Monday News: B&N Nook Rumors; Amazon closing accounts of serial returners; friends on the internet
New Product Listings on B&N Website Hint at New Nook Models Coming This Fall – Another of Nate’s readers has alerted to him to some tablet accessories found on the Barnes & Noble site which suggest a refresh of the Nook devices. This might give readers who are on the fence about purchasing the much discounted Nook Tablets some incentive to buy now.
My source also told me that there are a number of other product pages already in B&N’s system that mention accessories for the SW and AV. He thinks that the new devices will be called the Nook SW and Nook AV. He could be right but at this point there’s not enough info to say for sure. The Digital Reader
Kindle Owners Beware: Amazon is Now Closing Accounts of Bad Customers in Germany – There are a number of authors upset with the ease of the digital book return. I’ve seen this phenomenon in self published authors because digital books are likely returned at a higher rate than print and because sales information and thus returns, are accessible daily. One reviewer on goodreads has a “read and return” shelf with hundreds of titles. An author emailed me about this. I suggested that perhaps that the label had a different meaning than the one that seemed most obvious to the author.
The reason that I believed this is because there have been more than one report of Amazon shutting down a customer’s account due to excessive returns. Nate, the Digital Reader, notes that some accounts in Germany are being shut down for being “serial returners. The Digital Reader
On Internet Friends and In-Person Friends, Or As They Are More Commonly Known, “Friends” – This essay by Becky Chambers at The Mary Sue highlights the benefits of the internet friend and the drawbacks. We are in regular contact with our internet friends brought together by a common interest but our contact is primarily cerebral, limited by our ability to express ourselves in words (and sometimes GIFs).
I’ve read many things discussing — usually with concern — how the internet is changing the way we socialize. There’s this perception that the internet is making us lonelier, or cheapening our friendships. I don’t think we have to worry about that. People who want face time are always going to seek it out, and those who have difficulty making friends in the real world can have an easier time of it online. As for me, I reside somewhere in the middle. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to avoid empty chitchat, as it affords me more time to talk about spaceships. I equally love being able to see someone’s face when they laugh, or to explore a new place with a companion. The value of our friendships isn’t changing; the way we conduct them is expanding. I don’t know where that will lead us, but given the new people and ideas I’ve encountered as a result, I’m all for it. And if nothing else, I’ll be in good company. The Mary Sue
I was especially grateful for my online friends when I moved countries. It takes a while to develop a new circle of off-line friends, so having my online friends still there, accessible, and in a way completely unchanged by my geographical circumstances, was a lifesaver.
For those who are interested, the Nook simple touch w/ glow light is on sale for $99 ($20 off) for the week.
My son has Asperger’s Syndrome, and I am grateful that the internet has allowed him the pleasure of friendship when “real-life” friendships were more difficult for him. He now has a mix of real-life and internet-only friends, but there was a time his video game buddies on the internet were his only friends. They were and are an interesting mix of guys from all over the world, and they were able to reach him in ways we his family never could. For us, his internet friends are an important and positive force in his life.
I met some wonderful new friends on the Internet. I talk to 3 of them at least 3 times a week!
Plus I’ve found many new authors to read.
Thankfully, I haven’t had a “return” problem on Amazon. Yet. But I do have a friend who is both traditionally and self-published who has a MAJOR problem with returns on her independent titles. She has a new four-book series out, and it seems that almost daily someone downloads all four and then returns them all the next day.
She and I sat down with an Amazon representative at RWA to discuss the problem. He said pretty much what you are saying–that “abusers” will have their accounts terminated. My question is–how many returned books does it take for them to notice that someone is abusing their rather liberal return policy?
It boils down to this–some people are treating Amazon like a lending library. :(
Love the Internet Friends essay. When my dad passed away this past winter, the two long-time friends to whom I would have turned to help process the situation were unavailable due to life events of their own. Luckily I have a great online friend (whom I met via the romance community) who was right there for me.
I’m curious to know whether Amazon began the account closures based on their own internal monitoring or if it was prompted by author complaints.
@Sandy James: It boils down to this — some people are treating Amazon like a lending library.
This! I feel like it’s a spill over from the lending library attitude that people have for bricks & mortar stores. Whenever I go to B&N, the store is full of “customers” who buy nothing but use the books as if they were in a local or school library rather than a place interested (nominally) in selling books: pulling reference material from the shelves, using them in the cafe or sitting in the aisle, then leaving them behind scuffed, used, and not really suitable for purchase any longer. Same for flipping through magazines. I wonder if at some point, B&N will become more vigilant about buying before using or forcing turnover in the cafe, especially if Amazon is going to start policing e-books vigorously.
It’s sad but there always seem to be people who only want to work the system. I have never returned an ebook to Amazon (and I do 99% of my book buying there) but I really like knowing I can if I make a mistake with the old “one click” buying or if there is something really egregiously wrong with the book I have the option. I have returned items through the mail from them if they were wrong or came damaged (such as a smashed open jar of conditioner I dutifully slopped back in the packaging and packed up for a refund). I did work in a bookstore many years ago and was appalled at the people who would come in with a book that looked like they read twenty times and then dropped into the bathtub. If it was a paperback, the manager would always take it back then strip the cover off to return for a publisher’s refund. It still rankles me to this day. I hate cheaters.
Even though I don’t read many self published books, I’ve noticed self pubbed authors who like to fuss with covers long after their books’ release dates. I wonder how many authors do this and how much mistaken-for-a-new-book purchases contribute to returns.
Agreed! A shame that a few can ruin things for so many who are polite and conduct themselves with integrity. You did make me smile, however, by reminding me of the Seinfeld episode where George has to buy the book when he took it into the bathroom to read! :)
It reminds me of my school. Privileges are taken away from ALL students when it’s only a handful who abuse them. Amazon has been good to me…I ordered ten copies of one of my books to use for giveaways. Nine were the correct title; one wasn’t. (Rather odd, but…) I notified them by email. They sent ten new books of my title. When I let them know the mistake, they told me to keep the extra books with their compliments. Sweet. :)
@JMC I know what you’re talking about. At our BAM, there is a woman I’ve seen on multiple Fridays who gathers up a huge stack of magazines, sits at the cafe and leafs through them. I don’t even recall her purchasing from the cafe. This really bothers me and I don’t think it should be allowed.
Of all the many hundreds of Kindle books I’ve bought, I’ve returned two, both because the formatting was so incredibly screwed up that the books were entirely unreadable. I felt justified later when both were withdrawn because of these issues.
The read-and-return phenomenon seems, to me, to be the product of huge entitlement.
On the Internet Friends issue, I’ve spent a good part of this century being housebound due to illness. I can truthfully say that without my very good, dear internet friends, I may not have gotten through it. Lifeline to the world, y’all. And often where my offline friends failed me, the internet friends came through.
This topic is actually a very timely one for me. I have bought over 3000+ titles for my Kindle and I have returned exactly two books. One when the content of the book was NOT even close to what the description or the sample described it as and I didn’t want it on my device or my library. The other was just this morning when I realized that I had inadvertently bought a duplicate title. Something I can’t figure out how occurred since I purchase 99% of my books from Amazon to avoid such blunders. I am ashamed to admit in the old days before digital readers and computerized records I would often absentmindedly pick up duplicates at least 3 or 4 times a year only to get a that strange feeling of deju vu after the first few pages.
I am just glad I could return my duplicate book this morning instead of having to slip it into the UBS pile with a sheepish look. Now people buying the book, only to read it and then return it when they are done. I have some advice for you. Get a library card. That’s what they are designed for.
Julaine, my other half loves telling this story: he bought a copy of a Henry Lorayne Improve Your Memory book, brought it home and put it on the bookshelf….next to the OTHER copy of Henry Lorayne’s Improve Your Memory book that he’d bought previously. Oh, how we chortled.
I have a few “online friends” who use the return feature at Amazon as a way to protest books with bad formatting, grammar and spelling issues, typos, etc. They really *aren’t* trying to treat Amazon like a lending library or cheat the authors, but they feel that it’s the only true way to protest that people pay attention to.
And on the topic of “online friends”, one of the things I love about the internet community is finding other people (like those here at Dear Author) who like things I like! Most of my IRL friends are not readers (shocking, I know), so I love being able to log on and find someone to squee over the latest Nalini Singh (or to find the latest unknown-to-me gem, whatever).
I’m sorry if I implied that all people are abusing Amazon’s return policy. I am sure there are plenty of valid reasons for doing so, and bad formatting, grammar, etc… would be quite understandable. I was just pointing out that there are some people abusing that privilege. :)
I’ve always agreed with some ebookstores’ policies of “you download it, it’s non-returnable,” until I actually had to return 2 books I bought this past weekend – my first return in over 2,000 ebook purchases. The file was in a zip, and didn’t contain any ebook format, just an html, and I generally prefer to be able to load and read immediately, not to have to reformat my purchases in Sigil before I read (I always believed that was the publisher’s job – silly me). The retailer did investigate the file issue before granting a credit, which I found interesting; obviously they don’t want to become a library alternative.