The news has recently been announced in The Bookseller that Amazon’s Audible have finally listened to authors and representatives from the publishing industry, and have changed their returns policy – royalties will now be paid to authors if a book is returned more than 7 days after it’s purchased. The new rule will come into play from 1st January 2021.


If you have a subscription to The Bookseller, you can read their article here:


At the moment, if an audiobook from Audible is returned or exchanged within a year, the royalties are deducted from the author and narrator’s accounts. It took an open letter, organised by the Authors Guild and signed by more than 12,000, to get the company to change this ridiculous policy.


I’ve always thought it was a bit bizarre that you could return a book or swap it at any point after you’ve bought it from Audible – it’s not a library, it’s a paid for service. Sometimes in life, you’re gonna choose stuff that you don’t like after all, it happens.


I don’t buy a DVD from Tesco, decide I didn’t enjoy it, and so take it back 6 months later to swap it for something else! And don’t forget, it’s not that there’s something physically wrong with the item, you can return it for any reason at all.


But, regardless, it’s Audible’s choice to offer this to their customers, and it must make sense to them. What isn’t fair is that the authors and narrators of the books aren’t getting paid if there is a return, even if the book has been listened to multiple times! This is ridiculous, and shows no respect for the work gone into producing the books.


While what is being actioned is a good step in the right direction, the changes being put into play do not go nearly far enough in my opinion. The only reasons a return should be allowed is if it’s an accidental purchase or if the book is incorrectly advertised I think, and this should be only allowed during a much shorter window of time.


If you’d like to add your own name to the open letter to Audible, you can do so here:


Sign Our Letter and Tell Audible to Stop Charging Authors for Returns

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