Returning E-Books

Some people will only read free e-books. That is certainly their prerogative, and there are so many authors willing to give their books away for free just for that off-chance to maybe gain serious readers who will go on to buy the authors’ other books. Or they hope for that big break—maybe an agent, maybe a publisher, or maybe someone connected with an agent or publisher will read the free book and fall in love with the writing. Yeah, it’s a long shot.

The truth is that many of the freebie readers aren’t willing to pay for books. Fine, if that’s how they are. Obviously, they don’t care about the time and effort that went into writing the book and don’t feel the author deserves to be paid for hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work.

But the worst is when people want to cheat the system. The worst are those who buy an e-book only to return it after reading it. They may think they are sticking it to the man, aka Amazon, but what they may not know is that the author’s previously earned royalty is now taken away.

Writers make so little money, if any at all after expenses, most would live in a cardboard box on the street if they had to survive on earnings from books alone.

Every sale matters, and when one sale appears only to disappear because the reader simply wants to read a book for free, it’s devastating to the author. These types of people are not sticking it to the man. They’re sticking it to the writer.

So if you want to read books for free, go to the library, download the books that are offered for free, or borrow your friends’ books—but please, don’t pay for a book, read it and return it. It’s disrespectful and frankly, cheap. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, too bad. If you read it, you should pay for it. Even if you didn’t read it, from the author’s standpoint, it doesn’t seem fair to earn a royalty only to lose it.

Not that I have any statistics, but my guess is that writers are the worst paid professionals on Earth. Every sale is gold, even if the royalty is mere pennies. It may be just another book to the reader, but to the one who penned the work, it’s a treasure.

Don’t trample on someone’s dreams.

D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the romantic suspense, Mexican Summer, the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.

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12 thoughts on “Returning E-Books

  1. That’s so sad to read. I can’t believe anyone would do such a thing.

    From an economic standpoint, it does seem that Amazon is abusing its authors. Amazon is costing an author money in the hopes of keeping a customer around for future, more profitable, transactions. Both Amazon and dishonest readers have culpability here. And if they screw over great writers like you, who is going to write those excellent novels we love to read? Such petty, short-sighted selfishness turns my stomach.

    Why can’t people spend a moment to think about how their actions will affect another person?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a great post. I’ve had about five of my books refunded and it sticks in the throat. I’ve read books that I’ve not liked but that was my choice in picking it and my lookout, not the authors so I suck it up. What makes it worse is that you get a free sample and this gives you the opportunity to decide whether it appears to be your ‘thing’ or not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup. I’m sure we’ve all read plenty of books we didn’t like that much, not to mention all the books we haven’t read yet, but I wouldn’t dream of returning them. Like you said, just suck it up. It’s not right for the author not to get paid if you purchased the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said! Why would any AUTHOR who wants to write something for FREE give it to amazon in the first place?! They would rather create their own blog sites where they can post their books in PDF book. Blame does NOT lie with the customer/consumer (because they are only using an offer that EXISTS) but SQUARELY LIES with sites like AMAZON who have such hopeless policies of

    1. TAKING BACK the books!
    2. TAKING BACK the money from the author!

    If Amazon wants to be customer friendly, even choice-1 is OK but NEVER the choice-2. If they want to keep their customers happy, they should bear the losses for their own rogue policies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree that if Amazon has that policy, they should still pay the authors. As for the authors who offer their books for free, there is a strategy to that. Some will only make it free temporarily, in the hopes that readers will love it and will then purchase other books by the same author. Or some will make the first book of a series free on a permanent basis, hoping to sell the rest of the series. They are trying to appeal to Amazon customers, which is why they put it on Amazon for free, rather than on their own blogs. On Amazon they’ll get far more exposure.

      Liked by 1 person

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