Monday, May 2, 2016

Fraud or just Foul?

It's been all over Facebook recently. The idea of unscrupulous behavior. It's not Wall Street or Washington, as you might think. It's so everyday it might be something you dismiss, but when looked at with an ice cold eye, speaks volumes about certain people. Especially today.

I'm usually a live and let live person. I don't do politics and I try very hard not to judge, but in this instance I feel compelled to speak my peace.

Dishonesty is a character trait I despise. It goes hand-in-hand with lying and trying to get-over. Next to hate and intolerance, if there was ever a phrase and an ideology I'd like to eradicate it would be that. Getting over on someone smacks of snide disregard, of entitlement and a self-deluded belief that you are above doing what's right.

Like I said, this is not about Wall Street or Washington. It's about books. More importantly, it's about people who feel they have the right to steal what they deem should be theirs for free.

"It's a victim-less crime."

I've heard that argument before, and quite frankly it's bullshit, plain and simple. There are victims. Authors are the victims. This is as much a crime as if you put your hand in their pockets and stole cold, hard cash. Writing is an author's job, and books are the products they sell. Sell...not giveaway. Many authors reeling from this dishonest sense of entitlement are independently published, so countering with the argument that publishing houses have millions so it doesn't hurt anyone is just more self-deluded BS.

But this isn't about pirating...although that's bad enough on its own. This is far worse because this cuts an author to the core. It rips their heart out and watches as it bleeds.

I'm talking about readers who buy an author's book, read it, love it and then return it because they say they can't afford it, and worse yet, claim the books should be free because praise alone should be payment enough. Wrong! It's as wrong as ordering a meal in a restaurant, eating it, praising the chef, and then refusing to pay the check because the menu was too expensive.

Again...I call bullshit.

Most people are not independently wealthy. They have to work for a living. If their boss praised their work, told them how good they were at their job, but then informed them they were no longer going to pay their salary because they were so good at their job it should be free, there would be a march on said employer!

So what makes that employer so despicable, so callous and unjust, BUT it's okay for readers to download pirated books (stolen property) or read books, enjoy them, and then return them for a refund? Free market enterprise? Uhm...maybe you should look the term up in the dictionary.

If you value the work you do in your job, then what makes it okay to devalue someone else's work? An author's work? There's only one definition for this kind of mindset and the behavior that ensues and that is fraud...and it IS foul...and in the case of books read and enjoyed and then returned, it is also premeditated dishonesty.

If you want free books, go to the library. Or join an author's newsletter. They'll shower you with freebies and goodies. I know I do with my readers. Otherwise, pay for the goods and services you enjoy like everyone else does. Stop trying to get over. It's ugly. It's wrong, and if was done to you, chances are you'd be screaming foul louder than the rest.

Marianne Morea


  1. I can't believe that people will read a book and return it . even if I hate the book I will never ever return it . that is so wrong if you want the book for free go to the library and get it from there and then return it . Authors loose money every time a book is returned .

    1. Agreed. I don't get people, sometimes.

  2. How was all this discovered, it seems so thoughtless

    1. Barbara,

      Indy authors have been dealing with returns for a long time. It's expected. But what we began to see was a trend that led to the suspicion people were using Amazon's loose return policy on digital books for their own gain. It was an educated guess, but a few days ago the community got the first bit of proof we weren't imagining things. An author acquaintance, Elizabeth York, received an email from a reader. The message praised her books, told her how much the reader enjoyed every one of them, but that once done, she sadly had to return them because the books were too expensive. We're talking $.99-$2.99 each. We're not talking hundreds of books, either. But besides telling the author she returned her books after enjoying them, she the reader then asked if the books could be free in the future to save her the trouble of returning them.

      E.Y. replied and was then verbally assaulted. She was called a cunt and other names for outing this bit of proof of our suspicions, the reader then accusing authors of being greedy when praise should be payment enough.

      There are always legitimate reasons for returning a product...books or otherwise. In my industry not every book is going to please every reader, and there are always amateurs who don't understand the necessity of good writing and good editing and formatting, so poor quality is another legit reason. But because you cannot afford it? No. Not after you've read and enjoyed an author's books. It's dishonest and it hurts authors on many levels...not just financially.

      I'm sure there are many shades to this situation, but that's the gist.



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