Amazon E-Book Refund Fraud

e-Book Refund Fraud

You have struggled for months, years to write your book. You’ve worked hard to get it properly edited and into a professional format for sale. Now, thanks to Amazon.com’s e-book return policy, even if someone buys your book and reads it … they don’t have to pay you for it.

That’s right: even if someone BUYS your e-book on Amazon.com, as long as they return it within seven days they can get a full refund. Now, I suspect that any other media have already screamed about the blatant unfairness of this sort of practice. You can’t return a downloaded music album nor can you return a digital movie you’ve purchased from Amazon.

But you CAN return a book even after you’ve read it!

Now someone said to me, if you don’t like this policy then don’t publish through them. That’s like saying if you don’t like Walmart, don’t let them sell your t-shirts. Amazon is the currently sanctioned monopoly. If someone had asked John Dillinger in our day why he self-published at Amazon, his answer would have been ‘Because that’s where the money is.’

But this shameful practice should be stopped. It’s a stupid policy from a company who has consistently demonstrated a contempt note only for authors but for the written word itself. There is an online petition taking a stand against this heinous practice. I’ve signed it and I urge you to sign it as well.

I self-publish on Amazon. My contract with them is to sell my book … not give it away.

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One thought on “Amazon E-Book Refund Fraud

  1. In the early 90s, some retailers stopped taking returns of big screen TVs after Super Bowl weekend. There’s a few things though that would seem to be working against you in the Amazon Bowl.

    1. It costs Amazon effectively nothing to offer this return policy to their customers.

    2. This policy probably does result in higher sales for Amazon as customers that would normally be hesitant to invest in a purely digital product, are more likely to take that large step if they feel there is absolutely no risk involved.

    3. A petition means nothing to most companies unless they can see a way that they are losing money over it.

    Lisa Stevens, the CEO of Paizo, had an interesting thought about people pirating her company’s products. When asked if she thought people were pirating her products, she responded by saying that she KNEW people were. But she felt that if she offered a fair price on the digital product, people would feel more inclined to simply buy the product for themselves. Who wants to pay a hard-bound new release price for a digital novel?

    From Paizo back to Amazon then… If they want to make more money off digital products then they really need to do more to encourage authors. This means allowing higher margins for authors at a lower cost of the material. If they allow authors to make some money while selling products at a lower price, everyone can win. People will be more likely to purchase and not return digital products. Authors will have a greater feeling of control in the industry, which promotes greater creativity. Amazon will sell more products.

    I’ve been watching this stuff for a while because I tripped over a digital press about a year ago. I find it interesting that even if I offer a phenomenal price to authors to print their books, they still would rather deal with Amazon. You’re right. It’s where the money is. In your area, the only one that even comes close (Paizo) isn’t 1% the size of that giant.

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