I absolutely agree with the period being too long. I only get one or two returns a month, but with the price of my book being what it is (and the price of a kindle itself kinda suggests the reader isn't so strapped for cash that they can't "lose" £1.91), I'm 99% certain the returns are just those tricky buggers who know the system and choose to exploit it.
It's been mentioned that Amazon does stop allowing returns for customers who request too many, but all the examples I've found have been customers purchasing expensive electronics for resale, then returning with stupid reasons if they're unable to sell them.
Or customers abusing the complaint system and requesting partial credit on a lot of items.
I think 24 hours is plenty of time for an ebook return, or better yet, that returns aren't allowed at all, UNLESS there are technical issues or the ebook hasn't been downloaded yet.
Most other sites don't allow returns of ebooks at all, or unless the ebook isn't downloaded.
I had someone purchase one of my novelettes (12k in length) 4-5 days ago. One was returned today...they had plenty of time to read it, and Amazon certainly has never emailed to inform me of any technical or quality issues with any of my titles. In over 4 years, I've only had 23 total returns, and am pretty certain all but 4 were 'mistake purchases', with a sale and return showing on my sales report at the same time.
The other 4, which includes the novelette I mentioned, I'm pretty certain were purchased, read, and returned. The first three titles were in the same series.
Book 1 purchased, returned a day or so later, book 2 purchased and returned 2-3 days later, then book 3 purchased and returned 2-3 days later.
I've averaged 3 returns a year the first 4 full years of sales. This year has 11, beginning after I put a few titles into the Select program. I won't be opting anything else into that, because I think people who don't catch a book on a free promo day might just buy, read, and return because 'it was free'.
I agree that it is way too long.
It doesn't make sense to me. The customer has the chance to read a preview of the work, read the blurb about it, other customers reviews, and look at the cover art. If they choose to buy it after that, I think they have all the facts on what to expect and no refunds should be given.
Buying a book is a risk no matter what format it is in. (print or e book) Not every person will LOVE every book they purchase but that is the way it has always been. I have never bought a book from a book store or even Amazon and thought I could get a refund just because it wasn't my personal taste. Even using the bad editing argument, that should be visible from the preview.
When I buy a book I always am careful to read the blurb, look over the preview, and even skim over the reviews. As a customer as well as an author, I know that if I don't take the time I could end up with something I don't want to read, but I don't fault the author because I couldn't be bothered to look before I buy.
There is no way you could buy a book at Chapters, read it, then return it and say I didn't like the book.
I don't think liking the book should have anything to do with it, if they read it, refunds should not be given.
The only time I think a refund is appropriate is instantly after a book is purchased. If the person accidentally clicked on the wrong book. But to prove that, the refund would have to happen within 15 minutes/ 1/2 an hour of purchasing.
Even giving a day to decide on getting a refund is not right because I know I can easily read a book in a day.
Some people I am sure are honestly refunding for appropriate reasons but I think it gives certain people unlimited access to a "free" library and robs the Author.
If Amazon won't change this policy they should at least monitor refunds and flag customers that are constantly refunding and take away their ability to refund. Or even if there was a way to track what pages have been looked at, the way our kindles tell us percentages, it would prove beyond a doubt the book hasn't been read through.
I have no idea if that is possible though.
... Just my opinion.
I agree. Returns are offered as a customer courtesy, however 7 days for e-books return is extremely long and there should be a coding/feedback as tracking so we can know why book is returned. Mistakes in purchasing do happen but it doesn't take 7 days for a consumer to realize they hit the wrong key. After purchase you have to go to continue to confirm, so in my opinion most are opportunists reading for free.
Doesn't bother me one way or the other. Are there always going to be a few thieves? Sure. Any retail business knows this, and factors in pilferage as part of the overhead.
Most real readers, in fact the vast majority, I think, will pay for and keep the ebooks they download.
And most of the thieves and scammers almost certainly wouldn't have been genuine customers to begin with.
I don't look upon selling ebooks as a kind of fishing - "Aha! I hooked one!" - or return/refunds as "Oh, damn! It got away."
Sure, refunds are a bit disappointing. For everyone, But if you're getting a lot of them for a non-extreme book (wild or bizarre sex, violence, or politics, or the sort) there's likely something wrong with your writing, or the production values, or both.
Also, pilferage of an ebook doesn't really cost me anything. It's atoms and electrons. I didn't lay out any money to create this single, particular object, which money is now lost to me along with a physical object if someone steals it (reads it without paying for it).
It would indeed be nice if every potential reader were genuine and pure of heart and use the Look Inside feature to read enough of the book, along with scanning relevant reviews where such exist, to make an informed and lasting decision, but that just isn't ever going to happen.
So, it doesn't bother me much one way or the other.
I would agree with a 3 day return. Most people tend to read the samples beforehand, so there really isn't a need for an extensive return period.
Additionally, if you buy an APP from Amazon, you can't return it without a nightmare. Not even if it is 10 minutes later.
I've read on other forums about people who will read an e-book and then return it, simply because it is so easy to do. It doesn't mean that is the reason for all returns, but on some it may.
With that being said, unless you are getting high return volume, I wouldn't say that you should be too alarmed. Pay attention if your title is getting a lot of 1 star reviews and it might give you some insight into what is going on.
I know of a few authors with 10k word short stories that get a bundle of returns based on the size. Since people will give a full length story away for .99, a number of readers have come to expect it.
Again, if you're getting a lot of returns for a non-extreme book (wild or bizarre sex, violence, or politics, or the sort) there's likely something wrong with your writing, or the production values, or both.