I read that the UNITS REFUNDED column means the numbers of books that purchasers have been refunded for and that a purchaser can receive a refund within seven days of the purchase. Is this true? If it is, that means, people are getting free books and authors are not receiving royalties! A book can be read in a day. Therefore a reader can read my book, request a refund, get their money back, and I don't get anything for the sale?
Every retail business has a refund policy and this is often required by law. Amazon has a liberal refund policy of 7 days which I consider a good thing.
Few readers will actually do what you describe. Unless there's some problem with your book, you'll find that returns average around 1% and are no big deal. Wouldn't you rather someone returned a book and received their money back than leave you a negative review because the they're stuck with it?
Considering that Amazon's ebooks can be bought with only a single click, it's very easy to accidentally buy a book you didn't want or maybe had wanted to borrow instead, so I think it's a good thing that you can get a refund.
And of course, people can abuse it, but it's the minority who will ever do it. I doubt most people think it's worth the hassle to have to rush through books and then request a refund. I, for example, wouldn't buy a dress, hide the price tag, wear it to a party same night and then return it, but there's a few who would.
Same thing with books! I really think most refunds are because of buying by accident, or because of large flaws in the books bought.
There are so many newcomers worried that people are buying, reading, and returning ebooks, I'm beginning to wonder if there's a public message forum somewhere where people are bragging about doing this, and that's why everyone is so panicked about it.
I'd guess most returns that show at the same time as a purchase in our reports were mistake purchases, instantly returned because the reader didn't mean to hit the purchase button on their Kindle. It's automatically highlighted, so it's very easy to do.
Some readers are going to want their money back if they start to read an ebook and discover it's badly formatted or badly written. Or if the heroine/hero is dumb as a rock, or a number of other things.
But most who've mentioned their return rates on the forum put them at less than 2% or lower. Very low, in other words.
I had one instance where it crossed my mind someone had done just that, but it was a few years ago. My only 3 returns for that year, as a matter of fact.
Book 1 was purchased, returned the next day and Book 2 was purchased the same day.
Book 2 was returned two days later, and Book 3 sold. Book 3 was returned a couple of days later.
I didn't have many sales back then, and so those were like my only sales that week, easy to keep track of.
Since then, it's almost always been a purchase and return showing up at the same time, so likely mistake purchases.
There's only been two that I think the reader bought, read just a portion, and decided 'this isn't what I thought it was' and returned.
So I still think it's pretty unlikely there's a big group of readers 'gaming' the returns system in order to read for free. After all, there's loads of free books on Amazon. No one has to game anything to get free reads.
I have a self-pubbed book that's been up for nearly 2 years. Sales are low volume, but steady. In the past 3 months, I've had many more "refunded units" than I've ever had. At the most, I'd been seeing 1 refund a month out of an average 30 sales per month, usually none at all. Lately, it's 3-4 some months.
At what point will Amazon contact an author with information about whether there's a problem with a document itself?
Is it worth reuploading to check for quality, or is this perhaps something more insidious (people reading and returning within the 7 day period) to avoid paying? I just got a 5 star review of the book a few weeks ago with no mention of problems, so I'm beginning to wonder.
I have an unusually high number of returns this month. In my case, I'm getting them on almost all my books (20), so it is hard to figure out why. Is there something wrong with the downloads suddenly? I can't see how since I haven't changed anything in the past three or four months.
Eleven of my books are in a series, so if I have 2 returns for each book, it has to be readers reading and returning. No one makes 11 mistaken purchases in the same series, right? Oh well, nothing I can do about it. It is a little irritating, however. I hope they don't tell all their friends how to do it.
You also have to remember that many Kindle users have books on their Kindles that they haven' read yet and will most likely get to reading your book well after the 7 day period. Returns are very low for my books and this has not been an issue for me.
I've seen several forums where people have mentioned on short stories, they will pick them up and return them as soon as they have read them. Their feeling is that the short isn't worth the price and they should be able to pick it up for free.
As long as your returns don't go above 2 - 3%, I wouldn't worry about it. I have books that have never had a return on them. The one short I have does have more returns, but no negative reviews. It's a toss up.
When I first contemplated how to release my book, it was either the pomposity of the traditional publishers or the high unfair costs of self-publishing. I chose Amazon for e-book and their Createspace for paper back. Though many warned about piracy etc and yes this dreaded refund policy, what can you really do. Authors don't make money anyway and if there is a low life (as opposed to someone who accidentally selected, though that is questionable) who feels a book can be ordered, read/copied whatever and then returned then that is what we live with today. I am not labelling all refunds but I think Amazon shouns be "business ethical" enough to say NO to book refunds. I hear that all retail companies have refund policies but this has plenty room for exception. The end result, what can you do?
Yes I agree with you 100%, as a point in fact, My sales for my paperback books is steady with around a 2% return rate, yet my Kindle books (same titles) have a 99% return rate... so yes that seems to suggest that YES they are being read and then returned. Where as it seems not to be a "quality" issue as my paperbacks and hardcovers do not get returned. I am seriously thinking of dropping my Kindle books account, as it seems to have cost me many sales.
Then I SHOULD be worried, as my Kindle sales are at 99% return! and my paperback sales are at 2% return, my hardcovers are at 0% return (statistics for the last 4 months of sales).
This e-book return policy is bunk!
99% return rate seems like a issue with the product.
I have sold tens of thousands of eBooks via Kindle and the return rate is less than 1%. Most occur immediately after a FREE promotion and people don't realize they have been billed for something they thought way free.