Oooooh this post will surely ruffle some feathers, but you know me, I gotta speak on it so here goes:
- Should books be returnable items?
- Should readers be allowed to review books that they’ve admittedly did not finish or returned?
I will be the first to admit that I’ve returned a book or two in my time. They either offended me on some level, or the writing was just so bad that I considered it a defective item and returned it. Did I feel guilty? Hell nah. I felt at the time that I didn’t get my money’s worth so I was justified in returning it. That was until I came across a Facebook thread where a lot of authors bemoaned:
My immediate reaction:
But then I went back and really read some of the comments, and the authors were saying things like Amazon shouldn’t allow returns once their book is purchased, I’m losing income blah, blah, blah…But then there was one comment that gave me pause, and that was something to the effect of “I consider returned books theft of intellectual property”… Hmmm…
How is returning a partially-read book theft of intellectual property any different than receiving an ARC, which I could easily manipulate and pass off as my own or sell to the highest bidder? Or are they considered two different things when one is purchased and the other gifted? I’m just thinking out loud at this point, but I get it though. I see both sides of the coin.
As a consumer, if I spend my money on something that doesn’t deliver what sold me on it in the first place, am I not entitled to get my money back? Writing a critical review is an alternate solution (But who really takes reviews that seriously? If you wanna read it, you’ll buy it anyway right?), but why should an author be rewarded by getting to keep my hard-earned dollars?
As an author, I’d be hella pissed too because yeah, a returned book affects not only my bottom line, but my sales rankings and visibility, not to mention the mental or emotional toll it must take on you when you see the ratio of sales vs. returns.
I’d like to hear some other opinions on this. I haven’t returned a book in a long while, but my Kindle graveyard sure is growing. I could buy a new pair of boots if I could return some all of those books.