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Old 11-15-2009, 03:45 PM   #1
neilmarr
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Love the book or money back

I've been asked by my partners to come up with a 'business model' to take our own wee publishing house a tad along the road ...

Because we've always been more literary than genre driven (call it shot-in-the-dark) and because we're going all-out on ebooks in 2010, I thought of this:

If you didn't absolutely love the book you bought, you can have your money back or a second choice for free! No questions, but play fair.

Is that silly or is that confident?

I'd appreciate your views.

Cheers. Neil
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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Damn! That is a bold statement to make... really bold!
To be honest I would take you up on that but I can see it being abused.

I have read crappy books before but lucky for me, there were the free ones from Amazon so I was not out any money
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:15 PM   #3
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That seems pretty aggressive. I love plenty of books, but not most of what I buy and read. I'm okay with that. But if I HATE a book, if I clearly purchased the wrong thing.. it'd be nice to say "This is crap. Give me my money back!"
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:36 PM   #4
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I think I might not abuse this promise and not demand my money back even if the book was just okay.
Well, maybe I might take you up on the offer if I read 2 or 3 "okay" books in a row, since you say "absolutely love".

I try to be an honest and honorable person but have succumbed to greed at one point or another. As a kid I did steal popsicles inside my pants (ouch) and have downloaded an ebook from the IRC once. Or twice. Hope that helps in categorizing my answer
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:24 PM   #5
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Depending upon your clientele, you might end up as the first online lending library - if folks kept swapping to find a "better" read.
And, depending on your cash flow/liquidity status, a run of returns might impact you more than predicted.

But the online music industry does seem to be dealing with the introduction of novel pricing schemes.
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Old 11-15-2009, 08:26 PM   #6
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I agree that "absolutely love" is far too strong a sentiment to attach to the vast majority of books I've read or ever expect to. My general reaction is "that was okay; what next?" with 'fun' or similar terms sometimes substituting for 'okay'. As long as my reaction wasn't "that was a chore" or "I'll never read anything by this author again" I'm pretty much satisfied.

By "absolutely love" standards, I'd expect most people to deserve refunds for most books. Whether they'd bother with a refund process is another thing. I'd probably flip "didn't absolutely love" and tone down "no questions" in the offer, maybe to "if you disliked the book, tell us why and get another selection free". It lowers expectations, and the minimal extra effort involved means the offer is less likely to be abused.
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Old 11-15-2009, 08:59 PM   #7
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My thoughts are that it would be abused. Keep in mind that a person chooses the book they buy and the books are not forced on them. I have read some shockers but they were my choice to buy in the first place and I just wont buy from that author again. As a published author myself, I feel that it is the Authors responsibility to produce a good product, not the publishers fault if people dont like it. People have different tastes so I think it would be a huge financial disaster for both publisher and Author alike and would not like my publisher to do that type of scheme with my work. Just my opinion.

Natalie
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:20 AM   #8
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I think it will work, but maybe you should offer this to a limited set of customers first. Like your best customers for instance - buy 5 books from us and receive a club membership that allows a return if you do not like the book.

Nonetheless, I do not think this will be abused.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:44 AM   #9
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I don't think it'll be widely abused if the prices are the same as those in Neil's sig.

My supermarket says I can return stuff for a refund if I'm not "100% happy". I've never been 100% happy - but I don't take it out on them.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:02 AM   #10
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It does look as if it will be open to abuse - *by those that will always abuse* - Why not just offer a part sample say 25-50% for free? Buy the whole book if you like it, as other sites do.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:27 AM   #11
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Thanks, pals, for some interesting takes on the basic idea. An offer like this would only be (if at all) practical for ebooks, of course. But it's encouraging to see that nobody's so far called it downright daft. Must put some more thought into this. Maybe I'm a cockeyed optimist, but I think most folks are pretty honest and only a small -- hopeully insignificant -- number would take undue advantage of an equally honest offer. And my partners and I genuinely would not mind refunding an unhappy reader in the hope that he'll try another title. The offer would remove some of the risk of buying a pig in a poke (which pretty well describes any new book by any author who's not a brand name) and might encourage browsers to take a chance on an unknown quantity. Mind you, the accountancy would probably be a bloody nightmare! I'll certainly let you know how this pans out. Thanks again for your thoughts. Neil
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post
It does look as if it will be open to abuse - *by those that will always abuse* - Why not just offer a part sample say 25-50% for free? Buy the whole book if you like it, as other sites do.

oh....I like that Idea. Dont Kindle and Barnes and Nobel offer free preview ( even a few pages). Wish Sony did that.

Natalie
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:03 PM   #13
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Well Neil, I just started Treason by Meredith Whitford today.
Only you already gave that one away for free
So all you're gonna get in the short future is a (promised) review.

And for me, as long as the price is below € 5,- I don't need a refund. For a small price I'm willing to make a gamble.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:36 AM   #14
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Good luck with *Treason*, Erwin. Meredith's in Melbourne, Australia, but she spent years researching the book in England. She has a fascinating and entirely new take on the Shakespeare-maligned Richard II. Best wishes. Neil
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:08 PM   #15
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Hello Neil -- you might be interested in my experience. I am an author who is posting his books online, unprotected, as shareware. I started, early in 2008, by asking for £1.00 ($1.65) per title from readers who enjoyed the work, but PayPal ate too much of that to make single payments worthwhile. Last summer I took the advice of another online writer and experimented with the model, asking simply for support rather than a per-title fee, but payments dwindled markedly. Recently I switched back to the original model. I think the reader prefers that: we both know exactly where we are. I increased the requested price to £1.50, and have been surprised and pleased by the response. Readers, by and large, are pretty nice people!

What I'm saying is that your offer is unlikely to be widely abused, though you might be setting the bar a bit high with "absolutely love". Why not just offer a refund if the reader is disappointed?

I don't know what royalty arrangements you are making with your authors, but one drawback of such an offer could be the extra administrative burden. You'll need a sophisticated system to keep track of it all!
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