The Bookseller – News – Amazon changes its e-book return policy after talks with SoA and Authors Guild

Amazon has agreed to change its eBook return policy following discussions with the Society of Authors (SoA) and the US Authors Guild.

The online giant’s return policy for e-books currently allows readers to receive a full refund for up to 14 days, even if they have read the entire book. The SoA claimed that the use of this refund loophole had been encouraged by users of the social media platform TikTok, with videos on how to return books viewed more than 17 million times.

A petition was set up on Change.org to reduce the return window to 48 hours, which attracted over 78,000 signatures. High-profile authors, including Jeanette Winterson and Ian Rankin, have also criticized the loophole and the impact it would have on authors’ profits.

Amazon pointed out at the time that its e-book return rates were “consistently low” and said it had policies and mechanisms in place to prevent this from being abused.

The online retailer maintains there has been “no discernible spike” in returns, but confirmed a policy change in a Sept. 21 email to the SoA and the Authors Guild. David Naggar, Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Books and Content, said, “We hear everything you have said in our conversations on this topic and plan to make significant changes… Specifically, we will turn off service returns for any book read over 10%, which adds substantial friction to the process.”

He confirmed that the company would introduce the change to all platforms that support Kindle, including e-readers, computers and smartphones. He said Amazon developers have “reprioritized existing product roadmaps…and believe this improvement can be implemented by the end of the year.”

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed Naggar’s statement to The bookstore adding, “We’re always listening to feedback to provide the best experience for customers and authors.” Although we continue to see poor overall returns, we will be deactivating the self-service return option for any book read above 10% by the end of the year. »

Commenting on the decision, Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of SoA, said: “This is great news for authors and a perfect example of what unions can achieve by lobbying together. We look forward to hearing more from David and his team at Amazon when their new system goes live. In the meantime, thanks to the many self-published authors who first brought this issue to our attention.

Lucas E. Kelly