4 Common Reasons for Ebook Returns to Avoid

Perfectly suited for our instant gratification society, ebooks are one of the few purchases customers can make online and enjoy instant delivery. Of course, along with instant gratification comes impulse buys and with impulse buys can come returns. Here are four common reasons for ebook returns and how to avoid them.

Didn’t Like the Book — Provide Chapter Excerpts

If you give a shopper an opportunity to read the first chapter of a book, they’ll be in a much better position to decide if they really like it before making the purchase. In fact, it’s almost to your advantage to insist they read at least the first few pages before they purchase it to make sure they’re going to like the book. Once a reader is hooked by a writer’s style, they’re usually happy to read the entire thing and add it to their collection for subsequent readings.

Book Won’t Open — Offer Troubleshooting Tips

Sometimes the book arrives and no matter what your customer tries, it won’t open. In most cases, it’s related to a Digital Rights Management issue, the security software that prevents an ebook from being passed around without the consent of the seller. Downloading the book again, installing the proper reader software, or ensuring the customer’s reader is formatted properly for the book can usually resolve the problem. A section on your site entitled something like “What To Do If Your Book Won’t Open” will give the customer some tools to use to work it out. Another strategy is the employ of chatbots programmed to deal with frequently asked questions and routine problems.  The more you do to help the customer do what they really want to do—read the book—the less likely you’ll be to have to provide a refund.

Purchased Previously — Warn the Customer

Sometimes customers will inadvertently purchase a book they already have, only to discover the mistake when it’s added to their digital bookshelf. It usually happens right away, but it can occasionally be several days later, as some readers purchase books in advance to enjoy while traveling or on vacation. This is where it would be good to configure your ebooks online store to keep track of a customer’s prior purchases, so you can inform them when they’re about to make a duplicate purchase. Sometimes they’ll like a book so much they’ll buy it for a friend, but rather than assuming the customer knows they already have the title, inform them when they’re about to purchase it again.

Poor Grammar and Spelling Errors — Establish Quality Control

Quality issues have grown right along with the popularity of self-publishing. These days, anyone with the temerity to sit down and type 50,000 words can be a “published” novelist. However, because the barrier to entry is so low, books are now being distributed with varying levels of quality. Some people don’t mind, others insist upon perfect grammar, punctuation and spelling. While it’s virtually impossible to read every book you offer in its entirety, you can insist authors proofread their work and scan each title before you offer it for sale. Developing a reputation as a purveyor of inferior product will eventually kill your business.

The more effort you put into avoiding these four common reasons for ebook returns, the fewer dollars you’ll have to give back. This will save both you and your buyers frustration. It will also keep your writers happy and improve customer satisfaction, which ultimately will result in more sales.