Saturday, January 04, 2014
Life isn't always tidy
Looking at my list of books sold January 1, where I expected to find a gold bar, which is what you see until a sale appears (I mean sales were good -- for me anyway in December-- with a few much appreciated reviews where people told me, sometimes in emails, how much they enjoyed my books, a sale already was unlikely. I both laughed and growled when I saw why no gold bar.
My bet is the same person who stole 11 of my books in December came back December 28th, ordered one of the two books they hadn't already gotten, waited a couple of days and then asked for the refund. Hence [-1] is what showed up to start off January. I bet it won't be long and they'll have the last one also. Wonder if they will come back for new arrivals. The thefts have been a thorn in my side-- mainly because Amazon lets it happen.
The policy in Amazon is you can get a total refund of any purchase without giving a reason if you ask for it within 7 days. So any reader can order an eBook, read it, or just stash it on their computer and then ask for the refund even if they loved the book. There is no way Amazon can track it down and take it back. They ask no questions nor currently appear to look at how many returns a person has had. Although someone might use different email accounts, it could be tracked -- if Amazon cared.
Basically as one friend said, this kind of thing happens with those who go into a store, buy a big screen TV, watch the Super Bowl, and then return the TV the next day. In their case though they stole usage of the TV or the dress they wore to a big party. The item is returned. It's all dishonest, but in the case of the eBooks, it enables total theft.
It's been said that you only really know if you are an honest person if you will steal when you know you can get away with it. Amazon is making that possible with their policy most especially where it comes to Kindles. If they only stole the books to read, that's one thing. Not good as it establishes a habit of taking whatever one feels they can get away with but there is another possibility for the thefts.
Some take those books for pirate sites where they give them away, resell them or alter a few words and claim them for their own. Amazon cooperates with that happening and mostly because what's an indie writer to them? What's a theft to them? They might care if it happens to the big publishing houses at the rate with which it happened to me.
It's funny because I give away books. I gave away thousands when I began putting out the eBooks. It was a way to get seen. It feels different when they are stolen-- partly because it means a dishonest person has that book. If someone is willing to steal to get them, might they do other dishonest things with them?
I had been debating bringing out my Oregon historicals. They wouldn't have been first in 2014 in any case as I have a paranormal novella set for February 1st and a short story in an anthology of western romance writers for the middle of March; but when I do, I am pretty well decided to bring them out only as paperbacks and maybe not even list them on Amazon where they aren't likely to sell many or any. Right now I trust them no more than I do the person who stole the books. They are helping that individual go down a path that may lead to worse. All of life is that way. Actions lead to consequences. When the consequence is it worked, what does that teach?
Every book I write is about that issue of actions --> consequences. I wish I had a way to have the books out there with a company that cared about that philosophy.
The photo is from a path at the trailhead in Catalina State Park. It heads out with signs that clearly state where it's possible to go. Life isn't always so tidy.