If asked, most people would agree that it is indeed wrong to steal money from someone. So, that said, when it comes to kindle ebooks, why do so many people think it’s okay to steal? For a long time now indie authors and publishers have been complaining about Amazons’ return policy on ebooks. It allows kindle owners to buy, download, read and probably copy an ebook and then return it for a refund. Greedy readers abuse this policy time and time again. Effectively, such readers are thieves. Do they imagine that every time they claim a refund for an ebook that the refund comes from the pocket of Jeff Bezos, Amazons’ multi-millionaire owner? It doesn’t. It’s taken directly from non-millionaire authors. Amazon seriously needs to address this problem by at least reducing the time period that an ebook can be returned within. Indie authors and publishers have helped build the success of the KDP platform and we deserve better treatment.
Most book blurbs give a pretty good description of the subject matter of a book and that along with the ability to dip into a book before buying is surely enough information for a reader to decide whether they want to buy? In that regard, returns based on ‘bought by mistake’ are mostly suspect? Very few returns will be down to technical problems so that just leaves readers who want a book, but don’t want to pay for it. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t like it as much as you thought you would. That’s just tough. I buy a ton of paperbacks and some I like more than others and some I never finish, but I have never felt I have the right to claim a refund. I made the decision to buy based on the blurb and from flicking through the pages.
As an author I don’t make a living from my books, not even close to it. The modest money I make helps me pay a few bills and buy a few extras. So, to the person who recently bought, downloaded and then returned six, yes SIX, of my titles, I say this: thank you for making it so much harder for me to make ends meet in the coming months. I hope you sleep well. It’s not as if I ask a huge amount to begin with. Most of my titles cost less than the price of a cup of coffee and a cookie.
Most indie authors have been led to believe that they should give away their work for free or almost free, it’s a lingering aspect of the stigma still attached to self-publishers. It shouldn’t be the case. It has encouraged readers to believe they are entitled to free books. We work damned hard on our stories and books and we deserve some return, rather than our work being returned, so some greedy person can enjoy a free read at our expense.
Amazon needs to re-think its return and refund policy on kindle ebooks, it owes it to the writers and publishers who have contributed, no matter how modestly, to the KDP empire.