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Old 08-17-2011, 04:18 PM   #16
Harper Kingsley
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I bought two ebooks yesterday and really thought about returning one. The sample was really good and I was really into it and at $2.99 I thought "Why not?"

Then I get the book and started really reading it and it was basically all over the place. People running around being stupid and whatever, and then I realized that even though it was written in the first person, it kept switching tenses which kind of drove me crazy.

Can you do first person past tense, and would you want to? It's so confusing, then to switch that around about ten times... Or worse, someone writes in first person, then throws in every once and awhile a third person point of view or whatever because they like forget that it's supposed to be first person.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:38 AM   #17
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You do of course realise that Amazon HAVE to provide a returns policy by law. Certainly in the UK you can return items to the shop that you bought them from, no questions asked, within a reasonable period as long as they are undamaged (or in the case of clothes, unworn and unwashed). E-Books are no different.
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harper Kingsley View Post
Can you do first person past tense, and would you want to? It's so confusing, then to switch that around about ten times... Or worse, someone writes in first person, then throws in every once and awhile a third person point of view or whatever because they like forget that it's supposed to be first person.
Many novels have been written in first person past tense, including my own. I would say that it is very prevalent in the mystery/thriller genre. I agree with those who dislike books written in the present tense. Can't put my finger on a reason, just do.

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You do of course realise that Amazon HAVE to provide a returns policy by law. Certainly in the UK you can return items to the shop that you bought them from, no questions asked, within a reasonable period as long as they are undamaged (or in the case of clothes, unworn and unwashed). E-Books are no different.
Another piece of relevant information I missed. I guess all this stems from my personal sense that when I buy a book I accept the risk that I may not like it. Unless there is a product defect, I would never think of returning a book to a book store just because I didn't like the ending, for example. That said, I do see a difference between riffling through a book in your hand and reading a sample on-line.
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:59 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Harper Kingsley View Post
I bought two ebooks yesterday and really thought about returning one. The sample was really good and I was really into it and at $2.99 I thought "Why not?"

Then I get the book and started really reading it and it was basically all over the place. People running around being stupid and whatever, and then I realized that even though it was written in the first person, it kept switching tenses which kind of drove me crazy.

Can you do first person past tense, and would you want to? It's so confusing, then to switch that around about ten times... Or worse, someone writes in first person, then throws in every once and awhile a third person point of view or whatever because they like forget that it's supposed to be first person.
Rapid and unexplained point-of-view shifts make my brain ache. I might have considered requesting a return on that as well, if the actual text was so radically different from the sample. I think that would be one of the few instances where returning would be acceptable, in my view.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:25 PM   #20
Harper Kingsley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G J Lau View Post
Many novels have been written in first person past tense, including my own. I would say that it is very prevalent in the mystery/thriller genre. I agree with those who dislike books written in the present tense. Can't put my finger on a reason, just do.
Sorry, I meant present past tense. That weird thing where everything's in the present tense, then whenever there's some information given we didn't see, it's done in a weird past tense "I am right there in that moment, but I'm also still here in the future knowing what's going on and throwing future stuff into the mix."

Or that thing where everything's in the present tense, then to add cliffhangers or whatever, the author throws in stuff that happens in the future. "I think I'm going to be happy here. That is, until ---- throws a rocket at my head." What? If you're in the present tense, can you know what's going to happen in the future?

Idk, I feel like you should be able to get a refund if the book ends up being totally different than what you thought. But I also don't think it's fair that you read the whole book, enjoyed it, but give it back so you can get your money back. If that's all you wanted to do, why didn't you just go to the library? So 14 days seems like a long time in that respect, but not if you're giving the book as a gift when it could be days before the recipient even gets it. Tho if I was thinking about getting someone ebooks as a gift, I would just buy them a gift certificate and let them pick out what they want themselves.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
Anyhow... what I really wanted to ask, though, was what do you find so off-putting about writing in the present tense?
I find it so contrived. How is the story being recorded so that I as the reader can experience it as it happens? Third person present tense is like the reader is God, watching the story unfold. First person present tense is the worst -- I'm telling the story as I'm living it out. Really? Fighting monsters and narrating the fighting as it happens? No. Sorry, I find that completely unbelievable. If a novel CANNOT suspend disbelief, for me it's a failure. :P

JMO of course.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:29 PM   #22
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I think it is great customer service and respect for the customer. A few may abuse it, but a few are out there pirating, too. Inspiring consumer confidence is great and probably leads to a lot more sales since people have that confidence and know they can return something. As long as returns are 2% or less, that's pretty darned good--and NO cost or real loss to anyone except maybe a penny of server space.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:15 PM   #23
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I heard from a few authors and media personnel that the Agency 6 do not accept returns. All sales are final when the ebook is downloaded or accessed.

If this is true, that may explain why each retailer has different policies. To eat that loss can be expensive.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:52 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
Anyhow... what I really wanted to ask, though, was what do you find so off-putting about writing in the present tense?
It sounds wrong.
Might be just habit. I think I'd been reading quite a lot for 15-20 years of my life before I came across my first book in present tense, and I just could not get into it.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:42 PM   #25
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Heck, I've had my free book at Amazon refunded. Made me wonder what was so awful in it to antagonize that reader so. Ultimately you can't fixate on what a few folks do, just focus on the positive sales.
Yea me too.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:13 AM   #26
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It sounds wrong.
Might be just habit. I think I'd been reading quite a lot for 15-20 years of my life before I came across my first book in present tense, and I just could not get into it.
I think first-person present is difficult to sustain throughout the length of an entire novel. I often enjoy it in short stories; it gives a sense of immediacy to the narration. It tends to go over best with audiences who view the story as an avenue for artistic expression rather than as a quick entertainment thrill.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:33 AM   #27
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My three novels are in 1st person past, but most of what I see written these days is 3rd person past. I have not read any 1st person present, but I have tried to write it. It gets really awkward in places, at least for me, and just felt to unnatural to maintain. When my current series is done I might play with 3rd person past.

THe book I am reading now takes quite a bit of liberty with the 3rd person POV, as the narratore keeps interjecting humorous comments about the story in to the story. Normally I would say its a bad idea, but in this case its really well done. I doubt it could be done well in a serious book, but this one is intended (or so I hope LOL) to be more light hearted.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:58 AM   #28
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:41 AM   #29
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Quote:
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You do of course realise that Amazon HAVE to provide a returns policy by law. Certainly in the UK you can return items to the shop that you bought them from, no questions asked, within a reasonable period as long as they are undamaged (or in the case of clothes, unworn and unwashed). E-Books are no different.
Perhaps in the UK, but definitely not in the US (or most anywhere else).

Try getting a refund on an ebook from anywhere else -- short of the book file not containing the book advertised (I've had that happen twice) or a major defect (can't be opened, can't be read past a specific point, etc), you are SOL.

B&N's policy is: you bought, tough. It's like pulling teeth there, just to cancel a pre-order and get a refund (yes, they illegally charge upon order, not upon delivery; if you don't like it, their attitude is "go somewhere else, then").
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:11 AM   #30
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Even under UK law I don't believe it's correct to say that there has to be a refund policy once the customer has downloaded the book. Digital downloads are generally not refundable once they've been downloaded. You are, however, entitled to a refund if you've NOT downloaded it.
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