Not All Ebooks Are Created Equally

I understand that not ebooks are created equally.  Some are edited better than others.  Some are written better than others.  Some just aren’t for the reader, they thought they were going to enjoy it, but didn’t.  It happens and ebooks have no resale value like a paperback.

I know, I’m the queen of reading ebooks I find I don’t like when I finish them.  A great example; I read a book that Joe Konrath (writing as Jack Kilborn) cowrote with Blake Crouch and I loved it.  So, I grabbed a handful of Blake Crouch novels.  Uh, nope, I read each of them and just couldn’t get interested.  The same problem emerged with Odd Thomas – I like Dean Koontz as a general rule and it seemed like a book I would enjoy.  I didn’t.  As oddity would have it though, I did enjoy the audiobook of Odd Thomas.  I also enjoyed the audiobook of The Pines by Blake Crouch. But the books bored me so much, I actually feel asleep reading them on multiple occasions… I didn’t even finish either ebook.

So what exactly is the point of this post?  Four days ago, a copy of Dark Illumination was returned.  Three days ago, a copy of Dark Resurrections was returned.  Two days ago, it was Dark Legacies.  I’m not an idiot.  Ebooks do not get returned in order, one after another, randomly.  Plus, I don’t have that many returns.  Most months, I don’t have any.  When I do have returns, it’s the same thing, each book in a series gets returned, in reading order, usually one day after the other.  It bugs the shit out of me.

It isn’t the returns themselves that bug me.  It’s the fact that I could see someone buying, reading, and returning them, day after bloody day.  Obviously, they enjoyed the series enough that they had to know how it ended, but they didn’t enjoy it enough to pay the entire $8.97 for the four books?  They should have gotten four books for $9… but no, they got four books completely free.  Would they do the same to Dean Koontz?  Do they habitually buy books and return them after reading them?

And now, I see the same thing happening with the Dreams novels.  Elysium Dreams had a return the day before yesterday.  Last night, I came home to find a return on Mercurial Dreams.  I would be willing to bet that sometime today, Explosive Dreams has a return.

This leaves me wondering, are they too poor to afford ebooks?  If so, I understand that and they should contact me, maybe we can work something out.  Or are they really that… I can’t think of a word to insert here, so insert your own… that they will read all my books and begrudge me the paltry sum of $17.08 (because that’s what I make on those two series if you buy them all) – it would cost them $24.93 for 9 books.  That’s the part that chaps my ass, before ebooks, spending  $24.93 might have gotten you four mass market paperbacks, depending on the author and where you bought them (more than likely, it would have gotten you three, unless you only bought used books at garage sales, because even used book stores charge more for a used paperback than most ebooks).   Also, let’s be honest, you can’t even go to a two hour movie for $24.93, unless you buy only a ticket and nothing from the concession stand… Reading all those books, even if you read fast, will take you around 27 hours.  Where else can you get at least 27 hours worth of entertainment for $24.93?

This rant is “me-ecentric,” but it actually applies to all authors.  Don’t return ebooks unless you just absolutely despise them.  Like if I had bought Anna Karenina  in ebook form, even for $0.99, I would return it, but I have a deep-seeded disgust for the book that has become a pathological hatred where the very name makes me feel ill.  If there was a sequel, I definitely wouldn’t be buy it.  Ebooks that you feel this strongly about, you should return.  Other ebooks, not so much.  Is that $2.99 or $3.99 really going to break you?

Leave a comment


  1. Anu

     /  September 25, 2014

    Hi, I really love and enjoy your Dreams novels, and if this somehow helps then I would buy your next Butchered dreams even when one e-book would cost $24.93 (and I strongly believe that I’m not the only one thinking that way). Best wishes and thumbs up from Estonia 🙂 Can’t wait to read it already…


    • Thank you! I get that people who do that are not “loyal readers,” but it still irks me. It would be like me walking into their home, printing off all my novels – thereby, using all their ink – and then walking back out without offering to buy new ink.

      PS: I love finding out where my readers are from and it’s very cool that someone in Estonia is reading my books.



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