On Self-Publishing

Harper’s Harpings – Perplexing Amazon Refunds



I am somewhat perplexed. If you buy an eBook on Amazon you have fourteen days to obtain a refund, fourteen days, doesn’t matter on the number of pages. Even free books can be refunded!? I think I would be happier if it were 24 or 48 hours but two weeks, hmmmm.

The eBook for Loving Lilly has been out for a few days and yet I have already had two refunds.

Now there are many reasons why someone would want a refund after buying my book and the list below is not exhaustive but just a few that came to mind:

  • The book was utter shite?It very well could be, they may not have downloaded a sample, it may not have caught their attention.  They may have wanted a short story and got a full novel.  They could have felt the price did not seem value for money. Who knows? Not everyone is going to like my book and I get that, that is ok but just tell me why, please?
  • The formatting was awful?This, I can rule out, I have tested the book on iBooks, Kindle App, Kindle itself, iPod, iPhone and it is all ok.  Also Amazon tell you if there are formatting issues.
  • Dozens of spelling mistakes?This, I can also rule out, all words are spelt correctly.  That doesn’t mean I have used the correct words or in the correct order, they may however be the wrong words, see grammar below.
  • Grammar errors galore?Now this is a biggie, after checking by me and others, there are still errors, not huge blooping ones, but there are errors all the same.  There are some errors in hugely famous books too.  I aim for perfection, I am far from it.
  • The book cover screams one type of book, the words say another?There are two semi naked people almost kissing, that should say steamy romance, surely.
  • The blurb says one thing the book is about something else?I certainly hope not, its about a woman who needs to change her life and with the help of her friends she does and finds love too.  I am fairly hopeful the blurb says that.
  • No warning about the sexy parts?I put in the blurb that it is for over 18s and that after the bedroom door is closed the story continues.
  • The wrong Loving Lilly was purchased?There are three Loving Lilly/Lily books out there, so yes, they may very well might have bought the incorrect book, even though the author is different the cover is different and the story is different.
  • Parental settings have not been blocked?The other reason could be that a child may have bought the book in error or similar.  Especially if the account is shared over several device.


There are plenty of other reasons that this could be, issuing refunds is not what bothers me.  A customer has a right to a refund.  What bothers me is that I don’t know why.  A customer is asked why they are wanting a refund but they don’t have to say why.  Repeat offenders are banned but can set up as someone else.

The other bit is this, I have sold 20 books in three days, now for me that is awesome and I am damned delighted especially as I only know of three people directly that has bought it.  The rest are perfect strangers, all the more reason why I want to know why they were unhappy.  This is not because I want to convince them that my book is for them but if there is something I am able to change (except the story) then I would want to.

This is the weird thing, I used to write under a different name, I wrote a book under the same genre and sold 337 books, the book was only on the market for four months before I withdrew it.  In that time I had one refund, one.

Loving Lilly had been on sale 12 hours before a refund was issued and then another refund was within another 12 hours.

Two refunds in 24 hours and I had only sold 4 books at the time. Bizarre really.  There is only one difference between the other book and this one.  The other one I didn’t protect it with the DRM thing and this one I did, the other book is on four pirate sites that I know of and this one so far I haven’t seen on any. Could this be why I had 50% refunds in the first day?

Could that be it?  No idea but I have this need to know why someone buys an eBook and dislikes it so much that they ask for a refund.  It is their right of course but I would like to have the feedback even if it is anonymous.  Write me a crappy review, anything!

The other bizarre things is that today I see that I have sold 19 copies and now only one refund, so that sale and refund has been deleted.  What is a dodgy account, who knows?  Amazon is certainly not telling me.

I guess I will never know and as time goes along there will be more refunds.

Have you experienced asking for a refund or an author who has had their books refunded? Would you share your views?

Thanks for reading



Harper’s Motto: You will not be everybody’s favourite flavour, but that’s ok, because they will not always be your favourite flavour.  Be who you want to be and you will attract the people who will support you no matter what.


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