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As an author myself, I am very sensitive to the subject of returned e-books. I have kept some absolute dreck, but I figured,"Oh, well, I bought it and read it; I must keep it because I should have had better judgment than to buy something like this," while still wishing Amazon exercised more oversight on what does and doesn't get published on Kindle. For what it's worth, I read across the genres, except for gory horror or anything with extreme, graphic violence.

Yesterday, I returned my very first e-book. I don't plan to make a practice of it, but here's why I felt I had to do it. It was advertised as a romantic "novel," yet I was able to read it in ten minutes. It was basically one long sex scene. No objections to those whatsoever within the context of a story, when you feel you know the characters and you understand their desire for one another.

This book basically just dropped trou and went at it, without ever even mentioning the characters' names. I absolutely felt cheated by the author's description of her "novel." I struggled with the decision mentally for about an hour; after all...it was just 99¢ at stake. But I had to make a statement about what I felt was either the author's obvious chicanery or outright ignorance, so I returned it. I was presented with a long list of reasons for the return, none of which applied, so I clicked on "Other," thinking I would be given a chance to explain the reason for the return, but alas, I was given no such chance. So it just got returned and refunded instantly.

I don't feel bad about any of it except for not being able to tell Amazon they should not allow people to publish books as "novels" that are just ten to twelve thousands words in length.

I'd love to have some discussion on this topic. Have any of you ever returned an ebook, and if so, why?

 

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Sounds like you picked up an erotica short story/novella. That's why I am very careful about $0.99 books and why I always read the sample first. I check the page count and if it doesn't have one listed, I try the file size and read some reviews to be sure it's a full length novel. I also check near the bottom of the page where it lists the categories it's under, sometimes "short stories" will be among them. Likewise, as erotica, it should be properly categorized as such. If not, you can report it to Amazon. On the book page, scroll down to the bottom, there should be a Feedback box that says:

Feedback
  If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
Would you like to report poor quality or formatting in this book? Click here
Would you like to report this content as inappropriate? Click here
Do you believe that this item violates a copyright? Click here
Is there any other feedback you would like to provide? Click here

I would go with either "report this content as inappropriate" or "other feedback" - there should be a box to explain further why you are reporting it.

Amazon merely provide a self publishing platform - by definition, they don't filter what gets published and what doesn't. That is the nature of, the benefit of, and disadvantages of self publishing. That is why I try to stay away from self published books unless they have a good enough of feedback. I do not necessarily think Amazon should become a more traditional publisher - I don't think there is anything wrong with erotica or short stories but if it's not your thing, it definitely needs to be clear about what it is so it's targeting the right audience.

I've never returned a book - I always read the sample so I have an idea of what I'm getting. I'd probably only return one if the formatting got really bad after the sample ended.
 

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Agree with HL. . . if the book was not what you expected, provide feedback via the product page. This is the surest way for Amazon to tie the feedback directly to a specific book and let the publisher know if there are problems with it.
 

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I probably wouldn't return the book in the case you mentioned; I'd review it so that other potential readers could have some accurate information about the book.  And if you think the description misrepresents the product, I'd definitely provide feedback to Amazon.

I only return books that have "physical" issues--formatting, etc.

Betsy
 

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This is a good reminder for people to check the page count listed on the book's page. Also, it's very easy to check a sample or the "look inside" feature on the web page. This sample is a percentage of the whole book, so if it is very short, the book is also very short.

The OP asked if we'd every returned a book and why. I did return a history book once. It was something like "The Patriot's daily history tidbit" or some such thing. But the intro talked about god and conservative issues ("this country's history is rooted in god" etc. - I want my history to be bipartisan) and also there were formatting issues with tables in the book - things were getting cut off.
 

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Some people just don't understand what a novel is, they see it as synonymous with "book". The boundaries are fuzzy, but a short story clearly isn't a novel. I take a look at the page count. I don't ever look at whether a book is traditionally published or self-published. I look at the cover, a crude, amateurish cover is a turn-off. Then I look at the blurb, if it still holds my attention, I'll look at the reviews. Exceptionally low reviews are a red flag, as are exceptionally high reviews. I've seen some books that had 15 reviews, all of them 5-stars. And the reviews were written strangely, things like "John Doe does it again with this masterpiece of literature." It doesn't sound like a satisfied reader, it sounds phony. Then I try the sample. That usually leaves me pretty satisfied with the read. Except for the sample, the other filtering processes take only moments.

But I can see that you would feel cheated if something is listed as a novel, and it's merely a very short story.
 

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I've returned one ebook.  I was browsing Amazon on my lappy, and must have hit the touchpad just right to actually click the "1-click checkout" button on a book I wasn't intending to buy.  I haven't had to return one that was not what I expected, full of errors, or something other than just being an absolute accident.

Not sure if that really counts, though.  
 

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I've returned a few.

At least once there was an accidental purchase.  Someone I was showing the thing to clicked 'buy' and, as it wasn't a book I was REMOTELY interested in actually reading, I returned it when I got the device back.  They were all apologetic so I used it as a teaching moment about the 7 day return period. :)

Once, I got a book that was, as in the OP, not as represented in the write up.  It wasn't porn or anything, just not anything like it was described to be.  I'd even sampled and it turned out that the sample was the only bit that was close to the description.  The rest of the book was just the info presented in the sample presented over and over again in different words.

And I think I've returned 2 or 3 that the formatting or editing was just so bad that I couldn't stand it.

I don't do reviews on Amazon, but, in the cases of the misrepresented book and the ones that were poorly produced, I provided feedback via the link at the bottom of product page.
 

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I've yet to return an ebook, but I always check page counts and the sample first to make sure it isn't poorly formatted. I have had a few returns on some of my scifi short stories though, as well as 1 star reviews that state "Loved the story and setting, but I didn't think it would be so short!" which is a bit unfair when I have both a page count and word count listed in the description...
 

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patriciabsmith said:
Have any of you ever returned an ebook, and if so, why?
One accidental purchase, instantly returned.

Since I usually read one or two newspaper and magazine reviews before reading a book, you might think I would know if I am going to finish it, but I don't. When I was young, I think my ratio of books checked out of the library to books finished might have been 5 to 1. Now I'm at about 2 to 1.

Purchased books? I don't purchase many, but sunk cost is no guarantee I'll finish.

If Amazon is going to sell books that the reader couldn't possibly have reliable information about before reading, I guess they have to expect returns.
 

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I think I've returned two. One which had really poor editing - spelling, punctuation and general formatting got worse as the book went on - as though someone had started to edit and then got fed up and didn't finish it. The other time was where the rest of the book just didn't live up to the sample and I knew it wasn't for me before I got a third of the way through.

There is a slight feeling of guilt about it and I'd feel really mean if the book was very cheap, but if Amazon provide us with this facility, they obviously want us to be 100% satisfied with our purchase - clearly you're more likely to buy from them if you can be sure any dissatisfaction can be dealt with so easily. Also, I guess authors know the score and accept it when they choose to sell their books on Amazon.

I think as long as you're not abusing the system by constantly returning books you've read and liked, then I don't think you should hesitate to use a legitimate returns option.
 

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Linjeakel said:
Also, I guess authors know the score and accept it when they choose to sell their books on Amazon.

I think as long as you're not abusing the system by constantly returning books you've read and liked, then I don't think you should hesitate to use a legitimate returns option.
I have seen where some authors have complained about returns. And I get the impression they don't see the reason why, which is a shame, because if it's something they can fix it would be good to know it. I do get annoyed when their comment is something like "but it was only 99 cents, why did they bother to return it?" On the one hand here's an author basically saying their work isn't worth even a dollar and on the other hand saying we should just donate the 99 cents to them even if we don't think it's any good either. :-\

FORTUNATELY, I see that less and less from members here. :) And most seem to realize that there's going to be some rate of return regardless of how well the book is received in general. You just can't please everyone. :-\

I agree that if you get a book and read the whole thing and enjoy it, then it is WRONG to return the book at that point. I also think the 'bots at the 'Zon are smart enough to be aware of this behavior and put a stop to it. I know accounts have been frozen or deleted for too many returns of physical items and I wouldn't be at all surprised at a similar action on an account where a person returns ebooks at a much higher than average rate.

Personally, I so rarely get to a book within the first 7 days that it's kind of a moot point. :D Though if it's ended up being really badly formatted, I've gone ahead and contacted them for a refund and generally gotten it even after the week if that's the reason. And some I've purchased that I was a bit suspicious of I made a POINT of starting right away, just in case. :eek:
 

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I've returned accidentally purchased books.  The one I remember.. I was at a mall outside with my Kindle DX.. ordered some frozen yogurt and while paying and getting the yogurt, I closed the cover (Oberon Peacock in Sky Blue.. special order, and just lovely..) and the DX had that little joystick thing and it managed to click on a link to a really expensive book on something like house painting.. in which I clearly had no interest and certainly wouldn't have paid $30.. but they refunded the money of course.

There is something to be said for the on off feature of my latest Fire HD and less easily clicked buttons.
 
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