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I know that returns are a reality. I realize that some books are not worth the space they are written on. I realize that people purchase Kindle books by mistake. I get all of that. It really annoys me when a short informational ebook is returned (okay -it annoys me when any ebook is returned). If someone can read an ebook within an hour, get the information they need, write down the steps, and return the ebook, then A) they've just obtained the information from the ebook for free, and B) they've essentially stolen the ebook. Returning an ebook with good information that is less than $2 is a sign of a serious cheapskate. It's not only annoying, but unethical as well.
 

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I don't think very many people do that, and if they do that very often, don't you think Amazon would freeze their account? Returns are just a function of the number of sales.
 

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The majority of what I write is in serialized format. Within 72 hours of release, during which time the book is discounted to $0.99, I always have three or four refunds. The first couple of books, ok, that's understandable. But when you get to the 9th and 10th book in an ongoing saga? I'd like to believe it's accidental purchases, but I do worry that I might have a few readers who are "serial" refunders. In the end, you have to chalk it up to it is what it is and cost of doing business, etc. If they didn't enjoy what they purchased, let them move on and reclaim their money.
 

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I'm just annoyed by returns in general.
I feel like saying "read the preview, people!"  Amazon offers a generous preview of the book and if you can't figure it out from that, the blurb and the cover, then maybe you should be using your local library.

I really wish that Amazon would reduce the number of days allowed for a return to two, the number of returns per person to just a few (since I have no idea how many returns people get away with now) and that people would have to state the reason for the return.

By doing all that we could actually try to figure out exactly what is wrong with the book to make people return them. Right now it's just annoying.
(Can you tell I had one today?)
 

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I'm just annoyed by returns in general.
I feel like saying "read the preview, people!" Amazon offers a generous preview of the book and if you can't figure it out from that, the blurb and the cover, then maybe you should be using your local library.
I suspect a generous return policy cuts down on angry one-star reviews, so I'm in favor of it, myself. I don't doubt it's misused to a certain extent (the fact that erotic books almost always have a higher rate of return seems to suggest this), but I think it's preferable to giving displeased customers no recourse other than writing scathing reviews.

I really wish that Amazon would reduce the number of days allowed for a return to two,
I doubt most people get around to reading that quickly.

the number of returns per person to just a few (since I have no idea how many returns people get away with now)
I assume that serious serial returners are dealt with. It can't possibly be in Amazon's interest to allow people to get away with endless returning.

and that people would have to state the reason for the return.
People aren't always terribly articulate about what they disliked in a book. I'd hate to start getting emails from Amazon that say, "Four people have told us this book sucks. Fix it." :eek:
 

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MegHarris said:
I suspect a generous return policy cuts down on angry one-star reviews, so I'm in favor of it, myself.
Well, that's a good point. And I supposed if people were required to leave a reason for the return they could just make things up like "It sucks!" to hide the fact that they finished it :)
 

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LOL, Quiss, I finished editing my comment and came back to find that we'd both said exactly the same thing. :) The unfortunate truth is that "it sucks" is all you may get out of many readers. Not everyone can analyze why they hated something-- they just know they did! And yeah, readers are not going to say "I read this in an hour and returned it," so they will probably just default to "it sucks" or a similar statement. I don't think making people give a reason for returns would be beneficial.
 

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I hate returns with passion. I wish the return button would disappear if reader passes 70% or 80% of the book. It's just annoying to see returns for 3rd, 4th and so on book in a series because the first book is free, so some people believe they should get the rest for free, even if they liked them. Once I got a review saying the person loved the first book and that it was the best book ever, but that they wouldn't be paying for the others.  ::) I could totally deal with a one star review as long as I get my $.  ;D
 

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I've been buying all of my books through my Paperwhite lately, and it's really easy to buy a book accidentally, and even easier to return them. In fact, the "return this" link is right above the "close" button on the "you just bought this!" notification screen. It just takes a brush of the finger.

I don't think returns mean as much as writers think they do.
 

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smreine said:
I don't think returns mean as much as writers think they do.
I'm going to hold on to that thought. It always feels like a bit of a kick in the hiney when I see a return.
I tell myself that if it doesn't also come with a negative review then the return wasn't because the reader didn't like the title, but it still bugs me.
 

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On some stores for apps you only have 30 minutes to return a digital purchase. I like that system a lot because it allows the accidental purchases to go back, but isn't enough time to read a book (or play a game.)
 

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TexasGirl said:
On some stores for apps you only have 30 minutes to return a digital purchase. I like that system a lot because it allows the accidental purchases to go back, but isn't enough time to read a book (or play a game.)
That's not the best policy from a consumer standpoint. I seldom start to read books within thirty minutes of purchase, and there are sometimes problems within the book itself that might make a reader want to return it (bad formatting, awful editing, whatever). I've never returned a book, personally, but I've butted up against that thirty minute return window on Android appstore purchases, and oh man, is it infuriating.

I think this is a continuation of Bezos's belief that profit will follow the best consumer experience possible. A seven day return window is ample for that.

They do shut off accounts that show signs of return abuse, though.
 

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Quiss said:
I'm just annoyed by returns in general.
I feel like saying "read the preview, people!" Amazon offers a generous preview of the book and if you can't figure it out from that, the blurb and the cover, then maybe you should be using your local library.

I really wish that Amazon would reduce the number of days allowed for a return to two, the number of returns per person to just a few (since I have no idea how many returns people get away with now) and that people would have to state the reason for the return.

By doing all that we could actually try to figure out exactly what is wrong with the book to make people return them. Right now it's just annoying.
(Can you tell I had one today?)
All of the above, especially "read the preview, people!" I'm sure that there are some returners who treat Amazon as a library thanks to their liberal return policy. I wonder precisely how they police the habitual returners since it's not just the authors who lose money, but Amazon as well.
 

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I like to assume that people think they're buying a paper book, then return it once they realise it's for Kindle.

And I like it a lot when some reviewers won't accept a freebie. They insist on paying. Beautiful.
 

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I offer Reprobate for free in return for reviews. I noticed people buying the book instead because they are intrigued by the story, but don't want to spend the time to write the review. I also have a beta reader who helped me improve Peccadillo. I send him a free copy of Peccadillo, but he said that I put in the work and I ought to be compensated, so he bought a copy on iTunes.

I don't have many returns. My short stories are free, and my novels are 100K+, so not many people can read the whole book in a week [which I think is the maximum period before you can return your book].

In any case, a return trumps a bad review. A bad review costs more than the few dollars in royalties lost in a refund.
 

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Various thoughts responding to posts here.  Not in any particular order.

I've been a moderator of a Kindle forum for over four years.  And without a doubt, there are people who buy books, read them OR save them offline and then return the book.  People have posted here to that effect.  Not so much, anymore, as it's very clear that our culture here on KB is that that's NOT an appropriate behavior.  So those people rarely post here.  But they exist.  And if a few post here that they do, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  I still don't think it's most readers, but they're out there.

Based on the same anecdotal evidence, apparently, it's really, really easy to buy a book by accident if you read samples.  I don't, and rarely buy a book by accident.  I have bought a book on occasion for purposes of testing something here on KB and then returned the book.  I apologize to the authors of those books.  Though I don't think James Patterson or Stephen King were much bothered by it when I did it with their books.  ;)

Probably an argument could be made that the seven day return window is a bit overly generous, but I think two days is not enough.  Many companies have generous return policies and it works well for them.  Radio Shack and Nordstrom come to mind.  Their customers respond by shopping there first. No doubt that is Amazon's goal.  ;D  I would consider it a cost of doing business and do what companies with those kinds of return policies do; include that cost in your pricing policies, as much as possible.  It's going to be a fact of life as long as Amazon has that policy.  Obviously that's easier to do if you have a lot of sales and just a few returns.  But if you have a significant number of returns, perhaps you need to consider that there are more issues than just customers taking advantage of the return policy.  Just sayin'.

Note that Amazon will refund for books that have serious formatting issues even after the seven days, in recognition that many books do not get read right away.

As an aside, I have bought an app by accident, and apps are generally not returnable.  Though if you throw yourself on the mercy of Amazon's CS, you can get your money back for a rare occasion.  (Same with Apple--I was stupid once and downloaded the wrong version of the app; they refunded my money.)

Anywho, my .02 worth.  Or maybe less.

Betsy
 

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I agree that the return policy probably cuts down on pissy reviews, so it's a net positive for authors.  I usually get around 2% returns per month.  I I don't see my usual number of returns by the middle of the month, I start to get nervous! 
 

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The world is full of mooches. They download from pirate sites, buy-read-and-return, etc.

But you know, they aren't worth losing sleep over. It's the people who value our work enough to buy it and keep us writing that we need to focus on.
 

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The only thing Amazon cares about is the customer, and they will dictate their entire business with them in mind. Because of this, returns will always be honored no matter how many authors complain. Best to just get used to it because it's never going to change.
 

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scoutxx said:
The only thing Amazon cares about is the customer, and they will dictate their entire business with them in mind. Because of this, returns will always be honored no matter how many authors complain. Best to just get used to it because it's never going to change.
You say that like it's a bad thing.
 
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