Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious
If the time limit for exchanging a book is set at (say) 24 hours, only an extremely fast (and dedicated) cheater could defeat the system... and I doubt that he/she will take much pleasure in reading the "stolen" book :-)
There are very few books I couldn't finish in 24 hours, especially if I planned ahead to have extra reading time.
Even ignoring the "must have functional DRM to work" part of this (what prevents someone from downloading an ebook, stripping the DRM, and keeping a copy while returning the "official" version?), it penalizes everyone who doesn't immediately inspect all their purchases.
Fast readers would just buy a book on Friday afternoon, have that evening and all of Saturday morning to read, and return it Saturday afternoon. While I can't get through Atlas Shrugged
in that amount of time, I could certainly get through a 50,000 word romance novel--and thus be guaranteed a free novel a week, maybe two if I get my timing right.
However, anyone who doesn't have time to *immediately* start reading, loses the chance to get a refund for crap. No more buying multiple books at once; customers will make each purchase separately in order to give themselves review time, and they won't buy during their lunch hour during a busy week, instead waiting until the weekend or a long enough break to have time to consider whether it's worth keeping.
Short time limits assumed to be too short to enjoy-and-return aren't going to work. (What's the time limit on a song purchase, an hour? Server congestion can prevent a request from going through in that time.)
Also: what mechanism do you have in mind to prevent double purchases? If I buy New Mega Blockbuster Novel
, the literary masterpiece that's 1038 pages in print and 350,000 words of epub, what stops me from reading 75,000 words in my 24-hour window, returning it... and buying it again next week, and picking up from where I left off?
Do you assume there'll only be one online source for files? That every user's purchases will be tracked across all their purchase sites?
What prevents someone from not keeping a copy of their favorite book, but just buying, rereading, and returning it whenever they want?
Systems based on "try first; pay later if you enjoyed it enough" don't work. We don't have the kind of cultural arrangement that would make most people pay enough to support the arts this way. "Pay if you like" methods work as *additional* income in some cases, but they can't replace "check out the reviews, pay for access/a copy of your own."