Publishers often create chapter samplers and give them away. It's a great way for readers see if the story is one they want to get invested in. If I'm on the fence about buying a book, or have heard great things but want to see if the book gels with me personally, chapter samplers are a godsend. I've read chapter samplers on Facebook (where there is, in fact, a sampler of the first 50 pages of my novel The Memory of After) as well as downloaded them from Netgalley and ebookstores to read on my Nook. If I yell in frustration when the sampler ends and I want more immediately, then it's time to buy the book.
I'll give you a recent example. I happened upon fellow league member Lissa Price's ENDERS sample (the first two chapters) and after reading that, I am itching to get my hands on the hardcover I preordered. But maybe I need to order the eBook too?! What are you doing to me, publishers?
Just a word of warning on that last link - if you haven't read STARTERS yet, you should start there, and until Feb. 1, you can get the whole STARTERS novel for just $2.99.
Which samples have you wanting more?