The Damaging Effects of Amazon’s Ebook Return Policy

There’s a new ebook return policy on Amazon that promises to be detrimental to authors who use Amazon as a selling platform. The policy states that customers can return an ebook within seven days after purchasing it.  Amazon is the only major publisher with this policy. None of the other big five have put forward anything like this. While the customer gets a full refund after reading the book completely, the author loses their royalties given to them by Kindle Direct and are required to pay out of pocket for each return. The “Book Hack” of returning ebooks, is trending on social media, specifically TikTok. Book readers are returning a fully read book to receive their money back, not realizing the author is paying out of pocket for this return.


Authors Losing Money

When Lisa Kessler, a paranormal romance author, logged into her Kindle Direct Publishing account to check her earning for the month, the balance was negative. Kessler has been an author for 11 years and states she’s never seen anything like this happen. Amazon’s new policy caused her to lose money from selling her books rather than making it. She’s also seeing entire series of books she’s written being returned. Typically, there are 1-2 book returns a month. Considering Amazon is one of the biggest booksellers in the world, Kessler’s situation doesn’t bode well for authors.


EBook Return Policy Petition

Amazon’s return policy is facing pushback from a petition started by Reah Foxx, an author from Louisiana. As of now, the petition has around 75,000 signatures, showing how determined people are to maintain fairness towards workers in a creative industry. The situation surrounding it could get out of hand if Amazon doesn’t handle it soon.


Who the Ebook Return Policy will Affect

Some book buyers say that their purpose behind the method of buying books and returning them before the seven days are up is to not give Amazon more business. They dislike giving more money to the business that goes against their values. However, this act of rebellion’s hurts independent, small authors of books and makes no impact on Amazon. Amazon is a multinational technology company that has a revenue of over $450 billion. They are not affected in any significant capacity, while for authors, every book sale matters. When an ebook is returned, Amazon deducts the return from the author; Amazon does not refund the money, the author refunds the money. So, not only does the author lose that sale, they are also charged for the return and lose their very small royalty. For every returned ebook, the author owes amazon money for the return.


What Can You Do?

An author pours their heart an soul into their work to produce books for readers to enjoy. Consuming their product is essentially stealing, and is causing undo hardships. Please support small, independent, and hard working authors by not only buying books, but keeping them, recommending them to friends, and leaving reviews for others to see. Join our Newsletter to read more about upcoming authors and bookish events.

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