Writer Beware? My thoughts on Amazon’s return policy…and a review. :)

Authors are petitioning Amazon to change their return policy on ebooks, and an unfortunate line has been drawn between writers and readers.

I signed the petition, not because I have a huge problem with people returning my books, but because I see why it was started. Currently, Amazon allows the return of an ebook within seven days of purchase. Readers say it is a fair policy, even if they’ve read the book, if they find the book is sub-par for some reason. And most readers don’t abuse the policy, it’s true. But the fact remains that the loophole is there, and some people will abuse it. Many people won’t even think of it as cheating. Remember back when women used to buy a dress, tuck the tags out of sight, wear it and return it the next day? How many of those women would have been shocked if you’d called them a thief? Most, I’m betting.

Most stores have now put a stop to this sort of practice. My last purchase from Nordstrom’s came with a red tag attached in a conspicuous place which, after removal, rendered my dress non-returnable. Good for Nordstrom’s!

Maybe I feel the way I do about this petition because I do not a have a “borrower’s” frame of mind, which is weird since I have a master’s in library and information sciences, right? But I don’t go to the library on a regular basis now that I don’t work there, and I HATE library fines, so I frequent book stores (and Amazon) instead. I buy my kids books and exchange them at the secondhand bookstore after they’ve outgrown them. I buy myself NOOK and Kindle books. And yes, a few of those have been regrettable. I did not return those.

To the readers I may have offended by signing the petition, I ask that you look at my side of the fence. I am a reader and I am raising readers. I am a librarian, and I believe in libraries. I have no real problem with Amazon’s lending feature, either, although I don’t utilize it. But if you buy an ebook you need to understand something. Whether the author is J.K. Rowling or me, a lot of work went into that book, and if you buy it and return it after you’ve read it, you’re stealing.

CloseUpMagicPersonally, I believe in giving readers lots of chances to read my stuff before they purchase one of my books. That’s why I post excerpts on my blog, have a Free Fiction Page, and have been known to give away books. I currently have four copies of Weeds and Flowers up for grabs on Goodreads, for instance, and I’ve given away four copies of Ducks in a Row over there recently. Over the course of the next couple months, I’m going to be promoting my new release Close Up Magic. I’ll be posting excerpts and quotes and (hopefully) a few advance reviews. I’m going to give you lots of chances to decide if you want to read the whole book before you hit that all important “Buy” button.

And I’m going to be hoping that those who do hit the “Buy” button will take into account that I gave up sleep to write this book. I cursed and sweated and bled on the pages. I endured a lot to bring those voices to life. Don’t cheat me out of the few dollars I earn off each copy I sell.

For an advance preview of Close Up Magic, click here.

In Other News

I was fortunate enough to obtain another review of Ducks in a Row the other day. Steph at Book-A-Holic Anon gave it 4.5 stars! Here’s a little taste of the review and a link, if you’re interested in checking it out:

“…a tragic story in some ways with a glimmer of hope that even at our bleakest moments real love can conquer all.”
Book-A-Holic Anon

Steph is brutally honest in her review that Ducks may offend some readers. And it might. I knew it when I wrote it, but the story wanted to be told. This review might be one of the best I’ve ever read of one of my books, because it was honest, blunt and to the point. And beyond that, she really got what the book was about. The above quote sums the story up perfectly. I love it when a reviewer really understands where I was coming from because it means I did my job as a writer. Thank you, Steph, for giving me that moment.