I often head straight for the fiction and literature section in my local Barnes & Noble and scan the shelves. I may pick up a book here and there with intent to purchase but 9 times out of 10 I spend my time looking for author names I know or recognize and seeing what they may have new that I haven't read yet. I may pick up a "new to me" author and browse through the first few pages then head over to to the romance section and do it all over again.
The first thing I look at when I open the book is the acknowledgments page. Who did the author thank? Did they mention their editor and agent? I must admit that when I find a book without that acknowledgement, I put it back and feel a little sad that the author didn't thank them. I don't think it's because I'm an agent because it's a habit I've had all of my life and it doesn't prevent me from buying the book. It's just something I thought about today.
I don't do this when browsing the eBook shelves. Not all eBooks are available to "sample" prior to purchasing (which is a huge peeve of mine and a discussion for another time) and those that do don't always auto-open at the frontmatter of the book. The frontmatter of a book usually consists of the title page, copyright page, acknowledgment page, table of contents and maps or "legend" pages in fantasy and sci-fi books. Most readers want to get right into the book when sampling (or so it's generally assumed) and therefore these pages are usually coded to skip when the eBook is opened. They can be navigated to via the table of contents or by the reader "flipping" back through the pages by hand.
Even with these, I navigate to the acknowledgments page (on the books I purchase) to see who the author thanks and why. It doesn't take away from the book or the author if they didn't thank their editor and agent but it does sadden me when their time and effort isn't acknowledged by the author.
What about you? What's the first thing you do when you pick up a new book off the shelf? Do you do the same thing with an eBook?