Question: Does Bonus Material Add Value?

Posted March 12, 2015 by Carmel in Question / 41 Comments


The standard book includes the cover art, the story itself, and things like the author’s backlist, their bio, maybe a glossary of terms, etc. But, occasionally a novel goes above and beyond by throwing in things like maps, illustrations, family trees, a note to readers, a preview of the next installment, or if we’re talking audiobooks: music. Do you feel that bonus materials add value? Are there certain extras that you prefer more than others? Have you ever gone out of your way to purchase a specific format of a title to get the perks?

I have. We’re not called fan-girls for nothing! And, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of you have fallen victim to the lure of a collector’s edition at one point or another; it’s just the nature of the beast, and why publishers even bother with things like companion novels, and untold histories. Readers always want more. Personally, I don’t particularly care for world charts, or character genealogy, although they do occasionally come in handy when I’m typing up a review. They are common in epic Fantasy which isn’t a genre that makes its way onto my nightstand very often, but my husband will pull out maps whenever I ask him a LORD OF THE RINGS question, so I’m not knocking them. To each their own!

I’m drawn to limited hardbacks, signed physical copies, and I’m especially susceptible to Subterranean Press’ novellas. Every time Kelley Armstrong announces that she’s releasing a new OTHERWORLD short I have to dig deep in order to avoid spending $50+ on a 100 page story. Sometimes my willpower is up to the task, sometimes not. One of the more interesting extras that I came across completely by accident was the original music composed and written by Maggie Stiefvater that was included with the audio versions of THE DREAM THIEVES and SINNER. I knew that she was talented, her lyrical prose is proof of that, but I had no idea that her artistic prowess went beyond the written word!

Does Bonus Material Add Value?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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41 responses to “Question: Does Bonus Material Add Value?

  1. Like the The Hollows Insider with the glow in the dark cover. I don’t own any of this series in hard cover but had to have this one. I read a lot of fantasy so maps are always a good thing, especially when the characters are traveling.
    Kristina D recently posted…Some Thursday Randomness

  2. Those covers on Armstrong’s novellas are always so incredible! Yeah, I’m a sucker, too, Carmel. If it’s an author I a huge fan of, well, chances are I’m going to shell out some money for something special from them. I do prefer bonus material that adds to the story…extra scenes, or like Kim Harrison’s extras, fill in back story. I think I have the most ‘bonus material’ from Harrison. 🙂
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…Beyond the Books ~ Other Hobbies

  3. When I bought physical books, I did like a run down of the character list. I’m reading the Rylee Adamson series and the extra I like is with the first mention of each character in the book (2nd book onward), you can click on the name of the character and it takes you to a synopsis of who and how that character relates to Rylee. Big kudos to the author for that. Also, if there is a lot of traveling in the book, I enjoy a map occasionally.
    The biggest extra I would love to see at the end of a book that’s part of the series is when the next book is scheduled for release. But all the other stuff, nah. LOL
    Dolly recently posted…Review: Dark Debt (Chicagoland Vampires #11) by Chloe Neill

  4. I appreciate maps when a battle is complex, and family trees are helpful, especially with vampire “families” to chart who made which vamps. If a book series is filled with immortals who procreate like bunnies, I want a family tree. 😉

    Admittedly, I don’t use these as much when reading Kindle books (which is now 85% of my reading). I noticed a map in the front of the Kate Daniels book I started reading last night and thought, “cool, now moving on” since it was pretty, but on my Kindle I probably won’t refer back to it. I think I’m more likely to use reference material that’s available on the author’s website, so a link to that site at the beginning or end of an ebook works for me.

    So my only bookish Achilles heel are signed copies. Those I hoard like Gollum. My preciousssssssss!
    E.J. Stevens recently posted…Q+A with Melanie Karsak

  5. I guess not cause I don’t pay any attention to it. LOL. I think I did listen to the song at the end of Shadowfever, but who wouldn’t lol. Other than that I don’t really look at the extras. I have never bought a collectors edition but maybe that’s because I haven’t seen one in a book that I thought was a must have. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…Month9Books: Two For Thursday

  6. Pili from In Love With  

    As you said, I’m a sucker for extras too, we’re not called fangirls for no reason! I particularly love glossaries, maps and short stories and alternative perspectives!

    Original music composed & played by Maggie Stiefvater?? What the hell?? I don’t like the narrator at all but I’m tempted to the the Dream Thieves audiobook just for that!! O_O
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #85!!

  7. YES…especially if it’s by an author I love. And maps are crucial in a fantasy world b/c it helps me visually understand everything better. But I really only love this stuff when I’m a fan of the author, if not…I can take it or leave it type thing. 😉
    Cristina recently posted…Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  8. It’s funny because I love keys and maps on physical books but in e-books they suck because it isn’t as easy to jump back and forth between them and the story if you need too so I rarely even look at them but I do like them in DTBs so…I guess yes and no? LOL! I do love deleted scenes or extras in either as long as it adds to the story. 😉
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Claimed by Sarah Fine

  9. This is a tricky question! I don’t know that I buy many books strictly for the bonus information they might include, with the exception of a collector’s edition of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. It had pretty pictures, I couldn’t help it! The only extra I can think of at the moment that really adds value for me is a glossary. I find them extraordinarily helpful with worlds that are really complex (The Bone Season and Seraphina/Shadow Scale come to mind), and I found myself flipping to that glossary time and again:)

  10. I actually have some maps from fantasy series I read over 20 years ago, and I keep them carefully.
    I don’t read most the extra’s in a book, and I never buy an expensive edition if there is a cheap paperback. Lately though, I have gotten some books with added deleted scenes, and those I read and they are often so good I wonder why they were deleted.
    Aurian recently posted…Colleen Gleason – Rises the Night – Read for #LLC2015

  11. Depends on the series. There are 2 times that I have bought bonus material and didn’t mind doing it all. I pretty much try to get all things Pride & Prejudice (don’t ask yes I am a Darcy lover). Harry Potter is my second one (I have a lot and many sets of the books). I am sure in the future there will be things that will cause me to do the same 🙂 I am ok with that!
    Felicia The Geeky Blogger recently posted…Library Review: Wild Cat by Jennifer Ashley

  12. I love maps and genealogy especially if its a PNR or fantasy book, I like that things are explained before I go into the story like what exactly kind of monster is that or if there is a different term the author uses for husband/wife.
    Also love excerpts of the next book if its in the back. Depending on how good it is, that will have me all excited for the next book 😀
    sharoda recently posted…Taken by a Dragon by Felicity Heaton (Book Spotlight)

  13. Bonus Materials can be fun and helpful, but I don’t go out of my way to buy a book or ebook that has that content in it. A lot of the bonus stuff can be found on the authors website now or other places too. I’m more into the story!
    I do appreciate bonus material, especially if the series starts to go on and on, when an author will do a family tree like in the (Argeneau series) or a Glossary of terms and characters (Guardians of the Realms series).
    But to answer your question NO I don’t go out of my way to look or purchase the Bonus Stuff.
    Angela recently posted…Cover Reveal/Release Day Blitz: The Light at the End of Judgment and Day by Marcia Colette ~ Giveaway/Excerpt

  14. I suppose it depends on the bonus material, but YES! I don’t really read excerpts of upcoming books in the series but if a book includes a map of the fantastical world – awesome. If the book has a musical companion (such as the Maybe Someday album CoHo and GriffPete worked on together and my co-blogger and I traveled to the release party to watch the live performance) – awesome!
    Julie recently posted…That’s what HE said Thursday- March 12, 2015

  15. I used to totally be into all of that but not so much anymore. I guess it depends.

    There was a book I loved recently that if you bought the HC you would get a letter *written by the hero*. I was tempted because I felt like I was missing out on something but ended up passing.

    But I have bought books with bonus stories added tot he paperback.

    I have a lot of collectibles (my favorite books in different languages for example) but I’m running out of space.

  16. I think bonus material ads value, but it really depends on the materials whether I will spend extra for it. For example I like it when fantasy books have a map as it makes it easier to visualize things, but I wouldn’t pay more for it.
    On the other hand Kelley Armstrongs Subterranean Press’ novellas are hard to resist and while I can’t afford them, I do think they are worth money as they are great stories. I am willing to pay money for novella’s or short stories, especially when it comes to books by my favourite authors.
    I don’t care about previews for other books, because I hate reading part of a book/story, I want the whole thing, so I never read excerpts or previews. So I guess it really depends on what the bonus material is.
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: Why do you DNF a book?

  17. Nicole from Feed Your Fiction  

    I like all those extras, but I don’t usually go out of my way to get them. I’m not typically tempted by collectors’ editions (though I might buy one if I don’t already own the book and it’s a reasonable price). One exception that I can think of, though – I ordered Heather Demetrios’s I’ll Meet You There before Valentine’s Day so I’d get the special love letter from the main character (along with a couple of other signed goodies). I didn’t have to pay anything extra to get it, but I rushed to order the book so that I wouldn’t miss out!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
    Nicole recently posted…Before He Was a Secret by Becky Wicks – Review & Giveaway

  18. Interesting question. I like certain extra material, like how some authors include their playlist for the book in the back. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a mix c.d. attached and not just the list of songs? LOL I do think certain collector’s copies are cool, but it depends! I’m quite obsessed with any new edition of the Harry Potter books though.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Theming Thursday: St. Patrick’s Day

  19. My knee-jerk answer is ‘yes’. I love visual aids, explanations, glossaries and even bibliographies for certain books. I am also the guy who buys the companion books and extra stories. I love special editions.

    This said, I do not like to pay for a book that I think is a certain page count and discover that barely half of that is story while the rest is blurbs or excerpts from other books.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Crazy! A Demon and His Psycho by Eve Langlais #Review

  20. The only book I can think of where I read the bonus material was one of the Hollows books by Kim Harrison and that bonus material was soooo good. It was a scene from Trent’s POV. It was not included in the audiobook so I checked out the ebook so I could read it.

  21. Some things are totally worth it. Others not so much. I appreciate maps and family trees especially when it’s a large family with lots of connections. That can be really hard to figure out sometimes without seeing it in print. AN author note can be awesome.

    I could toss the excerpts from future or previous books. Waste of page space for me.
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…His to Take (Wicked Lovers #9) by Shayla Black

  22. Merry  

    Extras that are interesting and relevant to the story are OK. I’ve yet to see any in the Kindle books I own, though. When a preview of the next book in the series or other book is included in the page count, I get grumpy grrrrrr!!

  23. The only time I’ve wanted a specific format/edition is with two of Colleen Hoover’s books. The ebook of Maybe Someday has the music embedded in it, and the music MUST NOT be missed. And now with Confess, I want a physical copy because it has the artwork in it.
    Christy recently posted…Chase Me by Tessa Bailey

  24. I definitely want as much bonus material as I can get. I feel that the more an author gives us, then the more we can get sucked into the world. Maps are a must have for epic fantasy novels. One of my favourite authors Mercedes Lackey [fantasy] releases an album with songs she composed and either sings herself or gets others to sing which accompany every series. I love these albums, when I listen to them, I’m right there in the middle of the universe sitting in a tavern listening to the bardes play the songs.

  25. I’m not a huge fan of maps (even if they come in handy sometimes) or character genealogy either, Carmel, but I love extra novellas in series I enjoy.
    The Hollows has a few novellas out that really added to my pleasure, because some of them had other characters than Rachel as the main character.
    The Shatter Me series has two or three novellas out, too, and one of those completely changed my point of view about one of the characters – so much so that I want from hating that character to loving that character (yeah, I know… very vague – just in case, you know?).
    JA Huss has what she calls ‘End of Book Shit’ at the end of her books, and I love those! She might write something about how she got the idea for her story, or something completely different, and I love it 🙂
    Have a fantastic Friday and happy reading.
    Lexxie recently posted…#FF Friday #99

  26. meaningful “things,” — maps, deep character studies, playlists, charts, mythology, etc. — that deepen and enhance the world and the reader’s experience do it for me.

  27. I’m a sucker for signed books, but then the problem is that I want to treat it like a collectors edition and I’m afraid to read it then! Haha.

    To be honest though, I don’t care toom uch about bonus material unless it’s a series I’m absolutely over heels in love with. I usually skip over the “bonus scenes” and “book club questions” that are inserted into a book. I DO love pictures though!