Amazon Is Changing Its Ebook Return Policy in Major Breakthrough for Authors

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From The Authors Guild:

The Authors Guild is proud to report that our discussions with Amazon’s senior executive team concerning the platform’s policy that allows readers to return ebooks online within seven days of purchase, regardless of the amount read, have resulted in a major breakthrough. Yesterday, Amazon informed us of its plans to change its ebook return policy to restrict automatic returns to purchases where no more than 10 percent of the book has been read.

The planned change will go into effect by the end of the year. Any customer who wishes to return an ebook after reading more than 10 percent will need to send in a customer service request, which will be reviewed by a representative to ensure that the return request is genuine and complies with Amazon’s policies against abuse. This process will create a strong deterrent against buying, reading, and returning ebooks within seven days, and readers who attempt to abuse the return policy will be penalized under Amazon’s policies. The Authors Guild and the Society of Authors, its counterpart organization in the U.K., had taken up this issue with Amazon’s senior executives earlier this year. We applaud the scores of indie authors who advocated for this change.

Link to the rest at The Authors Guild

PG notes that traditional publishers will also experience a financial gain as well, more than the author will.

5 thoughts on “Amazon Is Changing Its Ebook Return Policy in Major Breakthrough for Authors”

  1. I’m so glad, it took forever for this travesty of a system to remain in place. They got Audible to change their payment structure on the returns and now the kindle store will be fixed. No longer will authors be stuck seeing millions slip through their fingers.

    What will everyone complain about now when they realize amazon and its subsidiaries are no longer an excuse for poor sales? I guess we have the economy, we have midterm elections, then the holidays. There is also that upcoming millennium and let’s not forget that inevitable Martian invasion. No one can blame an author for not selling books when everyone is busy fighting off intergalactic invaders.

    If this had been a huge problem, amazon would have stopped this years ago. People forget amazon makes no money on the returns either. I suspect most authors who vocally complained about such a return policy are still being outsold by new releases from ‘authors’ that have been dead for over a decade. I’m still getting emails and other notifications from amazon and audible about upcoming Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn books.

    I guess soon the only excuse left to justify poor income for authors is the fact that amazon and audible don’t remit 99.99% of the sale revenue to the author.

    • One item i forgot to put in the above. Has anyone ever seen a story talking about how audible revenue skyrocketed for authors once the return policy changed? If so, I would love to see a link or perhaps PG post it on this blog.

      I’ve always assumed it is making a huge huge Everest sized mountain out of a molehill. If I’m wrong I’ll gladly admit it, but if I were a betting man it’ll be frozen pizza for dinner tomorrow not crow in the Mattson household.

      • I’m reminded of a presidential candidate who was informed during a debate that raising capital gains taxes results in less total revenue from that tax. He said it was about fairness, not money.

  2. My aphorism “if the Authors Guild wants it, it’s stupid”

    I have recently bought a couple of books that /ought/ to have had the conventional note on the copyright page that chapters X to Y have previously appeared in a different form (as a short story in a anthology)

    They didn’t, so I was well past 10% read at the discovery point. Grr. Fool me twice.

  3. The percentage of my book sale returns that are based on obvious series-readthru-then-return is a very small percentage, in monetary terms.

    My blood pressure responds gratefully, however. The practice is infuriating. If I wanted the books to be free, I’d put them in Kindle Unlimited.

    On the other hand, the same workaround process that keeps Calibre in business would be effective in this situation, too. Just makes the practice more limited for the technophobes.

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