I am developing a retail service platform for ebook authors and am at the point of asking myself whether or not to allow returns.
Back when all books were print, returns were relatively simple. A store clerk could examine the product to determine whether or not the intended use of the book (to entertain or educate the reader) had been accomplished. Though meticulous people could fool the clerks (or a clerk might simply be lazy), it's fairly straightforward to determine that the physical object had been used for its expected intent.
Ebooks don't have that convenience. There is no physical object to be damaged during the reading process. There is, in fact, nothing at all to tell the retailer that the book has or has not been read. I'm sure the issue has been discussed many times by many people.
But this begs the question, is it time to do away with returns? If a reasonable sample of an ebook is available on a website, along with the traditional marketing collateral, what justification is there to permit a return? (I am assuming that even in the case of a gift purchase, the reader can evaluate the book before using the gift code, and therefore choose to redeem the code for credit rather than an unwanted book.)
Should I permit returns, or should I not permit returns?