There is a disturbing new trend on TikTok, where users are encouraging readers to buy books from Amazon, read them, then return them for a full refund. The point behind this seems to be to impact Amazon but very little impacts Amazon. They are after all worth billions. This trend does, however, have a major impact on indie authors. When you buy a book from Amazon, depending on the price, Amazon will take 30-65% for themselves and charge a delivery fee for the book. When it is returned, the money is taken back off the author, but the delivery fee remains. This means indie authors are being charged for their books to be downloaded and lose out on royalties. This needs to stop!
As an indie author, I currently don't make enough to pay all my bills, though I am working toward that particular goal, but I know many authors who rely on their income to feed their families and pay the rent. It may not seem like much to these readers, a few dollars, but it can make all the difference to the author.
Returning an item after you have used it or consumed the content is STEALING. Amazon will always come out on top, that is an unfortunate fact. Most indie authors are not happy with their policies in general, but they are the top provider of ebooks and most indie authors make the bulk of their income through them. It is in fact an issue with Amazon's return policy that is causing this problem in the first place. When it comes to ebooks, Amazon's policy is that they can be returned for a full refund within 14 days. This gives readers plenty of time to read an entire book and simply get their money back. I have seen many authors threatening to quit writing for good over this because if they cannot guarantee an income, what is the point in continuing? For readers, this means that you will be missing out on more books or the conclusion of a series.
If you don't want to pay for the books you want to read, there are alternatives. Visit your local library. Check out the books that are being offered for free in deals or as permafrees on book sites. Or if you want to save some money, purchase Kindle Unlimited. It is $9.99/£7.99 per month and you can borrow and return books to your heart's content while the author still gets paid.
Please help stop this trend. And to all the readers out there who would never dream of doing this, who are helping to support our career - thank you!
If you would like to help us, please consider signing the petition to change Amazon's policies.
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About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”