Amazon’s e-book return policy: Fair or unfair?
April 2, 2013 | 9:30 pm
By Joanna Cabot
Galleycat has a great article questioning Amazon’s Kindle book return policy. The author, Jason Boog, explains that nearly 1,200 people have signed a petition calling on Amazon to change its policy, which currently allows readers seven days (long enough to read the book!) to ask for a refund.
It isn’t clear to me from the petition itself exactly what these 1,200 people would like the policy changed to. I bristled a little at the inflammatory tone of the petition—it had that tint of, ‘readers are all potential criminals in waiting, on the verge of screwing us over,’ which, as a reader who pays for all her content, offends me.
I also got the impression that they seemed to think sampling was giving the reader enough to go on. But in my experience, not all books have samples available, and in some cases, the sample is short enough that substantive errors in the book might not be apparent.
However, I do agree that seven days is a really long time, and it’s fair to say that for many people, it would be long enough to read the whole book, and is perhaps overly generous to the reader at the expense of the author.
I do think that some kind of return policy is warranted. In the past, I truly have downloaded books with formatting errors, typos and other problems, and I did deserve a refund for those unreadable books. But I don’t think that refund window has to be seven days. I’d like a long enough period of time to allow for a quick preview and to make sure everything is fine, but I’m OK with cutting off the refund window once that’s done.
What do you think? Is the current seven-day return policy too liberal?