Amazon Authors Protest Amazon’s Horrible Book Return Policy

When an author logged into their Kindle Direct Publishing to see their earnings for the past month, they were shocked to see that their earning was in the negative.

How could that be? It is all thanks to Amazon’s return policy for e-books that allows customers to “cancel an accidental book order within seven days.” That is more than enough time to read and return a book, all at the author’s expense.

Amazon is the New Library

Many readers have been using Amazon as a bookstore and return the books before the 7-day cancellation period. Authors are paid royalty at the time of the purchase and if a person returns the e-book, the royalties are deducted from their earning balance. If an author has already been paid, then the author will go into a negative balance as a result.

This policy is flawed and is at the expense of the authors. A petition was started by Reah Foxx to change this policy after a viral post that taught people to abuse this amazon loophole. The petition has accumulated over 70,000 signatures to date.

black tablet computer behind books
Amazon’s E-book policy is being abused by customers

 As someone who is barely on social media, I still came across this hack. The people that are doing this hack either do not realize that they are hurting the livelihood of authors or just don’t care.

Nicole Givens Kurts, a science fiction author and fantasy author is one of many people affected by this recent trend.

Authors Need to Make a Living

Science fiction and fantasy author Nicole Givens Kurtz said she’s concerned that this trend will continue.

“If people continue to promote [reading and returning e-books], it impacts my income, which impacts my quality of life and my ability to take care of my family,” she said. “I don’t think readers quite understand or see the person behind the product.

Amazon is the only e-book retail company with this flawed policy where customers can return a book within seven days and get a full refund. Barnes & Nobles and Smashwords do not allow e-books to be returned and Apple and Kobo have a process in place that requires dealing with customer service.

To the irritation of many authors, e-books are the only digital products with this return process. Customers are not able to get a refund if they return a digital movie or digital music. That may be because those entities have mega corporations behind them whereas a lot of authors do not.

Amazon responded to this loophole with a statement:

“Amazon aims to provide the best possible experience for customers and authors. We have policies and mechanisms in place to prevent our e-books returns policy from being abused. We’re always listening to feedback and we investigate any concerns we receive.”

an Amazon spokesperson said.

Fixing the Problem

Their doesn’t seem to be a mechanism in place to prevent this hack as of yet. Some authors have suggested that once a person reads 20 percent of the novel, then they cannot return it.

What do you make of this loophole and about Amazon’s return policy?

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4 thoughts on “Amazon Authors Protest Amazon’s Horrible Book Return Policy

  1. Liz Dexter says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve suffered from this with my own books – especially as they’re quite short, so easily readable within that time. I have some returns where I’ll sell 2 and 1 will refund almost immediately and you can see that’s someone duplicate ordering by mistake. Not so much when it’s a few days later. Though fortunately I don’t rely on my book sales for a lot of my income so I’ve not had the negative thing.

    Reply
  2. ~just a thought says:

    This is something I want to share on Twitter, but then again: I wouldn’t want to advertise the ability. Thanks for sharing so that newcomers and repeaters (if they hadn’t noticed) can better weigh their options.

    Reply

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