Amazon is in the midst of changing their ebook return policy. They announced they were going to make the change late last year, but they missed the target date. The company plans on implementing the change by the end of the month. What is changing? Books can be automatically refunded if a customer reads less than 10% of the book, by visiting My Account and Content and devices and selecting the book wanting to be refunded. If a book is read more than 10% a customer service rep has to look into the matter on a case by case basis.
Why is Amazon making the change? They have always had the same Kindle book return policy for over a decade. Amazon’s returns policy for ebooks currently allows readers to receive a full refund for up to 14 days, even if they have read the full work. The use of this refund loophole has been encouraged by users on the social media platform TikTok, with videos on how to return books being viewed over 17 million times.
Throughout 2022, the Society of Authors (SoA) and the Authors’ Guild (its sister union in the US ) have been in discussions about the problem with senior executives at Amazon. In April, the SoA called publicly for the ebook returns window to be reduced to 48 hours, backed by authors including Jeanette Winterson and Ian Rankin. This was echoed by a petition on Change.org which has so far attracted more than 78,000 signatures.
In an email to the SoA and the Authors’ Guild on 21 September David Naggar – Amazon’s Vice President of Books & Kindle Content – said, ‘we do hear all you have said over the course of our conversations on this topic and are planning to make meaningful changes … Most notably, we will de-activate self-service returns for any book read past 10%, adding substantial friction to the process.
I think Amazon making the refund process harder is a bold move. The company is obviously under pressure from authors and the guilds that represent them. Amazon shouldn’t be treated like a library.
Michael Kozlowski is the editor of Amazon News Feed. A website devoted to the latest Amazon News. You will find a cohesive editorial direction. Michael covers the latest occurrences in AWS, Kindle, Fire Tablets, Fire TV, audiobooks, ebooks and company news.