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Old 02-05-2012, 11:31 PM   #1
wallcraft
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Return and Redownload Policies

Dear Author has a devastating summary of ebook store policies in the US. From Return and Redownload Policies for Ebook Purchases:
Quote:
Amazon

You can request a refund for any book purchased within the last seven days.

Kobo

I emailed and asked if they had a refund policy and while I received a response back asking that I clarify my question (how can it be more clear?), I never received an actual answer even though I did reply that I wanted to know whether there was a refund policy.
The rest are closer to Kobo than to Amazon on refunds. All have reasonable redownload policies.

I understand that refunds are difficult for digital sales. I buy from Kobo on occasion and I have no expectation of a refund from them. I buy primarily from Amazon in part because of their refund policy, even though I have never asked for a refund.

This is a huge advantage for Amazon. I'm not sure if Amazon is eating the cost, or if they have better terms from the publishers, or if the fact that they can delete ebooks from an app or device gives them a unique advantage for refunds. Perhaps it is a bit of all three, but whatever it is Amazon has the right policy.

So far as I know, all publishers report refunds of ebooks to their authors although the figures I have seen reported are very low (less than 1 percent). These are presumably due to complaints about formatting etcetera, and so could be higher if an ebook is really badly formatted. Given agency pricing it is surprising that the policies are not clearer and more similar on defective ebooks.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:21 AM   #2
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Which is why I only buy ebooks from Amazon. I recently returned a somewhat pricey ($20) ebook due to formatting problems. I downloaded the sample, which was the introduction and properly formatted, so I bought the book. Starting from chapter 1 the formatting was so bad, the book was an annoyance to read, so I returned it. Apparently, the introduction was newly added - it's just a shame that the publisher didn't clean up the rest of the book before putting it for sale.

At least on Amazon we have a way of notifying publishers that bad formatting will not be accepted.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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i just had to return my first ebook, the text alternated between plain and boldface every paragraph. it was headache inducing and i chalk it up to lazy publishing. it took all of 3 seconds to do. it was only $5 but considering it was a book i was looking forward to and an author i enjoy i wasn't going to tolerate it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:11 AM   #4
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...and no matter who is responsible - publisher or author - they should be apprised of the situation and told that they have produced a shoddy product.

They should be held accountable and they should fix it.



Don
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:09 AM   #5
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I've had a couple of Amazon refunds from books that I can not find a fault with. They were DRM free which did make me consider they may have taken advantage of no DRM. It's only two or three out of the thousands that have sold so its not a big problem for us. There's been none from the other stores.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabee View Post
I've had a couple of Amazon refunds from books that I can not find a fault with. They were DRM free which did make me consider they may have taken advantage of no DRM.
There are other legit reasons beyond shoddy formatting - accidental one-click, for example. Or having a child one-click without permission. Or even one-clicking absent-mindedly, without bothering to read the description properly, thinking it was some other book with a similar / same title. (Although I suppose one can question whether that's an ethically legit reason or not, but as Amazon allows returns for any reason within seven days, they do have that right.)

There probably are people who return books for refund even if they fully intend to read them, but DRM or the lack of it, considering how trivial removing DRM is, probably doesn't matter all that much to such people.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yapyap View Post
There are other legit reasons beyond shoddy formatting - accidental one-click, for example. Or having a child one-click without permission. Or even one-clicking absent-mindedly, without bothering to read the description properly, thinking it was some other book with a similar / same title. (Although I suppose one can question whether that's an ethically legit reason or not, but as Amazon allows returns for any reason within seven days, they do have that right.)

There probably are people who return books for refund even if they fully intend to read them, but DRM or the lack of it, considering how trivial removing DRM is, probably doesn't matter all that much to such people.
Seven days is also sufficient to read virtually any book, no need to remove DRM.

Until now I never considered using Amazon as a library with a rather large assortment
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
Seven days is also sufficient to read virtually any book, no need to remove DRM.

Until now I never considered using Amazon as a library with a rather large assortment
It'll eventually become clear that someone is abusing the return system and likely result in a banned amazon account. Not worth doing imho
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:37 AM   #9
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I've received a refund for a book for Kobo, but it was a weird case where the entire last chapter of the book was missing.

Since I have a Kobo, I typically buy my ebooks from the Kobo store or other book stores that sell book in either epub or Adobe DRM, but I would probably make more impulse buys if there was a return policy.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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I've noticed periodic returns of my books at the Kindle store, but it's less than 2% of purchases, so it doesn't look like people are abusing it, at least not so far.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
Seven days is also sufficient to read virtually any book, no need to remove DRM.

Until now I never considered using Amazon as a library with a rather large assortment
For the yanks, Amazon have prime membership and they can borrow titles that the publisher has agreed to for zero dollars. I hope they roll it out here as well because it includes tv shows and movies and quite a lot of books.

I think I'll start a thread about it over the next day or two and see what results publishers are getting from their lending income compared to regular sales.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #12
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I've only returned one e-book, bought at Google's bookstore, because it was unproofed OCR and basically unreadable. Google gave me an immediate refund, no questions asked.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:30 PM   #13
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I've found most stores will give a refund for big formatting errors (although a lot of the independants like BoB and Diesel don't seem to), but Amazon's the only place I've found to give one no questions asked. Kobo can be a real nightmare in my experience, B&N gave a refund just fine when it was formatting errors, Sony too.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:08 AM   #14
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wrong ebook

The only time I have gotten a refund was when I bought a ebook from Fictionwise and the publisher has loaded the second book in the series on what was labeled as the first.

The irony was that I bought another book through BoB a few months ago and had the same problem, but they were able to get me a copy of the ebook that I ordered, instead of the one which I originally downloaded.

I have no noted any refunds on my Kobo sales, but I do seem them sometimes on my Amazon sales. I am always curious why people want a refund though and check the comments to see if they felt the formatting was bad or if it was something else. Its not like Amazon has ever contacted me and said "so and so returned this ebook because the formatting was awful" or "they hated the story line".

Amy
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #15
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I was offered a refund from Kobo for an ebook that closed at the end of every chapter. It wasn't difficult to get the refund - I just sent an email outlining the problem and a few days later they replied acknowledging the problem and offering a refund.
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