Should you return a Ebook, after you have read it?

Posted July 30, 2014 by Karen in Discussion Sessions / 20 Comments

Floral Question Mark

~ Karen’s Opinion ~


I love to read!! I am kinda of obsessed with it, and I use it as a pain management device. If I get lost in a book, I can actually trick my brain into not feeling the pain I experience from Fibromyalgia.  So many a night I rise from fitful slumber, grab my Kindle and read, getting lost in a book.  Since I buy a huge amount of books, I have bought a book or twenty, that I didn’t like, but at no time have I returned them.   With the E-Print industry, returning a book has become available, and I honestly don’t understand returning a book.  I would not walk into Barnes and Noble with a print book I read and return it, so why would I return a digital copy of a book after I read it even if I hated it?  Are authors supposed to give money back guarantees on their intellectual property?  To me returning a book is ridiculous, especially after it has been read, and possibly reviewed.  I have read reviews where the reviewer admits that they returned the book!   So that person obtained a book, read that book, and even wrote a review of that book.  Should they get their money back because they didn’t like it?   So help me out. . . make me understand why anyone would return a book after it is read.  Is buying eBooks like getting a book from a library, so they can be returned?  Does not having a physical representation of the purchase make it okay to return it?  Do people return print copies they have read and hated?  What is the acceptable moral policy about eBook returns?  What is the criteria for returning an eBook?  If after 20% of the eBook is read should it be non-returnable?

20 responses to “Should you return a Ebook, after you have read it?

  1. bettysunflower

    I do not think they should be allowed to be returned. It is too easy to abuse this and if the book has been read it definitely should NOT be refunded!

  2. On Kindle, e-book return abuse is an ongoing problem. Kindle needs to revamp their returns policies. On devices, they need to have a window where you can click the “ordered by accident” button and cancel the sale BEFORE the book downloads. If clicked on via a browser, there needs to be one last button that says, “This sale is final. Are you sure you want to buy it?” I’ve seen people bragging about widespread abuse of the system without Amazon doing anything, even though Amazon supposedly has a way of blocking abusers of the system. There are free previews, and reviews. If I’m not sure about a book, I get the sample. If I don’t like it, I don’t buy it. Once I buy a book (print or e-book) I don’t return it, whether I love it or hate it. The only exception to this would be if there are formatting errors that make the book functionally unreadable. In that case, there should be an option to return it, HOWEVER, if that’s the case, Amazon should verify the file is, in fact, a problem, and then notify the publisher/author and take the book off sale and put it in draft format so others can’t buy it and the problem can be fixed.

  3. Sandy

    I think the only time an ebook should be ‘returned’ occurs when there is a formatting error-where the book is unreeadable or if the editing process has left the story with absolutely no cohesion. I bought an ebook where the formatting turned the entire book into one long paragraph. I requested my money back and Amazon complied but about 2 months later I was notified that an updated copy was available for review.

    • Hobbitgirl

      Sandy, when a formatting error occurs; should Amazon contact the author immediately. Or should the consumer point out a formatting problem. Authors hire the formatter, who obviously did not do their job. I think most authors are trusting thinking everything is set to go with their book, when it is uploaded. 🙂

    • Hobbitgirl

      I thought you wrote FirbroFrog and it had me thinking that is a good name for the funk I feel. 🙂

  4. crystal

    I will admit I have returned a e-book only because I already had that book but won an extra in a giveaway but on the e-books I buy I do not return them even if I don’t like them. authors work to hard to just be short-changed so no I don’t think they should be allowed to be refunded after read.

  5. Terrific topic! I’ve thought about this one a bit myself recently. I’m an Amazon associate and I had someone buy books right before the end of the month and then return them a few days later (I think at the time Amazon had a 7 days policy) which wound up putting me in the negative. I was really annoyed over it and wondered why they even allowed it.

    BUT I do think it should be allowed. Not for fiction but for non-fiction. If an ebook version of say a cookbook or informational book doesn’t deliver on what it’s supposed to be I feel like you should be able to return it. When it comes to fiction, however, I feel like some readers take advantage of the option. They use it like a library and that’s not fair to the authors and people involved in the selling side of the book.

    • Hobbitgirl

      I love the insight, from an actually Amazonian. <<<< I just use Amazonian in a word and I was not talking mythology. 🙂 I think you have a valid point about fiction vs non fiction. Amazon's time frame according to their website is 7 days. I could actually read the book, and seven others in that time frame. If I ruled the world 48 hours would be the time limit to return a book. As Amazon lets you sample a book before you buy, so one can be an informed consumer. But I also think all Ebooks should be lendable at least twice. I picked twice, because in all my reading years and they are vast, I normally loaned books twice.

      But alas I don't rule the world. 🙂

  6. I have actually returned 3 books in all my kindle reading days. I got one for $3.99 and at 35% I told myself one more error or misspelled word I am done and so YES I returned it. I dont think it should be allowed after a certain time of the purchase. Maybe if they give you 5 days to return and if not then you are stuck. I guess I see people here that are on the opposite side of the argument and I would hate to see people abuse it but I know there are a lot that have and will continue to do it.

    • Hobbitgirl

      Hi Renee, I’m not talking about buying errors, who hasn’t made a buying error. Trust me the entire 1980’s could be chalked up to a buying error (love it but still). So if digital retailers had a set time limit. But considering I devour books I could have read it five times in five days. I don’t want a retailer in my business, but surely there is a way to make a book non returnable after it has been read. 🙂

  7. Saunders

    There is a complete difference in buying a book and buying a licence read. a book is your property. You buy it you own it. Buying an ebook is a different situation. the legal concept is different for a start and no it is not like walking into a library, picking a book reading it and returning it. Read the blurb it tells you why you can return an ebook.

    • Hobbitgirl

      I understand what a license to read is, and I did read the return policies from several digital online retailers. Some do not let you return books, but the largest one Amazon does. My question is why is digital print media, which we are buying the license to read, different from songs; which we also are buying the license for listen to. iTunes /Apple the largest vendor of online music media pretty much has a you bought it, you listen to it, you keep it policy. Why is digital print different from music and other digital media that isn’t returnable. Should all digital media be returnable. In this digital age isn’t there going to be a point where everything is virtual?

  8. robbielea4

    Totally classless to return a book just because you don’t like it. If you don’t like a book, then just put on your big girl (or boy) panties and accept you made a bad choice. I would only return a book if I got the wrong thing.

    • Hobbitgirl

      Should there be a possible 48 hour return policy for those one click girls, who go a little crazy. Possible time limit to return.

  9. I have a real issue with ebook returns. The number of people I’ve seen posting in Amazon reviews about “I hated this book. I returned it. Ha ha!” annoys me to no end. It’s akin to stealing, as far as I’m concerned. You hit the nail on the head when you said you couldn’t buy a book from Barnes & Noble, read it and return it, so what’s the difference? As a consumer, you take a risk that you won’t like something every time you buy a book or an album, or when you go see a movie. If you don’t like it, deal with it. Life’s hard sometimes. If you want to try books out before buying them, hit up a library. That’s what they’re there for.

    Now, I do think Amazon could have an option to CONTACT them to return an ebook if there’s a serious issue with it or if you accidentally ordered it. The only time I’ve been compelled to return an ebook was when I found one riddled with grammatical errors and misspellings. I was beyond annoyed that I had spent $10 on it. Did I return it? No. I dealt with it and decided I wouldn’t be likely to read anything written by that particular author in the future.

    • Hobbitgirl

      Libraries now, even my small local one has Ebooks for lending. Also most Ebooks can be sampled before you buy them. I have not done that I just buy and play Russian roulette, sometimes the gun does go off. 🙂 Still doesn’t stop be from playing or buying more books.

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