Saturday, July 26, 2014

RETURNS

                                                           






Returns.   Many, if not most, people want there to be the ability to return an unsatisfactory item.   I do.  Amazon has built their reputation on allowing returns on almost everything, including e-books.   Most people wouldn't think of returning a book purchased in a bookstore, probably thinking it wasn't possible.   Even if the story turned out to be most unsatisfactory, you made your choice and you're stuck with it.   Can you imagine trying to convince the cashier at Chapters or Barnes and Noble that you just couldn't relate to the main character and you want your money back.

University textbooks, wildly overpriced sometimes at up to two hundred dollars, come shrink-wrapped.   Once the wrapping is off, you're stuck.  There are concerns you might sneak into your father's office and photocopy every page overnight before attempting to return it to your university's bookstore the next day.   Tsk, tsk.

Periodically, this topic will come up on writer sites like the Writers' Cafe at the Kindle Boards.   Authors gnash their teeth at serial returners who work their way through an e-book series, downloading book by book, returning each one for a refund.   Some have bragged about their practice to others in public forums and advise others to emulate them.   Saves money, right?   And it's so anonymous and easy.

Authors rightly complain that they might accept the first return in a series as legitimate:   the person just didn't care for their style of writing, for example.   But to go on and read and return  the next and the next for up to twelve books is simply beyond the pale.  But complaints to Amazon go unheeded until the returns reach a certain amount, known only to Amazon, and then the person receives a notice that they are cut-off from further returns.

The outraged writer who is the victim of the serial returner  seeks advice from those who have been at it longer only to be told to accept a certain percentage of returns as part of the cost of doing business.   I have read suggestions that purchasers should be advised that once their e-readers record that they have passed the quarter or half way point in a book, no returns should be possible.   That's a thought.

I have to admire the ingenuity of the manufacturer/designer of a line of ladies wear who plainly states on Amazon, right below the product description that:

PLEASE NOTE: THIS DRESS HAS BEEN TAGGED IN SUCH A WAY THAT MEANS IT CANNOT BE WORN WITHOUT THE TAG SHOWING. THIS IS TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM WEARING THE DRESS FOR A NIGHT OUT AND THEN RETURNING IT. THE TAG WILL NOT HINDER YOU IN SIMPLY TRYING IT ON AND WILL BE EASILY REMOVABLE IF YOU DECIDE TO KEEP THE DRESS.

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