An author has sparked a conversation recently after posting on Twitter that, even after sales, she owed Amazon money.
Lissa Kessler, author of paranormal romance series The Muse Chronicles, explained how readers would purchase her e-books, only to return them for refund once they had been read. When this happens, the autor must pay for the returns themselves.
Kessler’s post went viral and other authors joined in with similar experiences. The authors suspected the literary community of TikTok- ‘BookTok’- trends were to blame for the recent increase of this practice.
Kessler said, in a recent Buzzfeed interview, “I discovered that in March, there was a TikTok video instructing readers about this loophole in Amazon’s return policy allowing them to read books quickly and return them It even had a hashtag, #ReadAndReturnChallenge, but I do not think they realised that Amazon was turning around and deducting money from the authors.”
“Just a reminder that Amazon is NOT a library,” Kessler wrote in her tweet.
“When you read and return a book, it COSTS the author… It is June 1 and I owe Amazon at the moment because people are reading through [my book series] the Muse series and returning the books when they finish. Authors need to eat too.”
Her tweet soon went viral, gaining support from authors and readers alike. Many readers were shocked to hear that the return of ebooks was even possible, many asking what happens when an ebook is returned:
“When you buy an e-book, the author is charged a delivery fee,” explained one author. “That comes from the royalty we make on a book. If you return it, Amazon does not refund the delivery fee. So now I am negative because you decided you do not want to pay for e-books. Stop it.”
Another author stated: “I would rather people did not steal my books. They have come up with a new way: return an Amazon e-book after reading and make the author pay the fees for a returned book. So the author gets negative royalties. Charged to have someone steal your book is a bit much.”
A petition is currently live, asking Amazon to change their policy on ebook returns. Sign it here.
What are your thoughts, readers? Have you been part of the read and return challenge? Do you believe you should be able to return an ebook? Let us know!