[i]In an attempt to pull this back to the original thread... I was looking at the returns over the last four months and the VAST majority (i.e. 90% of all returns) were from Amazon.com. / (USA)
UK/DE/IT etc returns made up the remaining 10%.[/i]
The percentage processed through the .com store are reasonable when you remember that the .com store represents most sales to English speaking countries outside of the UK. i.e. US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, etc. etc. etc.
Since you write short stories, just do your best to make the customer understand that they ARE short stories and at least you'll ensure that they aren't being returned because people feel cheated by their possible brevity. Then take the one that shows the most returns and have it checked by a copyeditor to get a professional opinion on its quality. It would be wonderful if Amazon gave a general reason for each return, but I don't expect that to happen as I've been asking for it for two years. Indies need more marketing data if we're to produce better products, but Amazon doesn't like to share.
I'm sure The Powers That Be know exactly what's going on. It's a matter of money - what it costs to process the returns vs what it costs to police them. When the latter outweighs the former we'll see a change. Personally I think we should all be wary of publicising this problem on the web: it's just informing people who wouldn't otherwise have thought of scamming that they can do it and get away with it.
my return rate is up on all my titles across the board. there has been notice of ppl buying through the series and returning. last year at this time my return rate was around 2% or less. now its mindblowingly higher - mind u that these r on the same titles.
"Returns were horrible for me last month and I am one who got a whole series of 12 books returned by at least two people." -- martitalbott
"Two weeks ago, I watched as day after day for eight days, someone returned each book in my 8 book series. It indicates that someone purchased a book, read it, returned it, then bought the next etc, etc, etc." -- scribblr
It's hard to watch the world going down this road. The lack of ethics in general just keeps growing. Someone who would intentionally buy, read, return, and then buy the next one definitely lacks moral fiber, which is going to reach far beyond stealing a book.
It's the same lack of ethics shown by pirates, and by people who write scathing reviews to either puff their own books higher than a competitor, or take a bite out of an Indie. It reminds me of when my neighbors were enjoying a summer afternoon in their backyard, while somebody was sneaking through their front door to steal their television. (No, I don't live there anymore
sigh I know. Sometimes people get blinded by their own sense of outrage and don't stop and think about the wider repercussions if they start shrieking about how wronged they have been. I found my book pirated on a website a month or so ago, got it removed, but I saw loads of authors in the same genre as me also pirated on that site. I contacted a lot of them privately through GR, twitter etc, but I kept it on the down-low because if I just announced what the site was I'd be basically advertising it to those unscrupulous people who are looking to download our books for free.
"I have read about 14 books written by authors on these forums and they all had typos except for three. "
I agree that it indicates a problem when somebody is loaded with typos, and some Indie books are NOT ready for prime time. No argument there. (sentence fragment
However... I've seen typos in the Big Six published books, but I don't see reviewers picking those books to pieces and pointing out every typo. If an Indie makes a boo boo, it gets blown up fifty times bigger, but if a traditional author makes a boo boo, nobody says a word. That's why the Indies are so upset.
In addition, traditional books are padded with positive reviews before they even hit the masses. These are not reviews from some Joe who bought the book and left a comment. They are solicited reviews, designed to create buzz and good ratings. If later a regular Joe hates the book and gives it one star, it doesn't kill the book before it even leaves the gate. It's already balanced.
Also, if a traditionally published book gets a few bad reviews, the publishing houses are behind the scenes working to "rebalance" the load. God help the Indie who does the same. It is a double standard.
Then you have the issue of what makes a typo? "Publissing" is obviously a typo, but what about words that the author includes knowing they are not in the dictionary? The book I'm working on includes the word "skedaddle" which my spellchecker flagged. I didn't look it up in the dictionary because it doesn't matter, the word belongs there right or wrong. It was not used in dialog which is forgiving, but in regular narrative.
My book also includes fragmented sentences, knowingly and intentionally, because they illustrate the point where perfect wording would not. Sometimes you fly in the face of the perfect standard if it enhances the story. Does that make it a typo to be blown up to trash the author and kill their sales, and then holler that they aren't allowed to defend themselves either in comments, or with solicited reviews to rebalance it?
Certain reviewers read traditional books looking for a good story, and they ignore the flaws. They read Indie books specifically looking for flaws. THAT is why the Indies are hollering.
Addendum: In another thread I brought up issues such as grey/gray and toward/towards. Whichever way you go it should be consistent throughout, but what of the reviewer who flags you for what they consider to be the wrong choice? You don't see reviewers picking on traditional books for such issues, but God help the Indie who makes an unpopular choice -- not a WRONG choice as both are allowed, but an UNPOPULAR choice from the reviewer's standpoint.
Yes, Indie's should do their utmost best to release books which are as error-free as possible. Some Indie's are not ready to publish and yet they do. But what of the traditional books that just plain s*ck, yet are prominent due to the publisher's ability to garner good reviews, pay for placement, and so forth?
I'm sure I'll get thrown under the bus for being vocal, but I have this thing about fairness, and double standards really get under my skin. Too many Indie's are afraid to market, post links, get the word out, etc. because of these issues, which is probably why the reviewers are doing it. They attack, the Indie goes underground, and dies before he even had a chance.