Thursday, May 29, 2014

Duped!


Earlier this year I became persuaded to order one of those e-book "bundles." I don't know what came over me. Though there were certain factors that influenced me, it went against my initial instincts and general skeptic attitude toward such offers.

I'm not going to name the "bundle" because I don't want to defame anyone. Let's just say I've learned my lesson about falling for the advertising campaigns, which makes me sad, because...

...a lot of women in the Christian online community raved about this deal. About how it was the best thing ever and such a great value and too good to miss and full of tons of good reading and useful information. It's hard to explain why that bothers me, but I'll explore that more down below.

Then there are the "savings." The offers often promise "$100 worth of books for $30," for example. Let's say you pay 30 % or as little as 20 % of the list price. The problem is that it's like one of those sushi assortments where only a few of the items included are actually palatable; the rest is low quality or not something you would choose for yourself and spend money on. Or a DVD 10-pack where only 1 or 2 of the films is worth watching. After paying, I realized that at least half of the books in the "bundle" just aren't something that would be useful to me. To be fair, they're pretty American-culture oriented, and it's not their fault that I'm living overseas. But I still feel a little bit duped, and I'll explain some other reasons why.




The Christian mommy blog/business personality crisis. I admire Christian housewives who try to be good financial stewards and use opportunities to make some money for their families. I'm okay with Etsy and other craft marketplaces. I pretty much know what I'm getting, and a lot of that handmade stuff is pretty fabulous. But with writing, I feel that it's not quite the same thing. Amateur writing doesn't always work well in "book" form. I'm a little old-fashioned in that I like the idea of a blog as an online journal where people share their experiences. I also like DIY and informational blogs.

But for some reason it feels awkward when it turns into a business. I guess I don't really get the difference between a blog series (how to declutter your closet, parts 1-10) and an e-book with the same information, just in chapters instead of posts. Again I don't want to be too negative here, and I'm willing to pay a few dollars if I'm really interested in a certain topic. But I'll be honest: the content in e-books isn't usually very original, and I could find that information elsewhere for free, and maybe even better written. I think of e-books as more of a fundraiser, something that friends recommend to their friends within a certain online community. And I think that they should be advertised as such. If I've read a certain person's blog for awhile, and I really agree with this person's outlook, and think he/she deserves to be compensated for the amount of work put into the writing, then yeah, I will buy the book. But I don't want to be courted and have this "best book ever/life-changer"ad thrown at me.

Here was the clincher that made me mad and inspired me to write this post: In addition to the books, there was the "bonus" material. I got a notice that it was my last chance to redeem the bonus materials before they expired. Well, I went to the list and took a look at my free gifts. In my mind, free=FREE. But it turned out that the gifts were either 1) Free for content BUT not free shipping. I canceled my order because I wasn't going to go dig out my credit card to pay $5-10 to ship a free gift worth only $15-20 in the first place. That I wouldn't have ever bought, even on sale. 2) $15-20 TOWARDS a purchase at a certain store. I didn't even look to see what the actual prices of the items were. 3) Free membership to something for the first month, but it seemed like you had to subscribe for more than a month up front, so basically, NOT free.

I mean, really!!!!!!! "Bonus" materials that are really just a ploy to get you to buy something else?

So instead of reading the remaining books that I might glean something from, I'm sitting here venting. (Well, it's partly because I haven't figured out how to get them onto my Kindle yet!)

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