Topical Tuesday: Should You Be Able to Return Bad Books as Faulty Merchandise?

What!? I had no idea that this was even a question in the minds of people who read. It was recently brought to my attention by my good friend and fellow author, Chandler (whose thoughts on this matter I’m sure will be better than mine and available on her blog). Apparently, some book in a “Twilight” series wasn’t what people were hoping for and a lot of them are trying to return it and get their money back.


Buying books is like going to Vegas: it’s a gamble and if you don’t like the results, try getting a hooker. Some books are bad. Dare I say, more are bad than good, but the moment you buy it and put the words into your head, you’ve gotten what you paid for: those words, no matter your opinion of them.

I believe that the problem in this Twilight case was that people loved the first books in the series and were unsatisfied by the most recent one. You know what? Deal with it. The author obviously did a good enough job to convince you to get this one so hat’s off. We can’t win them all.

Should you get your money back for a bad movie? I wish! What if it was the fault of one actor? Should I always get my money back when I see Ben Affleck movies? NO! I should deal with it because I took the gamble. Movies and books can suck. That’s the way of the world: filled with opinions.

If you’re worried a book won’t be good or if you think you should have the right to read without paying then start using the library more often. That’s what the system is for.

Returning books because they’re bad….ridiculous.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Have you ever returned a bad book? What’s the worst book you ever read? What did you do when you were finished reading it?

For another Topical Tuesday topic, click HERE. To read about how Ben Affleck sucks and ruins movies I should get my money back for, click HERE.

And don’t forget to check out Chandler’s blog for her thoughts on this matter HERE.

5 Responses

  1. […] To read Jay’s take on Topical Tuesday, click here! […]

  2. That’s dumb. “Bad” is completely subjective. If the book is damaged physically, sure you should get your money back. Otherwise suck it up!

  3. Just to play devil’s advocate… 😉 Why not? How is a book unlike other products for sale? “This dress doesn’t fit; I want to return it.” “This tablecloth was the wrong color; I want to return it.” As long as you have the receipt and there’s no obvious damage to the book, why shouldn’t a customer return the book to the seller. Also, with some bookstores, the books are sold on consignment, meaning that the store doesn’t actually own the book (the publisher retains title), so the bookstore doesn’t necessarily lose any money from the return (except for any commission it might receive from the sale).

    BTW, I have returned a book locally, but that was because the book was bound wrong (pages in the wrong places). I had the bookstore take it back and give me a replacement copy, which I still own.

  4. I think that Chandler does a better job with the “why not” in her post than I do in mine, but let me try to summarize how she put it. When you buy a book and read it, the product that you agreed to pay for was knowing what the words in the book were – knowing what happened to the characters of a story. Your agreement to purchase the book was based on finding out what those words were, not whether or not you liked it. You got what you paid for once you read the book.

    This discussion was about fiction but I think extending it to a history book would be good. If you read a historical work about King Henry VIII and you don’t like what kind of man he became and at the end of the book you didn’t like it and return it, that’s not okay because you already learned about King Henry VIII as this author wrote about him. The knowledge is in your head and you got what you paid for, whether or not you like the content.

    Now, I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t be able to return books – and it’s certainly true that it is the publisher rather than the bookstore that is losing out. I was just given a book as a present that I already own and have read (excellent book: The Master and Margarita), and I certainly intend to return it for something else. Just like your poorly bound book, this is not what I paid for, in a sense, and it should be returnable. Allowing no returns on books would mean this book was paid for double, like getting double-charged for a steak at a restaurant. Obviously, in many cases like these, books should be returnable – just not under the condition that you read the book and didn’t like the story.

    That’s why at electronics stores you can only returned opened CDs or DVDs for the same one (the assumption being the disk is bad) because they assume that if it’s opened you watched or copied it and that was the value of the disk – not your opinion of it.

  5. 2 Things.
    Most books should be a mystery and adventure for the reader. If it’s not up to your expectations that’s your problem. Sucks that you have such poor taste.

    However, if I bought an Atlas advertised as being a world atlas only to find Ben Affleck fucking a duck on every page I’d want my money back and return the book.

    Take this home with you. Learn the difference between being lied to, and having shitty taste. Don’t be a gay flamboyant Chihuahua and bitch every time something doesn’t go your way. Woof.

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