|Kindle and Writing Pad|
It's not new, but lately I've seen several authors pushing another petition, this one to get Amazon to change their return policy from 7 days to 24 hours. Here are a few of my thoughts...
First, from a readers point of view, when I buy books I don't always read them right then and there, sometimes if a book is on sale, I will buy it and then read it in a few days. Limiting returns to 24 hours limits a readers options to buy a book on Thursday, if they get paid on Thursday and then read on Saturday. Also, like a lot of other readers, I can buy multiple books. I am not going to read all of those in a few hours. As to a comment one author said, legitimate readers would never return a book. Not true. I've returned exactly 2 ebooks, both the same day as purchase. One was an accidental buy, when my son got hold of my Kindle and the other didn't offer a sample read and ewww... the writing was that bad. If I'd had a sample I never would have bought it. So legitimate readers do sometimes have reason for return. Granted, these were both within the 24 hour period this petition calls for, but what if I hadn't read a book until 3 days after purchase? What if the book had cost $8.00, (it had better be longer than 5 minute read,) and it was crap? What if the sample was good but the formatting fell apart throughout the book, or it got worse the further in I got. Should I be out the $8.00? Actually, I probably would because I have books I hate but didn't return, but that doesn't mean others shouldn't have the option to let an author know they didn't like a book by a simple return.
But I don't think that's even the whole point. I also am looking at this from the view point of an author. What if Amazon does change their return policy? This isn't the first or even second petition to request this, so I don't think it is likely, but what would that mean to authors? We already know that there are a lot of ebooks out there of low quality. We know that indie authors get a bad rap for books not being up to editing standards. Now, Amazon takes away return options and legitimate readers are afraid to take a chance on a new author... or worse, Amazon implements changes in their policy that makes it harder for indie authors to publish. I don't want the gatekeepers back. I want the readers to be able to decide what they want to read, even if that means they may buy a book and then return it. I don't believe that most readers that return books are trying to scam the system. I don't believe that Amazon doesn't keep track of returns and penalize anyone that tries to do it on a regular basis, after all, they are in the business to make money. I also don't believe they are going to allow authors to dictate their policy, and if they do, I don't believe it will be without consequences. I remember a similar petition about book reviews and sock puppets and now we have to worry about reviews being removed. I don't want to have to worry about books being removed too.
In the end, I think that while returns are frustrating, it is something we have to live with, unless we want to inconvenience and seriously limit options not only for all of our readers, but for authors as well.