Update on the Returnability of Books (With Respect to Breaking Dawn)

Someone on the comment thread here said it best:

That’s some strong hatin’ when you return a book. There are books that I don’t like, but I’ve never returned one and said, “Here, take this sh!t back! DNW!!”

I’m one of those people, so I’ve never really taken a close look at returns (outside of Amazon’s system for the return of physical goods). This is new territory for me.

Book returns are apparently happening nationwide for Breaking Dawn. People have discovered that

  • Barnes & Nobles will take returns within 14 days, with receipt.
  • Borders still uses the old-fashioned return-within-30-days, with receipt.
  • Amazon.com has an automated return system for paper books, within 30 days.
  • You can call Amazon.com’s customer service (or send email) to return your Kindle e-book version within 7 days.

I have never seen people turn this fast, this ugly, and in large enough numbers to screw Amazon rankings against a popular author whose books they have been devouring for the last few years.

Update: Or immediately start knocking over the Wikipedia page for the book and causing the admins, less than 48 hours in, to lock the edits for the page. Fascinating.

2 thoughts on “Update on the Returnability of Books (With Respect to Breaking Dawn)

  1. Perhaps being treated a second class citizens worked in favor of those buying ebooks this time. I know Amazon had the book available at Midnight Sunday Morning, but many others (including their subsidiary BooksOnBoard) had to wait until Monday (due to international clients – since the Kindle is supposedly US only, they got an extra 24 hour jump) – basically, ebook readers were supposed to wait until 24 hours AFTER print readers could get the book in their region (so worldwide had to wait until 24 hours after everyone, everywhere). Those who purchased the “free” book at BoB could have requested a “refund” before downloading.

    I suspect the delay in the eBook was due to the knowledge that if it got out, print sales would take a dive (at least from the press I see). One big effect – bootleg copies of the book were all over the net on Sunday (taken from page scans of non-returned books, so at least a few sales will stick), along with reposts of the first three (all illegal downloads – no doubt these will bounce around the net for a while, being taken down as they are discovered, but will greatly impact e-sales, I’m sure).

  2. I wonder when publishers (and, okay, record and film companies) will get their heads wrapped around the fact that a) the Internet makes the world much, much smaller so all this worry about staggered releases is pointless, and b) the same desire for instant gratification that drives people to buy their stuff in the first place also will drive them to get the first pirated copies they can get, if they can’t get what they want now, and finally c) that these days it’s actually getting easier and easier to pirate better and better copies of stuff.

    Really, it’s just easier to do a worldwide release all at once. “Midnight GMT” works for everybody (and will provide some booming business for sites that convert from LocalTimezone to GMT in the meanwhile).

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