Readers Returning Books

Don't you love readers who use Amazon like a library: buying a book, reading it then requesting a refund when they're finished with it?

(Note: Prize offered today. See below for details.)

Authors Know

You can always spot the people who do this. I notice this on my royalty reports when a return shows up on the first book in the alphabetical listing of my books. I don't attach any significance to that unless I see a return is posted on the second book in the list a couple of days later.

That's when I start checking. Sure enough, a couple of days later, a return shows up on the third book. I'm pretty sure a return will show up on the other books, a couple of days apart from each other.

Last week, I spotted the third return. So I started checking every morning. Yep. This lovely reader is working his/her way through my book list. I have 14 books available.

The Good News/The Bad News

How nice that he/she loves my books.

How tacky that he/she wants to read them for free. After all, this is how I support myself.

Who will be the next author deprived of the means to make a living as this reader finishes my 14 books and moves on?

Do You Buy DVD, Watch & Return for Refund?

I'm not opposed to someone requesting a refund for valid reasons--you read the book already, you hit the buy button by mistake, the book was totally not as described--but to read and ask for a refund after reading the book in its entirety is just not kosher.

Do you buy a DVD, watch it, and then take it to the store for a refund? Do you buy a newspaper or magazine, read it, and ask for a refund? Do you buy a cell phone app, use it for a while, and ask for your money back? I think not.

Discussion Question: Prize Offered

Readers, what do you think of this practice? I really want to know. When so many books cost about the price of a newspaper or less, what do you think?

Writers, what do you think of this practice? Have you been burned by this? (Feel free to post the title of your latest release along with a buy link.)

Leave your comments through Wednesday. I'll pick a winner using Random Name Picker in a couple of days to receive a free audio book.

Takeaway Truth

Between the pirates posting my books on servers all over the world and offering them free and the readers who love to read and ask for refunds, I'm often surprised I make any money at all.
 I fear the time when artists of every persuasion will simply give up producing books, music, photography, graphic art, etc. because they can't make a living doing it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Hi, Fred. I deleted your comment because you had posted your email address as a hot link--meaning the email spammers could harvest it and send you lots of unwanted spam.

      I received the email you sent in which you asked the same question. I delayed replying because I wanted to check my house in the country to make sure the book was there because I couldn't find it here.

      So please give me a few more days. I'll email you as soon as I've checked the other house.

      Thanks for your patience!

  2. As a writer, I'm not all that keen on someone returning my digital book. The first 10% (or so) is free to read. You should know by then whether or not you want to finish the book. And if someone HAS read the whole book, they shouldn't be able to return it. Period. And there should be a time limit, because I can see someone buying a book more than once (I've done THAT and it was a paper book). So if you try to return it after so many hours (provided you haven't read it), you shouldn't be able to.

    As a reader, I don't like the fact I can't resell the digital book I bought. I can resell a paper book. I can give that book away. Or I can donate it to the library. But a digital book? Nope. It's mine and I can only delete it. I know it doesn't have anything to do with returns, but that's my one gripe about digital books.

    1. Hi, Stacy. I totally agree about digital books when it's easy to read a sample before buying.

      As to reselling ebooks, that doesn't bother me so much. With Amazon, you can LEND your ebook to other readers so I do that with people I know when it's a book they'd probably never buy themselves. I'm always saying, "Have you read so-and-so? If you haven't, let me loan you one of her books."

      There's a petition going around asking Amazon to re-think their review police. (Doubt it will effect any change because authors are the only ones really upset about that issue.) Even it there were a successful petition about their return policy, I doubt it would effect any change because authors are primarily the ones upset about it.

      Amazon does NOT favor the producers of content. They favor the customer in all situations.