Would you return/exchange a book at the bookstore if you simply didn't like it?

I’m reading a book that I purchased within the 2 week period; I do not like the book (40 pages in), and wanted to know what people thought about actually returning the book - is it dishonorable to ask the bookstore to honor the policy or returns? Will they lose money on it? If I exchange it for something else, would that mitigate any kind of loss they incur? Or is it simply a decision that can be made without getting all moralistic?

Thats a new one on me. I’ve never returned a book quite tht way. Our local bookstore has new and used books so if I don’t like it I trade it in on another used book. I’d say if the book was in pristine condition, no creases in the spine Go for it.

I would never return a book because I don’t like it, and I think it’s dishonest. A bookstore’s task is to sell you books that you pick out, not to ensure you’re forever content with what you’ve purchased. It’s not as though your Great-Aunt Betty gave you a how-to book on crochet and you want to exchange it to keep it from gathering dust.

The record store where I used to work used to have a policy that allowed customers to exchange CDs or tapes if they weren’t satisfied, and this included people who just didn’t like them. I’d always, always wished I would have been allowed to ask “So let me get this straight-you want to return what you yourself picked out because it turns out you’ve got crap taste?”

Agree. Also, if you go to places like Barnes & Noble, people sit at tables and read books for hours, it seems, then put them back. I don’t see a problem with returning the book, depending on store policy.

I was at the bookstore once trying to choose a quit smoking self help book and the clerk suggested I buy one and if I didn’t like it, bring it back for the other. I guess I looked surprised and he said, “as long as you don’t spill anything on it or break the spine.”

If the bookstore has a refund policy, why would it be wrong to return something? It’s not like you habitually buy books under the pretense of wanting to keep them, take them home and read them cover to cover and then return them for cash. If you just take it back and choose something else, what difference does it make to the bookstore? They can still re-sell or return the book you didn’t like to the publisher and over time, you will probably spend more and keep more if you know they aren’t taking the attitude of “too bad you don’t like it you shouldn’t have picked such a dumb book HA HA HA on you.”

You’re a tad self righteous doncha think?

How do I know I won’t like it based on the ten lines written on the back of the book? Or based on the ONE song played on the radio? A lot of CDs have one good song and a hell of a lot of CRAP on them.

Why is it dishonest to expect to get quality for my money?

My mom was once behind someone in line at a book store who returned a book she’d read all the way through because she didn’t like it. The clerk refunded her money and told her never to come back.

But if you’ve only red part of it? I dunno, it never occured to me to return a book I was in the middle of because I didn’t like it. It sort of rubs me the wrong way but I don’t know why. I wouldn’t hesitate to return unworn clothes if I changed my mind about them, or to send partially eaten food back at a restaurant if it was unacceptable. But somehow something about returning a partially “consumed” book seems wrong.

But that’s just me.

Sorry, but I think this is a bit unethical. The book store would probably try to resell your book, firstly. Maybe then the customers pass over that slightly-ruffled copy in search of something pristine. Ultimately the store returns the book to the distributor for a refund. Though the store has apparently broken even, what about the money it’s paying employees to shelve, deshelve, pack up & return books? And what about the customers who were not buying the book while you were reading it?

A B&N Employee once told me that it was ok if I did that…


I’ve returned books because it turns out I didn’t need them for a class (and the syllabus lied) - and I think I would return a gift if it was totally not me.

But I can’t imagine just returning a book because I didn’t like it. It would be weird.

I probably won’t do it - it’s all of 7.99 + NYC tax, less than lunch at a typical Midtown restaurant - but if I hadn’t touched it (i.e., in the same, pristine condition), then I would not think twice about returning it. But since I did read through 40 pages, I guess I’ll try selling it online, or maybe just keeping it and trying to read it at some other point in my life. I’d even exchange it, if they would let me (this place is an independent bookseller, and I try going there whenever I’m around), but it’s okay - guess I’ll just eat it.

*Originally posted by Krisfer the Cat *
You’re a tad self righteous doncha think?

Of course I was/am self-righteous. I worked in a record store- khakis, polo shirts, nametags and self-righteousness were mandatory.

In the case of books that aren’t wrapped in plastic, why would anyone not go beyond the ten lines written on the back?

The dishonesty is not in the expectation of quality, but in the action taken because of it.

Assuming no one at the store put a gun to your head, you went into a store, looked around, and took a gamble on a particular book. Whatever criteria used for this-you liked the author’s previous work, you like the subject, a friend recommended it, it got good reviews, it had a pretty cover-are up to you. Since the bookstore didn’t write the book or shape your taste, why should they be held responsible for a customer just plain not liking it?

My views are probably shaped by the fact that the percentage of books and CDs I’ve bought that I turned out not to like is incredibly low. I know my own tastes, I expose myself to a lot of reviews and opinions, and I enjoy a wide variety of literature and music. In the cases where I haven’t liked something (Stewart O’Nan’s A Prayer for the Dying and Rai Superstars are the only things that come to mind), I wouldn’t ask someone else to replace what I didn’t like.

Just another reason to buy through book clubs. History Book Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, Discovery Channel Book Club, BOMC, and Mystery Guild ALL have a 10 day return policy. Of course it costs a bit to send them back but not nearly what the books cost originally.

I wouldn’t, but then I don’t usually buy books unless I know I’ll like them (and will probably read them more than once); anything I have the slightest doubt about, I wait for the library to get a copy.

Would you demand your money back at a movie theater because you didn’t like the movie?

You bought the book. The book isn’t defective in that pages are falling out, or it turns out to have a squashed bug in between the pages. It’s not the bookstore’s problem that the book sucks.

At the cost of new books … well I almost never buy new except from bookclubs.

Another vote for Indy bookdealers… the ones I deal with have return policies.

Otto, returning clothers you haven’t worn is different then returning a book you read part of. Would you wear some clothes for 1 day then return them? After all they are only partially used.

I would never do it but if the store has a return policy and you meet it then I see nothing wrong with it.

I would not return a book just because I didn’t like it. However, if there is a store policy that allows you to do so, it is not dishonorable.

nisosbar, I 'd ask the store for their return policy first. If its a big chain then its probably has that policy written on their web site.

I wouldn’t, but I would see if I could get a used bookstore to take it. Since I generally try to only buy paperbacks (used paperbacks at that), I figure the most I’ll be out is the purchase price, so only 7 or 8 bucks, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get about a quarter or half the cover price in store credit.

I try my best to avoid this problem by reading new books at the library. Afterwards, if I really enjoyed it and know I’ll read it over and over, I’ll go out and buy a copy. Sort of like borrowing a friend’s CD before deciding whether you’ll buy your own copy.