Ebook refund policies at Amazon


This is an interesting topic and discussion.

Essentially, it’s a conflict between open source data competition on the net and old traditional values bound up in private book stores and policies.

No matter what their policy is or what they do or don’t let you return, the fact of the matter is that they cannot force consumers to buy anything. In the ancient days, when star authors and genres were rare and only held by a few publishing houses with books totaling economic investment of years, control economic policies make sense. In the context of the internet where your biggest problem is actually increasing your market share and audience, there isn’t as much control or limitations in choices to make readers buy things at certain prices.

So it becomes a matter of free will. If you were on Mars, paying for your oxygen may make a lot of sense, but you don’t have a lot of choices about that. If the price is bad or the service is bad, then you still have to buy oxygen, from someone. But on Earth, do you buy oxygen? No? Why not? Because it is free? Or because the supply is too great to make as high a profit on selling O2? People do sell oxygen, for diving and various other functions, after all.

The issue of intellectual property must be addressed given how the net has invalidated much of the property rights perspective most legal systems use. In a control economy based upon limited supply but huge demand, you can set controls and make higher revenue. But in an economy based on almost limitless supply, and ever increasing demand, the economy isn’t run by authoritarian central controls. You can’t make writers write. You can’t make readers buy. All you can do is to match up those who want to pay the author for X amount, with an author they like.

Since authors aren’t told by book publishing houses how many people burn up, tear off, or return their books, but Amazon does tell them about the return number, this has started causing some mobilization. Given perception becomes reality, and it seems with every refund Amazon charges the authors for the download charge.

While there are deals that can be made that fixes most of the issues for either side, it cannot be done on the traditional thief vs property owner dynamic.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books, Culture

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