buy every edition for their collection, and if it entices someone into their store rather than a competitors then it’s more profit for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know. Knowing that what was once a nice treat for people who can get a little bit extra for what they buy, and it’s now turned into a competition between stores, is a little bit frustrating. Sure, I’m not too bothered by bonus content because like you said, if it was really that important, it’d be in the actual story. But still, I’ve seen a lot of people becoming frustrated when trying to decide which version to buy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I like bonus content if I really LOVE a book, but otherwise I tend just to skip over it. Extra stories and novellas always tend to feel a bit too separated from the actual story for me, and I would rather there just be another book! This is a really interesting topic, though!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Interesting topic. For me it makes no difference. If the extra content is there, then great! If not, then I am not going on a hunt for this one specific edition with something extra in it.
    Unless we are talking about Harry Potter books… then I might make an exception!


  7. I will admit that I was annoyed about America getting so much extra content but now that the UK gets a bonus chapter I am happy. Maybe it’s still but I think I will feel glad to have this special edition and know that my copy has a little something extra. I am a die hard Sarah J Maas fan though, I wouldn’t care about bonus chapters for anything else. I liked the comparison someone else made in the comments that it’s like DVD’s having deleted scenes etc, I’d never thought of it like that before!
    I am really rambling now, but yeah I don’t usually care about extra content but because it is Sarah J Maas I know I will treasure this book and be so excited when it arrives! If the UK hadn’t gotten any extras then I would be really angry about it so I am very biased.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m the same, I’m only bothered because it’s Sarah J Maas!
      Before the UK one was announced, I think the rest of the world was annoyed that the US got more than us. Sure, we can get some in the UK now so it kind of softens the blow a bit.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. This annoys me so much. The same happened with ACOMAF. Some stores had the book with a bonus story of two characters. They announce these things late. I mean, they announce the extra bonus content of EoS a few days ago when a lot of readers have already pre ordered EoS. Why don’t they do a novella like you said? Or put the bonus content on every book? No, they have to release like three different things in different stores. Ugh! As I said, this annoys me… a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am a fan of bonus content and will always opt for the title that includes more when it is an option. Currently, I have not read anything tat includes a hefty amount. Although I recently discovered that there appears to be some novellas for Red Queen?! *Noting to check into that*. I treat my books and films the same, if I enjoy it give me more, more, more. I guess I am greedy like that. I do strongly dislike when bonus content is released way after the fact though. That makes me feel cheated as a reader 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. I suppose the more you like the story, the more you’ll want bonus content. It’s definitely not right for it to be announced after people have already bought it though – like you said, you can feel cheated out of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have so many mixed thoughts on this. I haven’t started reading the Throne of Glass series so I don’t really care about this particular book having all these different editions, but just in general the thought of this is really annoying. Like you said, I can understand why it’d be appealing for certain stores to have a specific edition that ONLY they can sell. But I have problems with it for a couple of reasons. 1. This discourages people from buying from an indie. Already most people don’t and this just adds to that and makes it harder for indie bookstores to compete with big chains. 2. Very few people are going to be invested enough in a book to buy multiple different editions just so they can get 3 different bonus chapters or whatever else is included. So really readers aren’t gaining much from it. I don’t think it’s going to make a difference either. The people that are going to buy a certain specific edition were likely going to buy a copy no matter what. I don’t think by including extra content, people who didn’t have any interest are all of a sudden going to want it. Maybe it’ll be the final push for some people who were on the fence about it, but in general I don’t think it’s going to have the effect that publishers are hoping for.
    ANYWAY, I’m starting to ramble and I don’t trust myself enough to keep going AND make sense, so I’ll stop lmao I can’t help it, I have a lot of feelings haha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t apologize for rambling, that’s basically what my blog strives from ahaha! 😀
      I completely get what you mean. You’d hope that to most places, the things they sell mean more than how much money they make out of it, but no. Understandable, but it’s still sad. Sure, it might push someone to buy from a different place, but even then it’ll probably only be a one-off thing. The stores won’t get that much of a bonus from it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! I think the only people who would really get any benefit from it are hardcore collectors. The store having a special edition might give them a little boost but it’s highly doubtful that they’re going to get new long-term customers because of one edition of one book. And like I said, most people won’t care enough to buy multiple different editions. I don’t know, I just don’t see how it could be that beneficial to anyone, really.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I never check out bonus content. Even if I love a series, a 32 page novella isn’t worth it to buy separately because I already know the end result. The only exception to this rule, for me, was Stars Above. That book was ALL bonus content. But it was enough to make it into another book. These novellas and sneak peeks do nothing for me…the Selection has, like, 6 extra books. It just feels like it your adding to the original story, move on. If you’re doing it because it is essential to the story, have at it, but don’t make it be separate. Don’t make 3 editions, like you were saying. It’s just more money off the same premise. I read UnStrung, a book between Unwind and Unwholly from Neal Shusterman. The story filled in some holes, but the holes were already pretty covered in book two. So I say, I think the only bonus content should be discussion questions for classrooms, and maybe novellas that can be a whole book like Stars Above. Otherwise, put it in the damn book!
    But that’s just how I feel. My rant is done, lol. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love it ahaha! I’d much rather them be in novella form, I think that’s the only time I’d spend money on bonus content. I don’t think the bits at the end of books make the price go up at all, so really the debate is just between where you buy the book from, since I’d have spent the money on the book anyway (if that makes sense). Still, like you said, it’s not essential to the story, but should be added to every book anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well I like the argument. Some people love the extra stuff when it comes to books like Harry Potter, but I just don’t think it’s necessary to the core plot.
        But then again, it’s like bonus content on a DVD: who watches that? The same people that like bonus content in novels like it in movies!!

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Ugh why can’t there just be one edition with the bonus content? Or if it’s too much bonus for one book, publish it as a novella like you said. They’re commercialising it WAY too much :/ I get that they want to make money – hell I WANT them to make money, so that bookstores don’t disappear, but this is not the right way.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Personally, I don’t care about bonus content. I hardly ever read novellas anyways. If it was like an exclusive cover or had inside art, I’d be down to buy that. But I just hate novellas haha I also think its a money grab, like you said, each store is competing for our money. If they all offered the same thing, we’d just buy from our regular store. But since they’re all offering something different, there WILL be those people that buy more than one copy of the book just to have the bonus content.

    Also, I read the comment above about not wanting bookstores to close — which I 100% agree with. But what irritates me about some of these “special editions” in the US is that they are sold by freaking TARGET. Target is NOT a bookstore and they make plenty of damn money off everything else they sell. They literally have one ONE aisle at my local target for books, so they should not be getting their own personal special editions of books. That irritates me so much. If there is going to be bonus content, at least put it in the actual bookstore’s copies. /rant hahah

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THAT is a very good point! Bookstores have enough competition as it is now that E-readers and Audiobooks are a thing, so it’s hardly fair for popular general stores to be taking the “best” editions.
      As for my own input, all these editions of EoS has actually turned me AWAY from buying any bonus content, because if I’m going to miss some anyway, then what’s the point? I’ve literally just preordered the book…without bonus content and not signed. I bought it from one of the two places I always buy from. If I want the bonus stuff, I’m sure people will talk about it eventually on the internet!


  14. Most bookstores which offer these kind of extra content are located in the USA or UK, so I never have access to it anyway 😦 I’m just not willing to pay 30 dollars + extra for shipping for only a couple of extra pages or the author’s autograph. But I do get jealous when I see others who got the bonus content 🙊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True! It’s not fair to people who can’t get hold of them for whatever reason, whether that be because they’re from different countries or they can’t buy then soon enough etc etc. I don’t think it’ll take long for whatever bonus content is available to be talked about on the internet though

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Honestly I care so little about bonus content that I had never thought about this before. I usually buy used books, and if they’re new I just get the cheapest edition. I just want the basic book, I don’t care about extra chapters or whatever. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I pretty much ignore bonus content, since most of my purchases are audiobooks (the few times that there is an excerpt at the end, I always skip it). But that said, I am 100% opposed to having different special editions with different content. You shouldn’t make your fans purchase more than one copy of a book just to get everything.

    Liked by 1 person

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