Why it doesn’t make sense for Amazon to “bait and switch” e-books
There are people who are really anxious to find bad in the world.
Not, by the way, so they can do anything about it necessarily…it’s more like they want to show that they are smarter than other people because they “aren’t falling for it”.
I’ve seen that sort of attitude before. Have you ever noticed how much quicker people are to accept the accusation of a fraud about something unusual than they are to accept an unusual report?
That’s not necessarily because a fraud is more likely than something unusual happening.
True scientists would test both the accusation of the fraud and the claim of the unusual with the same dispassionate and rigorous challenge. That pretty much defines science for me. It isn’t about how you feel about something, it’s about making an observation, coming up with a prediction, and testing it.
If you dismiss something without testing it, that’s as unscientific as accepting something without testing it.
I may have digressed here a bit.
My point is that some people will toss an accusation of nefarious deception (and sometimes, criminal activity) out into the world, without always thinking it through or testing it.
If you are going to say something bad about someone or some organization, I would always recommend that you look for reasons why it might not be true.
Accuse someone of doing bad when it turns out they aren’t, and you make the world a darker, unhappier place for no good reason.
Say that someone has done something good when they haven’t, and you make the world a brighter, happier place…again, for no reason.
I know which way I’d rather go.
Actually, I’d rather be accurate, and that requires thinking about what you say.
I recently saw someone complaining that Amazon was using a “bait and switch” by having books on the
list that weren’t free.
They used the term “bait and switch”.
Before I address that, let me say that some people were surprised when other people were offended by the term. Do they not think that it is an accusation? I wrote about that “offense blindness” (a condition with which people can’t see that they are being offensive) in How to get help in an online forum.
“Bait and switch” is clearly an accusation of wrongdoing. The term means that you promise one thing to get entice peole to do something (you are “baiting” them), and then you switch it to something else which is less desirable.
Well, if Amazon is ever using “bait and switch” on customers for e-books, it is also doing “catch and release”.
It’s very easy to remedy it if you buy an e-book from Amazon and it doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it was going to be (and that includes the price).
Within seven days of purchase, you can go to
click or tap
and return it for a refund.
So, it doesn’t make much sense for them to fool you with a different price…when you can just get a refund so easily.
Giving you the refund also costs Amazon. It costs them some small amount of money to process it, but it also costs them your goodwill, if you think they tried to fool you…and that’s very valuable for them. Remember, they don’t make much of a margin on e-books (they probably often lose money). If they lose you as a customer over a $2.99 e-book charge, you aren’t going to buy those “diapers and windshield wipers” from them, where I think the real money is.
It simply doesn’t make sense.
Oh, sure, there may be some people who don’t check their e-mail for over a week after ordering, and don’t realize that they were charged for it…but I think that’s going to be a small number. Amazon can’t make a return policy that covers every contingency: I think that expecting you to look at the price before you click the Buy button and/or checking your e-mail within a week is more than reasonable. Last time I checked, neither Sony, Barnes & Noble, nor Kobo allowed e-book returns at any time for any reason.
The reason the accusation happened is that, yes, sometimes, there are books on the free list that aren’t free.
Amazon explains why that is…the list is updated hourly, and the prices can change any time. So, a book that was free at 12:01 will stay on the list until 1:00 (assuming they are updated on the hour), but the price might change as 12:30.
It’s not like Amazon says they have 100 free books and don’t…they have over 50,000 free books.
They even direct you to free books from other sources.
Now, let me be clear: I’m not saying that I’m scientifically proving that Amazon is not trying to use bait and switch.
What I’m saying is that it wouldn’t make much sense for them to do so, since they give you such an easy remedy.
It would be like robbing somebody, and then asking them if they want you to give them their money back…and then doing it.
Oh, and then asking them if they want to shop in your store…
It just doesn’t makes sense to me.
If you are mad because you think someone has an evil motivation, try to come up with every possible way that you could be wrong about that…make a game out of it.
Believe me, life will be more fun that way.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.