Following discussions with the Authors Guild and the U.K.'s Society of Authors, Amazon will change its e-book return policy, which, to date, has allowed readers to return e-books within seven days of purchase (and 14 in the U.K.) for a full refund, regardless of the amount read.
Amazon will now restrict automatic returns to purchases “where no more than 10% of the book has been read,” the Authors Guild said in a statement. In order to receive the return, Amazon e-book customers will need to submit a customer service request, which will be reviewed “to ensure that the requested return is genuine and complies with Amazon's policies against abuse.” The change is expected to go into effect by year's end.
The prior rules, the Society of Authors said in its statement, have “been encouraged by users on the social media platform TikTok, with videos on how to return books being viewed over 17 million times,” resulting in revenue losses for authors and their publishers."
“We do hear all you have said over the course of our conversations on this topic and are planning to make meaningful changes,” David Naggar, v-p of books and Kindle content at Amazon, wrote to the Guild and the Society in an email provided in part by the Society, although he added that Amazon has seen “no discernible spikes” in Kindle e-book returns, stressing that those returns have been low. “Most notably, we will deactivate self-service returns for any book read past 10%, adding substantial friction to the process.”
“We applaud the scores of indie authors who advocated for this change,” Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, said in a statement. “We are also grateful to Amazon's team for listening to our concerns and taking good-faith action. The Amazon team is also reviewing individual author accounts for customer returns abuse.”