Monday, June 24, 2013

E-Book Returns and Freebies

Warning! This blog post is a rant!

Which I don't do very often, just sayin'.

But is it just me or do any other authors out there feel like a doormat? 

I’m talking about Amazon’s e-book return policy. It is seven freaking days long! 

Most people can read a book in seven days and that’s exactly what they do. They buy the book, read it, and return it. And then don’t even say thank you or leave a review about it. I’m sure there are a few people who accidentally click the buy button when they meant to click the sample button, and those are legitimate returns and usually happen within minutes of the purchase. But why do we need seven days to return a digital book?


I’ve heard about people even bragging about doing this. They’ve admitted it on blogs and claim that it is the only way they get to read so many books that they wouldn’t necessarily get to read. People, believe it or not this is just another form of stealing. You talk about all the pirate sites offering e-books for free without the author’s consent and here we have a legitimate site that we all trust and use practically doing the same thing.

This goes along with the current trend of FREE E-BOOKS. Another fellow author friend of mine has an awesome post about this and I’m going to direct you there in a minute, but before you go, I just want to put in my two cents here for it seems they may be worth more than my books. It seems like people just wait for books to become free so they don’t have to purchase them. Am I guilty of downloading a free book offered by an author? Yes. But to tell you the truth, I think I’d feel better about them if I had actually paid at least .99 cents for them. In fact, I have recently changed my opinion on this whole free e-book idea. BTW – If you’re waiting for mine to be free again, you can stop right now because I won’t be offering my books for free anymore. I did in the past, thinking it was helping my book’s ranking but it didn’t because the minute the free promo was over, my ranking went right back where it started. I think I must have had about 30,000 free downloads of my book when I offered one for free way back in December 2012 or there about. That’s a lot of readers who should have put some sort of review up on Amazon by now. But unfortunately, I do not have 30,000 reviews. Not even close. Which tells me, not many of those downloads resulted in someone actually reading my book.

I do offer some for .99 cents though, this does count toward the ranking. In fact, some are only .99 cents right now, can't say for how long though. And KDP has the borrow program for prime members which amounts to more $$ per borrow than an actual sale does, so there is an up side to the KDP select program.

But getting back to Amazon’s return policy, allowing readers to read an entire book and return it, essentially means that they are getting our books for free that way too. It seems like the publishing world has a way of sticking it to the “off list” authors one way or another. Before we had a difficult time finding agents and publishers unless we had an in or a super book, which I'm sure a lot were and overlooked. Now we can’t make a dime whether we are published or not. Oh sure, there are tons of success stories out there, but still this current trend of free e-books and Amazon’s return policy worries me and in all honesty is it really that good of a thing? You tell me and if you have a success story because of offering your book for free or you have thoughts about return policies, I'd love to hear them.

Here is the link to that other awesome blog post I mentioned about free books.

Just to clear the air a bit, I love Amazon and the KDP program, and this little rant of mine is in no way meant to slander Amazon or insult any of my fellow author friends who continue to offer their books for free.


Thanks for reading.

8 comments:

  1. I honestly didn't know you could return an e-book within 7 days. I have accidentally hit buy instead of sample and got a refund. As for the free ones. This is how I have found some amazing authors, but I really do understand your points in this post.

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    1. Yes. And many readers do it and use the money they are refunded to do it again. It is stealing. That's great that you've found some amazing authors, I hope you left a review and thanked them for the free book, but many don't do that and many don't go on and buy the author's other books like it's supposed to work and simply just wait until the author offers them for free again. Offering free books is to help introduce an author so that readers will want to buy their other books. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It is my opinion, and some others that could be hurting the industry for sales.

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  2. I think it's ridiculous. If I buy a book at BN (store), take it home and read it, decide I didn't like it, can I return it for a full refund? I honestly don't know. But I think it's a chance you take with anything. When we used to buy LP's - we might buy them because of one big hit song and then hate all the other album cuts. It was the risk we took. With digital materials, there aren't even any bent pages or soiled covers to show that someone did, in fact, read the whole thing. I think there is room for some adjustment in Amazon's policy. Two cents!!!

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    1. I think you can return a paperback book. But it does have to look brand new. Thanks Pam.

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  3. I've downloaded well over 1,000 free books and will admit I've read less than 50. They sound interesting, which is why I downloaded them. I almost always do a review though because I think that's fair when you get something for free. I just prefer to read paper books I get from the library. I swore I was going to read an ebook a week minimum several times, but I immediately reverted to all paper except when I travel.

    One commenter on one of my reviews said she didn't trust my reviews because I freely admitted in a couple of reviews that I had gotten the book for free and I was probably a professional reviewer. Well, duh, they're free to all if she made the effort too. I'm also no 5 star wonder reviewer either, so if I was a professional reviewer no one would want to hire me.

    I don't think you should be allowed to return books (other than the accidental wrong click and an immediate refund request, I've done that too, Michelle)after reading either. You got the blurb, can look online for reviews, excerpts etc. but, there's never a guarantee with a book.

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    1. Amazon gives every view the option to read a sample of a digital book before buying. I think they should limit their return policy to a twelve hour period or less. When you buy a movie on TV, say from Comcast, you don't have the option of saying, oops, wrong movie or I changed my mind. So why should be with books?

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  4. Wow, I didn't know you could return an ebook. I figured the few that I had hit purchase instead of sample was my own stupid fault and I would have to suck it up. I will admit that I found this rant a bit funny as people have been able to get free books from the library for a very long time. And with the new electronic lending programs available, you can even borrow ebooks from the library. So, will those looking for the free find some way of getting it, sure. No system is perfect. Can this one use some fine tuning? Of course.

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    1. Thanks. and I agree. People have been sharing paperback books for years as well as getting them from libraries. But not all books are available from libraries. And the library only has one or two copies available for lending, so people have to wait if it is already checked out. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your comment.

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