Amazon’s Read & Return Policy
This lovely policy has been in effect pretty much ‘forever’ as are as Amazon is concerned. I’ve bitched about it here many, many, many, times over the years. People just LOVE to READ ENTIRE books in under 7 days then return them for a full refund.
However, yesterday or the day before, some Special Snowflake finally came out of the woodwork and it set the Indie Community on its ear.
I don’t really know why. I mean this is kind of like saying: The Catholic church has been sexually abusing children for two thousand years.
Duh. No shit. Glad you finally woke up.
This lovely ‘fan’ (choke) had the outright balls to tell an author that they had read every book in one her series…and returned them all. Because, well, ya know, she (I assume it’s a she) just can’t afford the $0.99 to $2.99 for the books!
I wonder if they go grocery shopping, prepare their meals, gobble them down with gusto, and then return piles of shit to the store saying; “It was ok but not great.” Or something like that.
Further this lovely ‘fan’ wanted to know why they ‘should pay for the ideas’ in the author’s ‘head’.
To that all I can hear is Obadiah Stain in “Iron Man”: You think just because you have an idea it belongs to you?
Well, yes, you cheap skate, I do. If I have the idea, I put the idea down on paper (digital format), I craft the idea, I see it through to the ending making sure its all it can be, I format it, I have it edited (by friends in my case, I know), I have a book cover done up for it (by myself in my case, I know), I put all of the effort into marketing it, paying for blog tours, knocking myself to find every ‘free’ place I can do advertise…yes, you shitbag! It’s MINE. It’s NOT YOURS.
I stand behind the author who was so harassed 100%. I know exactly how she feels. I’ve been there many times. So have hundreds if not thousands of other Indie Authors who put themselves up on KINDLE.
This ‘fan’ went so far as to suggest that the author (Elizabeth York) put all of her books for FREE so just they could read them. Even though they had already READ every book and returned it for a full refund. They did that because KINDLE ALLOWS it and they always have. Now, understand, if your book is available in Kindle Unlimited, you get paid by the ‘normalized page’ (don’t even get me started on THAT) which means, Kindle CAN and DOES KNOW how many pages of any book they license to the Kindle e-reader owner have been read by the Kindle e-reader owner (make no mistake, Kindle People, you DO NOT OWN those books! Please see their TOS for confirmation…then get a Nook or a Kobo or an iBooks app…anything!). Therefore, there’s really NO REASON WHATSOEVER that Kindle can’t tell when you’ve READ, I dunno, how about ten pages past what’s already available in their ‘About The Book’ feature? At that point, the book should no longer be returnable.
But Kindle will never do business that way. No matter how many petitions are circulated or how many signatures are gathered, they won’t do it. The reason is simple; They’re the world’s biggest online retailer. They have no reason to listen to YOU the author or the lowly vendor. After all, if you just you leaves Amazon/Kindle, there are always more people willing to sign up with them.
You matter not.
This is OUR fault. It really IS. We can’t deny that any longer not as authors, vendors, or parents.
Some of us raised an entire generation of people who feel perfectly entitled to whatever they want. They don’t feel they should have to work for it. They certainly don’t feel they should have to PAY for it. After all, what are YOU compared to THEM? They’re Special little Snowflakes. You…you’re just a hard working schlub. You’re nothing really. A cog in a wheel that’s ever grinding.
We, as Indie Authors fed this idea. We did! We GAVE AWAY our work time and time and time again until simply giving it away was no longer enough, we turned to swag, we turned to CASH to get new readers. I’m guilty, I admit it, you know I have several e-books as FREE DOWNLOADS right at this very moment. However, that last maneuver was a big Fuck You to Kindle on my part. If you’re ‘in the know’ and you have the coupon codes you can download a crapwad of my books FREE on SMASHWORDS. If not, then you can pay the price to read them. But NOT on Kindle.
I got to that point of sheer and utter desperation because of Bezos and his idiotic Read and Return Policy.
Right here, right now, I offer YOU my Indie Author Brothers and Sisters the only solution I can possibly come to: Boycott Kindle.
I know the mere idea of it stings. If you make enough every month through Kindle to pay your rent/mortgage, by all means, click out. I’m not talking to you.
If you don’t make enough month to month on Kindle to do that. If you barely make enough money on Kindle every month to order a pizza let alone buy groceries for an entire week…listen to me. You are NOT alone. Although a great many of us blow ourselves up to soothe our egos, it’s a lie, most of us are in the same boat. So ask yourself: What’s your soul worth? What’s your work really worth? A pizza and a salad?
Don’t forget, if you sell your work for $0.99 on Kindle you are making a grand $0.05/sale!
Don’t you think you’re worth more than $0.35?
If not…whatever…I won’t argue.
But if you do then I suggest to you that you run your books through CreateSpace (if you need help I’m here! I WILL HELP YOU!), put up the paperbacks, combine the editions so that reviews for both paperback and ebook show up even if the EBOOK is NO LONGER AVAILABLE. Then DUMP KINDLE!
It sounds extreme. I know. It is a bit extreme. But Wal-Mart didn’t change its policies because it wanted to. It changed them because millions upon millions of people just stopped shopping there. Amazon/Kindle is no different. If we band together then we can force a change. Until then we can sign all of petitions we want and Bezos will just laugh at us. We’re nothing to him. There are always more of us wanting to sell through him, that’s what he thinks, there’s always more workers, more vendors, more people willing to sell tiny bits of their souls for the smallest amount of kudos and recognition.
Until there aren’t.
If you really want to change Kindle’s policies…you have to cut ties with them. Or else we as a community are doing nothing more than giving a tactic OK as we cut our own throats.
Be The Change You Want To See.
Or muddle through the Read and Return Policy.
It’s up to YOU.
Be Brave. Be Bold.
Or Be Used and tossed away like an old condom.