Amazon announced last September that they were revising the Kindle ebook return policy. Amazon plans to limit automatic eBook returns to cases where people have read no more than 10 percent of the book, according to the Authors Guild. Any customer who wishes to return an eBook after reading more than 10 percent will need to send in a customer service request, which will be reviewed by a representative to ensure that the return request is genuine and complies with Amazon’s policies against abuse. This process will create a strong deterrent against buying, reading, and returning e-books within seven days, and readers who attempt to abuse the return policy will be penalized under Amazon’s policies.
Originally, Amazon had planned on implementing this new return policy by the end of 2022, and missed their target. Amazon informed us that they are in the final stages of making these technical changes and will roll out the new policy in the U.S. before the end of January, 2023. We will provide an update when these changes are complete and the policy is rolled out.
In the past, it was very easy to return books and get a refund, even if a customer read the entire book. Everything was done automatically in the customers Amazon account, in content and devices. A drop down menu would appear, allowing customers to submit a refund request and this was automatic. The new change will still make this automatic, but only if a customer read 10% or less of a book. If a book was read beyond that, Amazon will engage in a manual verification process. They will look at things such as customer return history, and if they are habitually asking for refunds in the past, or if it is a one off.
Why does Amazon want to curb their ebook return policy? Firstly, it was due to pressure from various Authors organizations, since authors lose their commission if someone returns an ebook. Secondanly, social media such as TIK TOK was encouraging viewers to treat Amazon like a public library and would walkthrough customers on how to buy a book and submit a refund request when they were done.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.