Friday, March 7, 2014

Where’s My Book Warranty?

The saying goes that nothing is certain but death and taxes. I’d like to add this to that: And there are no guarantees except that you’ll pay for one.

There is an entire industry dedicated to extended warranties. Every time you buy something, an offer to pay more for the promise your purchase will actually last a few years is presented to you.

Why must we pay more to get what should be expected in the first place? For instance, if I buy a smartphone, why is it only protected for a year? Or a car, why is it only protected for three years or 36,000 miles? All of the auto dealers brag of their cars getting 100,000+ miles; but when it comes to standing by that claim, they only offer to sell you an extended warranty.

One thing that doesn’t come with any guarantees is a home. Can you imagine spending a half-million bucks on a home and it comes with nothing to back it up?

We all know things break just after the warranty runs out. And if they break while under warranty, that part or bit of labor is somehow the exception that is not covered.

Books should come with a guarantee. For instance, if the book’s descriptive cover or back cover induces you to buy a book and you find the book falls short of the promise, you should be able to get a refund – or a credit towards another book.

The industry could get overrun by people who return everything, not because the book sucks, but because they want to get another book for free. Or, this could be a cool gimmick that puts consumers at ease, and makes them more willing to try a new author. They’d have nothing to lose.

Maybe we can offer a “warranty card” or an “insurance pass” that the bookstores can sell. The card would cost, say $10. The holder would have it for a year. They can use it no more than three times – to avoid chronic abuse. The store would agree to replace the offending book at no cost. This may work best with ebooks, but could be done with physical ones, especially if you return them undamaged within 30 days of your purchase.

Maybe State Farm, Geico, and AARP can sell these book insurance cards. I can just see them, issuing 80-page policies with clauses for every contingency. Someone will write a book about how to shop for the best book insurance card – and then the consumer can use their insurance to trade that book in.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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