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The Pain Caused by Amazon's eBook Return Policy is Causing a Backlash

17 Jun 2022 4:11 PM | Leon Lazarus

A TikTok trend has finally pushed writers over the edge. Readers have been posting TikTok videos about returning their eBooks within the 14 days after purchase, even after reading the entire book.

This has sent writers in the BookTok universe into a rage. When an eBook is returned, the reader may not feel the pain, but the author, required to finance the editing, cover design, formatting and more,  is charged for the data used to deliver the book to that customer.

Amazon, speaking to The Times, commented, “Our e-book return rates are consistently low and we have policies and mechanisms in place to prevent this from being abused. Our aim is to inspire reading and we recognise (sic) the important role of authors.”

Writers disagree vociferously with Amazon, with one telling The Times that over 100 copies of their books came back as returns in a single month. If the commenter's numbers are to be believed, this amounts to a 900% increase over the prior month when only ten books were returned.

An online petition demanding Amazon change their eBook returns policy has garnered over 65,000 signatures already.

The petition's statement reads:

“There has been a huge upswing in author’s eBooks being returned to Amazon AFTER they have been read. As a reader this is VERY upsetting. Yes, Amazon’s return policy allows it. However, that doesn’t make it right. When you have read the book, you CONSUMED the product. Returning a book after reading 10-20% is one thing. But when the book has been read in it’s entirety it should not be allowed to be returned. End of discussion. One author had triple digit returns for March! That same author had single digit returns the prior TWO months combined. Authors are not being paid accurately for their art. Please, Amazon change your policy!”

You can view the Petition at Change.Org

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