Originally Posted by G J Lau
I guess the real question I should have asked is why allow book returns at all? Books aren't like toasters that either work or don't work. There is always an implied risk that you won't like the book. One of the reasons I price the books at 99 cents is that I realize I am an unknown quantity so I try to minimize the reader's risk by making the price so low.
The return policy is not based on binary-ness. There are some books that I buy that I simply don't want on my account any more -- I don't want to be reminded of their existence. I read an excerpt by an indie author once that suddenly went into VERY squicky trigger territory for me, so I didn't buy that book -- but if it had been outside the excerpt, I definitely would have stopped reading and asked for a return.
Other people return books because the quality is low, or the grammar and spelling are atrocious. Does the book still "function" as a book? Yes. Does that make it worth keeping? No. The return policy isn't based on work/doesn't-work -- it's a promise from the store to the customer that if what they are purchasing isn't what they THINK they want, then the customer has a grace period under which to get their money back.
Believe it or not, the return policy increases sales, because the purchaser is taking less of a chance when they buy your book. Because they know they CAN return it, they buy on spec and 99% of the time, they keep your book. If you took the return policy away, you'd lose the buy-on-spec buyers and I don't think many indie authors can afford that.