Glenda Wallace of Gautier, MS has posted a petition on change.org. The subject of the petition is Amazon’s refund policy, which allows people to return eBooks within seven days for a full refund, whether they have read the book or not.
Glenda frames the argument so:
“Customers know within a certain number of pages whether or not they wish to continue reading the book. Seven days is excessive. There are too many people admitting that they abuse the policy simply because Amazon allows it.”
I understand people getting rankled about that, especially if they’ve had a lot of books returned and suspect people may be abusing Amazon’s position on returns. I want to point out yet once again, that I am no Amazon fan-boy. I am deeply worried about their domination of the marketplace. But there are a couple of problems with this petition.
First, my spidey-senses tell me that the number of people currently abusing the system just to read free books is probably pretty small. At least, it’s probably small now. Once this issue picks up some publicity and more people realize they can return the books they’ve read without suffering any consequences, do you think that number will increase or decrease? I suspect it will increase. I fear that drawing attention to the issue will actually worsen the problem of abuse (stipulating it actually exists).
Second, returns have always been a problem for publishers. That’s just the way this crazy business works. Those lovely brick-and-mortar stores accept boxes of books from Random Penguin Solutions, et al, with the understanding they can return any unsold copies.
As independent authors, we are also the publishers of our books. I don’t think Amazon is screwing us over in this deal. I think they’re treating us like grown-up publishers. Maybe we should act like it. That’s my two cents. The petition is HERE if you feel differently and want to sign up.