Evidently there is no feedback when a book is returned, and the only reason you know about it is that you get daily sales reports, so Amz needs a way to correct the report when the e-book is 'returned'. (How do you return digits, anyhow?)
Note that if you were publishing the book in paper, you wouldn't ever have occasion to know that the book had been returned. It would either be re-sold or join the other damaged copies being returned to the publisher or distributor.
Apparently this problem of returns is more acute with books attractive to students or young people generally. They download, read fast, and return it. Happily Amz is now freezing the accounts of people who abuse the return privilege, say with 10 returns or with 50 percent returns. It must really be a problem because I have seen several postings by people complaining they've been frozen out. Tough!
Hmmmm. I edited my post above and now some mysterious being has removed the edited comment and the note saying I made an edit.
There is something dishonest going on here. Not only does Amazon fail to sales reports in a timely manner--they say they compile prior month's reports on the fourth of the month and it's now the fifth and still no reports--but they delete perfectly legitimate comments/questions without any notification.
I don't know of any retailer that tells why a refund was given. They usually keep that information to them selves. No publisher or author has a zero return rate. Major distributors report an average of 15% return from retailers. my returns on Amazon run less than 2%. Unless you are above 15% you are doing better than most publishers. I try not to focus on returns and focus on marketing. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why someone returned your book.
I agree with Jerome and adventurebooks3. It's a non-sale. An important part of the picture here, which is possible with e-books and not with paper books, is that Amazon has a limit on the amount of a book you can read before your return it for full credit. I believe it's 20%.
So someone who gets into an e-book enough to realize that they actually hate it, can return it, but not someone who reads it to the bitter end.
With paper books, there's no way of knowing how much someone has read of the book. I used to work in the retail book trade, and some folks treat bookstores like libraries, buying books, reading them and returning them, until the bookstore starts to recognize them, and they move on.
The short answer is: Amazon e-book returns are legitimate returns either from someone who accidentally clicked "Buy" and never even opened it, or from someone who read a little bit, and didn't want to continue. You'll never hear why people returned books from the stores, whether the book is paper or electronic.
Are you sure Amazon has a limit on what can be read? I don't think that's true. I think the customer can read the entire book and then return it. Does anyone here have a kindle and can comment on this?
I agreed with a lot of you that it was a non-issue, because I was only getting about 1 return every 5 or 6 weeks, but this month I've already had 5!!! And it's starting to make me mad. I mean, I can understand the occasional button pressed by mistake, but I think people are just trying to get a free book. My book does not contain grammatical errors, is not a short story, and if people use either "look inside the book" or the free preview feature they will know exactly what they're getting so there's no reason to return it.
Has anyone else had a lot of returns recently? I wonder if this is a new trend?
(I just checked and my average over the past 6 months was 1 return every 2 months. So getting 5 in one month seems a little excessive.)
[i]Are you sure Amazon has a limit on what can be read? I don't think that's true. I think the customer can read the entire book and then return it.[/i]
I'm sure you're right. Suppose you're reading the latest Dan Brown symbology thriller, and the last, crucial five pages are missing. Dang straight you'd want a refund. Dang straight Amazon would be willing to provide a refund.
A more logical limit is what has been posted in an earlier thread: return five books and your account is suspended. Obviously some readers (and some books) are more prone to this sort of abuse. I can envision college textbooks being downloaded, skimmed, and returned by impecunious or larcenous college students. Likewise with easy-reading thrillers or romances--the sort of thing one might read at the beach or on the airplane and never want to touch again.
I've only ever had one book returned, and that was in a flurry of three downloads at the same time, so I suspected that somebody bought it twice in error. Clearly my books appeal to the few stolid, honest citizens still remaining among us.
I don't know; I'm relying on memory of a post on this forum some months ago. Perhaps I'm conflating it with the five downloads a Kindle account is allowed (that is, a 'family' can buy an e-book and download it to five different gadgets).
I suppose it would be more logical to restrict refunds to a percentage of purchases--i.e., if you've bought three different titles and returned all three of them, fie on you, but if you've bought thirty and returned three, that's okay.
So, 1, why is there no stated policy specific to Kindle books? (Which, assumption only, must sell more than edocs and amazon shorts?) 2, why the different treatment (assuming that it is more than just evidence of a double purchase).
Is it possible to return an ebook that doesn't work very well? I got a book which apparently was better ordered for a DX and is hardly usable/readable on the Kindle 2. Someone told me it was possible to return within 7 days but I can't find where this can be transacted. The normal return section only shows physical books I've ordered, and the kindle itself.
Go to the Kindle product page, then go to the Kindle Support link to the top right in the row of Kindle-related links. Just email Support from there and tell them that the ebook just doesn't display well on your Kindle and explain why, and they will probably give you a refund.
Ann in Arlington:
What Greg said. . . .if it's within the 7 days, you don't even have to have a good reason. Just say when you purchased it and that you've changed your mind. They take it out of your library and ask you to delete it from the device."
So as long as they return it within one week, they don't even need a reason.
I agree with suzyallain and others here that the return policy maybe too generous for purchasers of Kindle books. Since selling our book on Kindle, we've had an almost 50% return rate EACH month. We have a 100% guaranteed return policy on the physical book we sell on our own website and out of 2,000 sold so far, we have never had one return.
So I don't think it the problem is with the contents of our book. It also does seem a bit extraordinary that that many books are "unreadable" to Kindle users. Our book is less than 200 pages and I fear what is happening is that it is easy to read in less than a week and thus easier to "return", especially with a policy that is really lenient. I totally get having a guarantee as a way to make sales and we do this with our online stores (have had maybe 2 dozen returns in 5 years which we've replaced the product, and didn't have to refund the money.) So this just seems weird to me. I know it is probably helping Amazon more than hurting them but it is frustrating to their content providers.
Has having a huge refund rate been others experience with their books on Kindle and does anyone know if Amazon has plans to address this? I'm just glad I don't have material costs involved with this. (Maybe that's why Amazon doesn't care that much nor should I.) Maybe a little education for the readers on how this affects content providers would be good.
Sorry to see you are having such a high return rate. In fact, a 50% return rate seems extraordinarily high -- much higher than should be expected. Our company has 37 kindle titles and our return rate is consistently about 3% per month.
Perhaps you can help us diagnose the root cause here by giving examples of the book(s) that are having the high return rate (list the book by ASIN). I would be happy to download a sample to try and see if there is a problem with the process or the book formatting or navigation.