Good morning everyone!
Today’s a little different as I thought it’d be good to discuss some of the issues plaguing authors.
As many of you may have noticed over the last week, a reader’s interaction with an author has been going around on social media. The basic gist of it is the reader contacted the author saying how much she loved the author’s books, but had to return them because $.99 and $2.99 is too expensive and the author should make all of her future books free, since, by the reader’s logic, no one should have to pay for the stories in her head.
Let that sink in a minute.
No one should have to pay for another’s art.
A few months back, there was also a story of an author that lost a good chunk of her income from people returning her books after reading them.
I’ve had it happen to me a couple of times with my novellas, and I know of others that have had the same thing.
Out of all the things that we have to worry about as we try to build our platforms and find our way, this adds to the list. The lone saving grace of it is it doesn’t hit all authors, at least that they know of, so many don’t consider it an issue. There are others that are hit hard by it, but their stories are often lost to the nether region of the internet.
For many, this has been a brewing topic for a while as Amazon allows seven (7) days to return an ebook despite offering a sample and reviews to help the buyer decide, while, from what I’ve heard from others, not allowing returns of downloaded games. We’re given all the tools necessary to make our decision, so the problem then becomes, why allow a return at all? Amazon’s biggest competitor, Smashwords, doesn’t allow returns because of the samples and reviews, and honestly, there is no reason not to know if we’ll like a book or not within the first 15-20 percent.
The question then becomes, how do we fix it?
One good thing that did come out of the mishap between the author and reader is a moveon.org petition asking Amazon to not allow returns on ebooks where more than 15% is read. I don’t want to turn this post into a call of action post, so I won’t share the link here.
I’ve said many times before that unless a file is corrupt, a return shouldn’t be allowed except for a new copy of the same file. I’d also like to add the accidental buy to that list, with a reasonable timeframe of an hour or two. Maybe also having the customer fill out a, “Why I’m Returning This” form would help dissuade such actions?
Do I have the answers? No, but I do think this is a discussion that needs to take place.
As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.
Until next time, my friends, let your imagination fly!