This post, by Sam Cheever, originally appeared on ‘Tween You And Me on 5/4/12.
Over the last week I’ve noticed something that has me really concerned. My titles are selling. And then they’re being returned. I’ve been indie publishing for about 2 years now. I can count on three fingers the number of returns I’ve had of my ebooks over that period of time.
Over the last 2 days I’ve had 8.
Okay, I know that’s not a lot in the overall scheme, but I think it’s a pattern. Amazon has been nice enough in responding to my concerns, though I imagine they think I’m a total loon at this point. The problem isn’t very big yet. However, to a hard working author who counts every penny she earns dearly, 8 lost sales is a smack in the face. Here’s what I think… I believe someone is scamming the system. I think they’re buying the books, reading or copying them, and then returning them.
Paranoid? Maybe. But there’s that pattern to worry about again. I’m not imagining the 300% increase in returns in an extremely condensed timeline. It’s not so farfetched when you think about how many pirate sites authors have to monitor and report in a given year. There are lots of unscrupulous people who apparently only care about getting what they want for themselves and the hell with the author/artist/whatever.
It’s disheartening. I hope I’m wrong. But I really think I’m discovering the leading edge of a new type (or at least growing if not new) of piracy.