I was enjoying the book I was reading. Having the feeling there was a good deal more to come, I fell/climbed/collapsed into bed (delete as applicable), opened the infernal machine and – behold, lo – after a single swipe found I only had one page left. My surprise was compounded by the fact that the book was written in unnumbered sections and had no chapters.
Some e-books I have read give an automatic indication of progress, for example, by indicating at the foot of the page the percentage of the book you have read. This one did not, though I later discovered that swiping in the right place brought up a progress bar – which may not be the official name for it, but it will have to do.
And there are always bookmarks with location numbers, something I now use as an aid for writing reviews. Where was that shocking typo? Ah, yes, location 3491. Has a ring to it, right?
But whatever the method used in an e-book it is not likely to compete with a physical book, where you can see at a glance how much of the book remains, whether or not you refer to chapter headings or page numbers.
Of course it can also happen with a physical book that the ending seems abrupt and unsatisfactory and you are left feeling short-changed. (I felt that way about The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee), but with a paperback or hardback the reader always knows the end is nigh. It may come as a disappointment but at least it doesn’t come as a shock. We transitory creatures like to be prepared for the end.
If pastors can help us with this, why can’t authors?