The more a person reads, the more they have to develop a personal attitude towards front matter. The majority of front matter content elicits the same response–neutral turning of the page. The title page, colophon, table of contents. It’s supposed to be there, but doesn’t ask for any attention.
Then you get into the stuff that is a little harder to ignore.
Depending on the person and the book, a preface or introduction is not a big detriment to the book. This may extend so far as the acknowledgements and even a prologue. Again, depends on the person, and to a lesser extent, the book.
I think the more you have to look at the front matter of a significant number of books, the more annoying some of this stuff gets. Especially when it comes to more amateur fiction. I find that the more unknown a person is, the bigger an ego she or he has. So they think their prologues are absolutely essential and genius. They spend a full page on acknowledgements.
I don’t know about other people, but I do not open a book hoping to see a gushing passage about how wonderful the writer’s wife is. Is she in the story? No? Then go on being happily married in your private life and don’t bother me about it. I don’t know you. I don’t flipping care.
Whatever happened to the short, cryptic messages? Such as, “To D–you were right.” Those were cool.
Too much of this stuff makes it hard to ignore, especially in crappy Kindle books that take pages and pages to get through copyright information, author ramblings, incessant mentions of their other crappy books, and an acknowledgement longer than the first chapter.
They are getting hard to skip. Please, amateurs, check the ego. I did. My first CreateSpace novel has five lines for acknowledgements. The others all have none.
I thank my friends and family in person.