Should e-books be returned?

HONESTY is the best policy. Isn’t that what we have always been told? If so, then why is it so hard to be honest without getting ripped a new one?

I saw a post today in a book group and actually cringed when I read it. Not because I found the post offensive, but because I knew what type of comments that were about to flood that post. I felt bad for the person that wrote it. I’ve seen this subject over and over on many blogs and pages and it always stirs up some controversy.

I’m not posting any names so I will just use the word “they” or “the/this person”.

The post: The person said they had read the first few chapters of the book (No book/author was mentioned) and hated it. They also said they would never finish it. So they wanted to know if…

The book could be returned to Amazon and if they could get a refund?

*insert cringe* 

Yes, very touchy subject.

I didn’t want to read the comments but I couldn’t help myself because I’m a woman and I tend to be nosey from time to time. Just as I thought, there was some nasty comments. Not all, but most. I thought about posting a comment, but hell I was afraid I would get ripped a new one also.

After reading the comments I thought, What if this person is new to reading? What if this person is new to following blogs/groups/pages? This person, I’m assuming is just asking a simple question, not knowing that this one simple post is about to stir up a shit storm. I also thought this could possibly turn the person off from ever posting a question about anything book related again. Hell, I know it would probably make me think twice about it. Isn’t that the purpose of these groups/pages/blogs, to have others that you can confide in about certain questions/opinions/thoughts without being judged?

I seen in the comments that there were many different opinions on the return policy that Amazon has in place. I haven’t gone back and looked at the comments since earlier, I’m sure they’re a lot more by now or who knows the post could have been deleted by this point because the claws were coming out.

So what are your thoughts on the Amazon return policy? This question is for readers, bloggers, authors, and whoever else wants to chime in.

In my personal opinion, I don’t agree 100% with the policy. Is 7 days too long for a person to decide if they want to return a ebook? Hell, I can finish a full length book in a few hours, but then again, some may not start on the book for a few days or months, so it’s hard to say exactly what is the correct amount of time you should have for a refund. I believe a better system needs to be put in place on the return of ebooks. Like if you have read past a certain point you shouldn’t be eligible for a refund.  I realize these authors put in a ton of hard work and their own money into getting their books out there for others. I have honestly only returned a few ebooks and those were accidental purchases and was returned within a minute of the purchase. I normally one-click a book even if I’m not planning on getting to it for a month or so, just because I feel like I have to have it on my kindle right then, so the return policy thing never crosses my mind unless I see a post or something that gets me thinking about it or I accidentally purchase an ebook.

I think the main problem with the Amazon policy is not just the policy, it’s those who chose to abuse it. For instance, if you purchase an ebook, read it, then return it just because you have finished it within the timeframe it still can be returned then that’s stealing. Like I said this is just my personal opinion. I realize everyone has their own and even if we disagree I’m fine with that. I’m not going to hate you or call you names. Let’s agree to just disagree.

Here is a question that is mainly for authors. Would you rather have a book returned or receive a bad review? Yes, I know sometimes both happen, but I’m curious.

Other things that come into play with all of this. Samples.

I do read the book samples sometimes before deciding if I want to purchase a book. Sometimes the samples give you enough to know if it’s the type of book you will enjoy and other times the sample isn’t enough. Either way, I think if people utilized this more often they wouldn’t be as disappointed if the book didn’t meet their expectations. For me, the sample shows the authors writing style, which for me is a huge factor in whether or not I would be able to enjoy the book or not.

Should those who returned books get to write a review? I’ve seen many 1 star reviews saying “DNF. Returned book.” Those reviews tell me nothing so I normally ignore them. How do you feel about those reviews? I’ve seen many say they should be deleted.

Feel free to comment your opinions. This is a judge free zone here. Keep it classy my book loving friends.



Filed under Amazon Policy

10 responses to “Should e-books be returned?

  1. Peggy Twigg

    I think the max time to return a book should be no more than 24 hours. That should cut down on the amount of people that read and return a book for a refund(stealing!!) If you read the excerpt about the book, that should be sufficient to let you know if it’s the type of book you would like. If you have any questions after reading the excerpt, look up the author to see what type of books they write.
    And, no, I don’t think if you return a book (DNF) that you should leave a review. If you didn’t read the book all the way through, then you’re not actually qualified to leave a review of the book fairly. Don’t ruin it for another reader who might enjoy the book.

    • I wouldn’t have an issue if the refund timeframe was cut down. I think it might make readers put more thought into purchasing a book. I have never rated a book below 3 stars, mainly because if it was less than that I probably didn’t finish the book and felt I didn’t have enough sufficient information to write a review. So I agree with you about those who have not completed a book shouldn’t write a review, but if they do I would like to know what was the reason they didn’t finish. Sometimes those 1 star reviews are the reasons I actually buy a book, because some of the things that are listed for the low ratings is what I like in books.

  2. PR Mktg Sales blog/Lisa S.

    Good post. It’s a topic that is controversial and garners much negativity on Facebook. I wonder how big a problem it really is. Maybe the refund period could be shortened.

  3. Amy Doxsie Kenyon

    The only books I’ve ever returned were accidentally clicked (sometimes even with the help of a cat jumping up on my desk and onto my hand that was on the mouse…grrrr) but were always returned within a few minutes of buying them. I think if a person reads even a few chapters they shouldn’t be able to return, and especially with the reason they didn’t like it? Would a store allow you to buy a candy bar and open it and take a bite and decide you don’t like it and return it for a refund? NO they certainly don’t. So if you read even part of a book then no refund!

    • Ha ha, my cat does that too! It also likes to type messages to people when my Facebook is left open on my laptop. I think you made a great point. If I start a book and can’t get into it I just move along to the next one. I like to keep all my books, unless it’s an accidental purchase. Sometimes my mood can make a difference on whether or not I can get into a book. On rare occasions I will stop reading a book I’m not feeling at the moment to read a different one. Then later on I might give the book another try and actually enjoy it.

  4. As an Author (which I am) it’s a disgrace and insulting when a “reader” returns the ebook within an hour or a week. I don’t think ANYONE should be able to return at all, no questions….It’s taking away our hard earned money that we spent months on working. It’s not a cheap industry. So I get LIVID every time someone mentions they are returning or see a book that I worked so hard on get returned the next day. No Fair and Amazon NEEDS and SHOULD change their ridiculous rules.

  5. Michelle Mcloughney

    I can’t say it bothers me too much. I think Amazon should look for a purchase pattern though, If there is a customer who is continually returning, then they should be asked why are they buying books after the sample has been read and then returning. I have no issue with people doing it once in a while if they read something that they find triggering or offensive, or absolutely hate the book a couple of chapters in.Money is tight for many book lovers and such is life. I would rather a return than someone reviewing and saying they hated the book, not based on writing etc just hated it. I’m happy with all reviews I have received. I have had two readers who 2* one of my books and I probably learned more from those reviews than I did from the 58 positives on the same book. When you take on the role of author, you have to expect both negative reviews and returns. I do think Amazon need to be more vigilant when it comes to customers who read and return on a continuous basis. Though, to be fair most readers love reading and are honest about what they read. I have published three books now and have felt nothing but gratitude and respect for the readers.
    In terms of numbers, on one of my books has sold a thousand copies and had approx 6 returns . I’m happy with that, and happy to be doing what I love within an industry (self-publishing) that allows me the freedom to be creative and sell, without having to join the slush pile in a large publishing house. For me, the positives will always outweigh the negatives with self-publishing, and Amazon has made that possible.

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