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VERY short books seem to sell best as ebooks

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Saw an interesting writing blog about short books (under 20,000 words) on Amazon: Why do short ebooks sell so well?

We've debated several times how many authors 'cheat' the system by releasing a series of short (10,000 word) books rather than a single 60,000 word book, but this shows the problem is even more extreme, and more mainstream, than we assumed in the past.

Do readers prefer short ebooks to read?

By chance, I was looking at the Amazon Kindle Store, and clicked on an ebook listed in the top twenty bestsellers.

I scanned down the book's details and was surprised to note that the ebook was listed as being only 105 pages in length.

Now, by this measure it is not easy to calculate the number of words, because what defines a page on Kindle?

Perhaps a rough equivalent to a page in a trade paperback.

I did a quick check of one of my own ebooks, which is a short novella, and saw that Kindle calculated it to be 110 pages long.

I know this book is a shade under 20,000 words, so now I can say with certainty that any ebook listed on Kindle with around 100 pages, is less than 20,000 words.

To put this in perspective, a paperback of 100 pages would hardly be as thin as your little finger.

So we are talking about very short ebook reads here.

Of course, I got curious and looked at a few more bestselling Kindle ebook titles.

In the top 20 ebooks on Amazon Kindle, I found 4 short ebooks at around 100 pages, and they were priced between $1.99 and $3.99.

I could have dug deeper and found more quite easily I suppose, however, I was not interested in how many there were, but why these short ebooks were selling so well.

There has been a lot written about how reading an ebook is different from reading a book, and this article from the Guardian takes the view that readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper.

While I am sure this topic is open to debate, perhaps it is not in the psychology or physiology, as much as in where, when and how an ebook is read.

If one considers the situations when an ebook reader is useful, perhaps a different logic is possible.

Ebook reading is very convenient when travelling on a train, bus or plane, or when relaxing on a beach on vacation.

Perhaps also, during a coffee break at work, or while passing time in a doctor's waiting room.

All of these situations though are prone to interruption, unlike reading a book while in bed or lazing on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.

In these situations, light, short reads would make sense, and would give give good reason as to why short ebooks are popular and sell well.

Sure, there are reasons to publish long, but it appears that there is definitely a new reading market, for ebook shorts.

Sure gives you something to think about, doesn't it?

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The Settings Amazon uses to calculate page length for e-books is likely closer to a mass-market paperback than a trade paperback.

Personally, I have read longer books on my Kindle. Even at home, if you do a lot of reading, an e-reader can save a lot on storage space. I have two bookshelf units full of mass-market paperbacks. Though lately, I tend to use the Kindle reader PC app at home more than my Kindle paperwhite

Even in the situations described, I would have no issues with a longer book. Read a few pages at a time.

Again, personally, I would be rather reluctant to pay $3.99 for a fiction book that short, whether it's an e-book or hard copy.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

It may say something about books sold on Kindle via Amazon, but I notice a lot of other publishers in the e-book business sell a lot of novel and saga length books at prices higher than what Amazon like to charge. Which makes me wonder if Amazon is in the cheap product e-book market and not the quality product e-book market.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

It may say something about books sold on Kindle via Amazon, but I notice a lot of other publishers in the e-book business sell a lot of novel and saga length books at prices higher than what Amazon like to charge. Which makes me wonder if Amazon is in the cheap product e-book market and not the quality product e-book market.

I'm not sure it says as much about Amazon, as it does about readers. If many of the best-selling Amazon books are that short, then someone is buying them. I'm also guessing, based on previous discussions, that they're probably mostly cheesy porn titles.

Amazon doesn't restrict ebook sizes, and sells most of the main ebook novels by the traditional publishing houses, yet these sub-novellas rank high on the Amazon marketplace. Again, I'm guessing they're designed for one-handed reading, where the readers aren't especially interested in reading all the way through to the end, only to their own finish.

This seems to a continuation of the 'many chapters sold as separate books' scam.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not sure it says as much about Amazon, as it does about readers.


I don't play in the Amazon site at all, so I'll leave it to you to tell me if they have statistics on book sales, and if they break them up between their different sales systems. I'd love to know what the sales of discreet e-book sales are as separate to their fancy lending library type system they also have (I can't remember it's name - the one where they pay you per page read as against a full book sale).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I don't play in the Amazon site at all, so I'll leave it to you to tell me if they have statistics on book sales, and if they break them up between their different sales systems. I'd love to know what the sales of discreet e-book sales are as separate to their fancy lending library type system they also have (I can't remember it's name - the one where they pay you per page read as against a full book sale).

The lending library is only available with the KU (Kindle Unlimited, or Kindle Select) program, which I'm not a member of. Switch offers his book via KU, so maybe he's a member, though there's no guarantee he is.

The main issue with KU, is that they only pay loose change instead of your retail price for people to read it.

I didn't try it myself, but Amazon typically reports a books sale ranking, and I'm sure they offer a 'best-sellers list', so it shouldn't be difficult to check.

As far as reporting, Kindle combines PU (Page 'units' paid) on their normal 'sales' reporting page (it's a separate graphic, but they don't report such sales as 'books read' or even as 'viewers reading your books').

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

All of these situations though are prone to interruption, unlike reading a book while in bed or lazing on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.


I don't buy that. The people I know read ebooks instead of paper books. The same books they would have read in paperback. It's not a different market.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Switch offers his book via KU, so maybe he's a member,


I don't have a Prime account so I'm not a KU member. But I enrolled one of my novels in Amazon's Select program so it's available for free to Prime members.

I'm sure I make more when someone buys my novel than if they read it in KU and I get paid for all the pages read. But what about all the pages read where they wouldn't have bought the novel? There's a lot of that.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

In the top 20 ebooks on Amazon Kindle, I found 4 short ebooks at around 100 pages,


I did my own search. I went into the Kindle Store department to do my search (I've never been there before. I've always gone into the Book department, but I wanted Kindle books.

I did a search on "best sellers Kindle books top 100." These are the number of pages of the 1st 6 books.

526
146
246
352
352
394

My "Last Kiss" novel is 84,000 words and is 337 pages. So I don't know what he's looking at.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The main issue with KU, is that they only pay loose change instead of your retail price for people to read it.


That's because the KU readers are paying on a subscription basis for unlimited access, so a user's monthly subscription fee, $9.99, has to be divided across everything they read.

If they paid authors retail prices, the unlimited access subscription model would be a losing proposition for Amazon.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I don't buy that. The people I know read ebooks instead of paper books. The same books they would have read in paperback. It's not a different market.

No one is arguing that EVERYONE reads ebooks like that, just that it's a somewhat significant segment of the ebook marketplace, but as I suggested earlier, I suspect most of these sales are actually of the porn variety—though I haven't attempted to document it.

It makes more sense that people would read porn in short 'jags', rather than literary novels, and that coincides from claims a few fly-by-night authors I've discussed this issue have said.

But in either case, the fact of the matter is that many of Amazon's best-sellers—at least according to this one report—are the sub-novelette variety.

From my experience, it takes time to learn to appreciate ebooks, but once you do, it's not that difficult to read full novels. And we all know, that SOL readers, at least, prefer lengthy, detailed reads over brief serialized pamphlets.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

My "Last Kiss" novel is 84,000 words and is 337 pages. So I don't know what he's looking at.

He said "many", not "ALL" or even "the majority of". He noticed a odd phenomena he hadn't expected, and explored what might be causing it. However, his brief analysis was hardly a thorough investigation on the issue, so I'm sure his results are ... questionable, at best. But that doesn't mean it isn't an issue.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son

If they paid authors retail prices, the unlimited access subscription model would be a losing proposition for Amazon.

Not quite. Amazon offers free books as an enticement for members to sign up for FREE SHIPPING, thus guaranteeing they'll order primarily from Amazon in most instances. Essentially, they've giving away author's profits in order to sell more physical products for their own benefit. They're making money off the backs of authors, while only paying them a pittance.

If Switch is making money off of the deal, then good for him, but I don't have to admire Amazon for treating hard-toiling authors like sweatshop workers!

By the way, why the hell am I defending someone I don't even know, to prove a point I'm not even sure is true? I keep feeling like I'm being backed into a corner over everyone else's 'outrage of the moment', rather than entering into actual discussions of topics important to authors!

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Not quite. Amazon offers free books as an enticement for members to sign up for FREE SHIPPING


That's Amazon Prime, not Kindle Unlimited. Two separate subscription services.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Again, personally, I would be rather reluctant to pay $3.99 for a fiction book that short, whether it's an e-book or hard copy.

Agreed with the unquoted portions as well, but placing extra emphasis on this part. At least for myself, it is highly unlikely I'll pay more than $2.00 for a "short" in the first place, unless it hits a very specific topic/kink(where there isn't much to be found). Otherwise, the only way I will touch it is through Kindle Unlimited. Of course, longer (and more expensive) ebooks tend to likewise require a visit through KU before I will often consider a buy. The quality variance between self-published authors makes me leery of sight unseen, or miniscule sample, buys.

Of course, that also opens the door into discussions of how horrible Amazon's interface actually is for searching anything but very generic content. Which makes it extremely frustrating when you venture into the naughtier side, which Amazon seems to be very bipolar about. Basically, they're a decent resource if you know what you want(down to the title name), but for figuring out what that is, you're probably better off looking elsewhere first.

Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

This seems to a continuation of the 'many chapters sold as separate books' scam.


And part of why my KU bias for the short reads, with the upper bound being $2 in most cases. I am not paying $4 or more for a digital copy of part of a book.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

That's Amazon Prime, not Kindle Unlimited. Two separate subscription services.


I thought it was the Prime members that got to use KU. So aren't they the same?

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

why the hell am I defending someone I don't even know, to prove a point I'm not even sure is true? I keep feeling like I'm being backed into a corner


I wasn't attacking you. I was disputing the author's claim, giving my opinion, my doubts with what he said.

I'm not even saying he's wrong. It's just that what he's saying seems wrong to me and when I did my limited search the six ebooks I checked were all longer.

Btw, the only reason I mentioned "Last Kiss" was because I knew the word count and the number of pages Amazon says it is for comparison to his lengths. I consider it a full-length novel at the upper range for its genre.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID

@Switch Blayde

I thought it was the Prime members that got to use KU. So aren't they the same?


It is its own subscription, so it should be possible to obtain without getting Prime. Not sure, as I have Prime, so I'm not a good test case.

sharkjcw

I have KU and not prime. KU allows me to rent, borrow, what ever up to 10 books at a time most of the books that I get are regular novels in Science Fiction.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

And part of why my KU bias for the short reads, with the upper bound being $2 in most cases. I am not paying $4 or more for a digital copy of part of a book.

That's common for most SOL readers, who generally being older and often retired or 'independently employed', have the time to read longer stories. However, I suspect many Amazon reader are more interested in 'quick reads', as the blogger suggests. I've noticed that whenever I write a longer book, my SOL purchases shoot up, while my independent Amazon purchases (those not tied to SOL readers) go down! :(

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I'm not even saying he's wrong. It's just that what he's saying seems wrong to me and when I did my limited search the six ebooks I checked were all longer.

One of those listed was only marginally longer. I think, in such a search, you need to eliminate the main-stream publishers best-sellers, since they're often in a class by themselves and often more expensive (ex: $26.98 vs. $20.98) than their print books.

Crumbly Writer

@sharkjcw

I have KU and not prime. KU allows me to rent, borrow, what ever up to 10 books at a time most of the books that I get are regular novels in Science Fiction.

The general consensus among 'Indie Publishers', is to avoid KU, though the mainstream publishers typically decide whether to participate or not regardless of the author's opinion—though many smaller publishers refuse to deal with Amazon at all.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Switch Blayde
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

The general consensus among 'Indie Publishers', is to avoid KU, though the mainstream publishers typically decide whether to participate or not regardless of the author's opinion—though many smaller publishers refuse to deal with Amazon at all.


If the payscale is bad, I'd generally agree. That said, as one of the KU users, I will also say that for those you with multiple-book offerings, making the first book available in KU(at some point) may result in an uptick in sales for the both the first book, and the later ones.

Because of that reticence to purchase an "unknown book" from an "unknown author" getting a taste via "book 1" will open doors/wallets that would otherwise remain shut.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

I thought it was the Prime members that got to use KU. So aren't they the same?


A Prime subscription might include KU, but you can subscribe to KU separately

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son


A Prime subscription might include KU, but you can subscribe to KU separately


KU is its own subscription, you have to pay or you get nada, even with Prime.

Kindle Select is the "free" Amazon Prime offering.

Edit: Which isn't neccessarily to be confused with the Select thing the self-publishers have. And I'm probably using the wrong name for the one I was thinking of.

Prime members get a special promotional thing for e-books once a month, for 1 Ebook. And it may not even be free.

Switch Blayde

@sharkjcw

I have KU and not prime.


I didn't know KU was a separate thing.
Why not get Prime? It give you a lot of stuff AND unlimited books.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

That's common for most SOL readers, who generally being older and often retired or 'independently employed', have the time to read longer stories.


Wattpad readers also prefer long stories and they're young. Short stories don't do well there.

I've noticed that whenever I write a longer book, my SOL purchases shoot up, while my independent Amazon purchases (those not tied to SOL readers) go down!


Could that be tied to price? Do you price your longer stories more?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The general consensus among 'Indie Publishers', is to avoid KU


Not the ones I interact with. Although most prefer not to be exclusive to Amazon so they can't go KU.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Why not get Prime? It give you a lot of stuff AND unlimited books.


Prime users don't get unlimited free books.

Each month, they can get one of six editors pick books for free.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=nav_prime_try_btn

PotomacBob

@Dominions Son

I subscribe to Amazon Prime (because of the free shipping that comes with most items I buy), and as a side benefit get some books for free on Kindle. I do not subscribe to KU. My problem with some of the books I buy for Kindle is that they are incomplete - and the blurb often does not indicate it's an unfinished book. To get the whole book - you have to pay the price for each part of the book - but you don't know that before committing to the first book. Since I doubt that it's Amazon that writes the blurbs (I don't know that for sure) and I doubt that it's Amazon that decides to publish partial books (I don't know that for sure either), I am reluctant to buy books there unless it's a known quantity I've seen reviewed in the mainstream media. I consider the partial book (without notice that it's partial) to be dishonest. I felt I was ripped off, regardless of price.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Prime users don't get unlimited free books.


I had no idea.
Thanks.

Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

I subscribe to Amazon Prime (because of the free shipping that comes with most items I buy),


I bought my first Kindle paperwhite before they came out with Prime. I don't order enough physical stuff on-line through Amazon or anyone else, to justify a monthly subscription to get free shipping.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I didn't know KU was a separate thing.
Why not get Prime? It give you a lot of stuff AND unlimited books.

I don't think it was. I think they eventually broke it up into two separate things. I guess, once they greased the wheels of the free-shipping ordering with free books and movies, they decided they no longer had to give away the free goodies, so they shifted it to it's own pay service.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Could that be tied to price? Do you price your longer stories more?

It's more tied to theme. Stories with a recognizable theme (ex: 'space opera', or 'lost youngsters searching for themselves' and the purchases shoot up, write about zombies or homeless people, and readers have to be coaxed into trying it).

For me, my purchases have always been very price inelastic, while Amazon has long pushed authors to offer their books for $.99 or free to boost purchases. For me, I'm selling to people who already know me, so they'll purchase nearly as many books as $6.99 as they will for $2.99.

I'm close to finishing a free book giveaway of a mystery, and it's registering my lowest interest (fewest participants and fewest visits to my site) than any previous contest. Go figure.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

I am reluctant to buy books there unless it's a known quantity I've seen reviewed in the mainstream media. I consider the partial book (without notice that it's partial) to be dishonest. I felt I was ripped off, regardless of price.

Maybe we need to start labeling our novels "Complete story" or even "Complete book, set in a continuing series". It seems stupid to have to declare that, but there are SO many people writing 10,000 to 20,000 word 'novels', it might just be necessary.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Maybe we need to start labeling our novels "Complete story" or even "Complete book, set in a continuing series". It seems stupid to have to declare that, but there are SO many people writing 10,000 to 20,000 word 'novels', it might just be necessary.


Virtual thumbs up from me.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

I bought my first Kindle paperwhite before they came out with Prime. I don't order enough physical stuff on-line through Amazon or anyone else, to justify a monthly subscription to get free shipping.


Prime does still give you access to their video content though. Well, some of it anyway. Their original content and a selection of new releases as well as a decent selection of older stuff as well. But a lot of the newer stuff is hiding behind "Amazon Channels" at this point(although to be fair, a lot of those channels are third parties, such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc)

Amazon Music used to be included, but it now has a "Music Unlimited" version now that stands apart from Prime. Prime will still get you some "free music" but not much.

Kindle Unlimited became its own thing a couple years before Amazon Music did.

This is how Amazon is making money off of their Kindle tablets. They get you to buy the tablet as a means to "upsell" Prime(for video), Music Unlimted(for music), and Kindle Unlimited(for books), and from there they'll try to nickle and dime you for the "off list" selections you want to make.

So they'll sell you Tablet that could easily retail for two or three hundred and only ask $50 for it, but they're going to try their utmost to sucker you into about $30/month in monthly fees, if not more.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

but there are SO many people writing 10,000 to 20,000 word 'novels'


I don't see that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Virtual thumbs up from me.

It's like those of us who post "All my stories are completed" whenever we post on SOL. I guess it's a wider problem than I was willing to acknowledge.

With no publisher breathing down our necks, many authors never bother completing their stories! :(

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I don't see that.

I didn't mean in the top-10 or top 100 count, but was basing it on this blog post and our previous discussions with the SOL author who routinely posted 10,000 word 'novels' which only partially continued his stories over multiple weekly or monthly books.

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

It would not have to be any particular words as long as the description was accurate. I am a fan of post apocalypse stories, and bought one e-book (I don't remember the title) that advertised it as a story of a guy caught in a PA world in New York City, who had to hike his way all across the country to his family in LA. It was a pretty good story - but the book ended with him only partway home, and said if I wanted to read the rest of the story I had to buy another book. I bitched to amazon, and somebody later changed the listing to indicate it was a 3-book series to get the whole story. If the description had said that from the beginning, I would not have felt cheated. I did not buy the rest of the series.

Switch Blayde

@PotomacBob

I did not buy the rest of the series.


You should have returned the one you bought. Amazon has a very liberal return policy and that justified a return.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde


You should have returned the one you bought. Amazon has a very liberal return policy and that justified a return.


That's true. They even sell books I have they don't have an approval to sell, then a year later suck the money back saying it was returned.

PotomacBob

@Switch Blayde

They only allow returns of books you can touch - not e-books.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@PotomacBob

They only allow returns of books you can touch - not e-books.


Not true.

My novel "Sexual Awakening" is ebook only. Just the other week, I had a sale and about a week later (time for the person to finish the book), it was returned.

ETA: Here are the actual numbers.

Sold copies on Aug 5 and Aug 22.
One returned on Aug 28.

I assume it was the Aug 22 sale that was returned 6 days later.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@PotomacBob


They only allow returns of books you can touch - not e-books.


According to the sales records I have Amazon sold an e-pub copy of Rough Diamond in Oct 2017, 2 in Sept 2017, I in April 2017, 1 in March 2017, 2 in Sept 2016, 1 in July 2016, 2 in June 2016 I in late May 2016, in early May they gave a credit of return for a sale of an e-pub of Rough Diamond sold in March 2016 (or earlier), 1 in Jan 2016, 1 in May 2015.

So they did give a credit on a return of an e-book a couple of months later. And these are all sales of a version of the book where I did NOT give Amazon approval to sell it. I withdrew approval for them to sell Rough Diamond back on 2010 or 2011. But they still sell it and now advertise the 2013 and 2015 versions for sale as Kindle e-books.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@PotomacBob

They only allow returns of books you can touch - not e-books.

Did you say, "I demand a refund"?

My impression was they are very good at exploiting every opportunity to maximise net receipts, but knowing how dubious some of their practices are, they'll gladly issue refunds to customers who complain - rather than risk having them make a fuss.

EB no doubt has a very different story to tell. My guess is they care nothing for complaints by authors who have ditched them, but they will go to some lengths to keep an ordinary retail customer satisfied.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

My guess is they care nothing for complaints by authors who have ditched them, but they will go to some lengths to keep an ordinary retail customer satisfied.


with emphasis on the some.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

It would not have to be any particular words as long as the description was accurate. I am a fan of post apocalypse stories, and bought one e-book (I don't remember the title) that advertised it as a story of a guy caught in a PA world in New York City, who had to hike his way all across the country to his family in LA. It was a pretty good story - but the book ended with him only partway home, and said if I wanted to read the rest of the story I had to buy another book. I bitched to amazon, and somebody later changed the listing to indicate it was a 3-book series to get the whole story. If the description had said that from the beginning, I would not have felt cheated. I did not buy the rest of the series.

I run into this all the time, as I'll write one book (with no "series" attached to the title), only to add another book later. In that case, as soon as I start the next book, I add the series title (ex: "Demonic Issues 2"), though I add nothing to the story description (except where I add a "Reading the first book is required to understand this book").

In the case where I plan a full-series ahead of time, then I clearly label it as a series, even if I'm only releasing the first book out of many (ex: "Not-Quite Human 1").

Each of my books are 'complete', meaning each book can be read alone (unless the previous books are complicated, and thus require reading the previous books as noted before), but readers still deserve to know what they're getting into, so they don't feel like you're playing 'bait & switch' with them. :(

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

They only allow returns of books you can touch - not e-books.

Not true.

My novel "Sexual Awakening" is ebook only. Just the other week, I had a sale and about a week later (time for the person to finish the book), it was returned.

There's also a known history here, where many people would purchase ebooks, read the entire thing, and then return them only to repeat the process multiple times (probably reselling the stories as their own too!).

However, Amazon apparently put a stop to that, probably by deleting the accounts of anyone who returns too many books, though I've never seen a limit to how many books can be returned before you get into trouble. :(

By the way, I've had several returned, although luckily, it doesn't happen very often, as most of my new readers like my stories enough, they'll go back and purchase most of my existing stories. (Wa-Hoo!)

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

So they did give a credit on a return of an e-book a couple of months later. And these are all sales of a version of the book where I did NOT give Amazon approval to sell it.

Normally the 'return credit' is processed immediate, and the author is informed about it right away too. I'm guessing what happened in your case, is that since you're not in the U.S. marketplace, they only pay you once every month by check, in which case they probably won't register the credit until they cut the next check. (Just guessin')

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Did you say, "I demand a refund"?

I'm not aware of any policies concerning returns (i.e. I've never read any "return policy" in my Amazon TOS agreement), but the understanding seems to be that you can return anything that doesn't appeal to you, for whatever reason. As I stated earlier, I suspect they'll punish you if you start reading and returning multiple books in a row, but even then, I've never seen any stated policy about such behavior.

The idea is, if you order a book, expecting you'll like it, only to find that you don't (ex: too much, too little sex, too much or too little violence or too much or too little romance), you're free to return it for no penalty. They want appreciative fans, though they don't give a shit whether authors like them or not!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not aware of any policies concerning returns

You would have more experience with them than I do.
I saw PotomacBob's comment and was sure his only problem was he had not asked for a refund (the right way).
He has a valid reason to ask. I don't doubt your experience that they don't even require one, although they may take action they deem someone is 'abusing the privilege'.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

He has a valid reason to ask. I don't doubt your experience that they don't even require one, although they may take action they deem someone is 'abusing the privilege'.

Personally, I've never returned one, and as I said, I've never seen an official policy regarding the restrictions on returns, though they likely have on for their staff on handling ebook returns. My statement that they 'handle returns for any reason' is based purely on second and third-hand experience (other people saying they've returned items, though I don't know the specifics on how they returned them.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Normally the 'return credit' is processed immediate, and the author is informed about it right away too. I'm guessing what happened in your case, is that since you're not in the U.S. marketplace, they only pay you once every month by check, in which case they probably won't register the credit until they cut the next check. (Just guessin')


2 things here CW, I'll deal with separately.

1. The dates make it clear the credit must relate to a sale about 2 months earlier. So they allow the return to be many days after the sale - or they delay the processing.

2. I sell through Lulu USA, so I'm on the USA market and I get paid by Lulu a month after sale via PayPal. How often Amazon pays Lulu I don't know, or what the delay is.

2.a. Amazon have not had approval to sell Rough Diamond since 2010, yet they continue to sell it without approval, and the previous approval was via Lulu, so the Amazon rules don't apply to it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

2 things here CW, I'll deal with separately.

I've never sold anything thru Amazon through a secondary party, choosing to sell directly thru Amazon itself. In those cases, the reports they display online show the refunds immediately, though the payments only arrive once a month.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I've never sold anything thru Amazon through a secondary party, choosing to sell directly thru Amazon itself. In those cases, the reports they display online show the refunds immediately, though the payments only arrive once a month.


I thought that was the case form our previous discussions on it. However, I find it more likely Amazon will process a credit to rip money off me faster than when they pay me, so when the credit is a couple of months after the last payment, it indicates the'll credit people after they had it a long time.

Also, the reason I through another party is so I can sidestep the worst aspects of the Amazon contract, but that doesn't seem to stop them selling a version of a book they don't have approval to sell.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

rip money off me

If they rip you off, what other than money would they tear off? Clothing?

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@richardshagrin

If they rip you off, what other than money would they tear off? Clothing?


Surely you didn't think they're putting all that effort into Drone technology just so they can deliver packages? 😇

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Surely you didn't think they're putting all that effort into Drone technology just so they can deliver packages?


I think they are hoping to be able to deliver "packages" for the military.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I think they are hoping to be able to deliver "packages" for the military.

They're hoping to continue shipping packages once the zombie apocalypse arrives and UPS drivers are afraid to venture outside.

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