Nonfiction

Amazon is Finally Changing its Ridiculous eBook Policy

A major win for authors — we won’t be paying for this loophole anymore!

Dr. Casey Lawrence
SYNERGY
Published in
4 min readSep 24, 2022

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Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

In July, I wrote a story that mentioned a huge and problematic loophole in Amazon’s eBook return policy. Amazon allowed anyone to return an eBook within seven days, regardless of the amount they’d read, for a full refund. Makes sense for a digital product, right?

Wrong! When this loophole was discovered, a trend started going around TikTok telling people to buy, read, and return eBooks to “stick it to the Man,” meaning huge corporations like Amazon. A “victimless crime,” it was called. But it wasn’t victimless.

Unfortunately, there were repercussions for this ‘anti-capitalism hack’ that cost authors — and especially self-published authors, some of the most vulnerable small creators — a lot of money. Not only did they not get paid for that user reading their book, but actually had to pay Amazon for the privilege of someone stealing from them. It worked like this:

The way Amazon eBook sales work is that the company charges a “delivery fee” from authors for every sale. This gets taken out of their royalties. However, if someone buys and returns an eBook after reading the book, Amazon still charges that fee, even though…

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
SYNERGY

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.