Amazon is tightening its ebook return policy to thwart BookTok

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Automatic returns only apply if you’ve read 10 percent of a book or less

Sep 22, 2022, 11:47 PM UTC |

Amazon’s Logo
Amazon’s Logo.

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon plans to limit automatic ebook returns to cases where people have read no more than 10 percent of the book, according to the Authors Guild. The change, which follows complaints that Kindle buyers were returning titles they’d fully read to get a refund, is expected to take place by the end of the year.

The Authors Guild says it reached the deal after negotiating with Amazon executives. Individual authors raised concerns about an uptick in returns earlier this year, noting that Amazon would bill them for any royalties they earned from the books. Some pinned the practice’s rise on the book community of video platform TikTok, and in a press release, the guild blamed “BookTok influencers” for encouraging people to get “free” books by buying and then returning them. Previously, Amazon said it had “policies and mechanisms in place to prevent our ebooks returns policy from being abused.” The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the pending change.

People can still return books they’ve read larger portions of on Amazon. But according to the Authors Guild, they’ll need to send a customer service request that will be manually reviewed and could subject buyers to penalties if they habitually abuse it.

Liberal return policies have been a perennial point of dispute for authors and other creators. In 2020, Amazon-owned audiobook platform Audible tightened a rule that deducted royalties for titles returned or exchanged within a year from the purchase date. (After the change, authors kept royalties for anything returned after seven days.) Similarly, last year, game developer Emika Games said that the Steam storefront’s two-hour return policy penalized people who made short games by allowing players to buy, complete, and return them.

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I had little interest in Apple’s Dynamic Island, but once a developer built their spin on the idea for Android, I had to give it a try.

Surprisingly, I’ve found I actually like it, and while dynamicSpot isn’t as well-integrated as Apple’s version, it makes up for it with customization. Nilay’s iPhone 14 Pro review asked Apple to reverse the long-press to expand vs. tap to enter an app setup. In dynamicSpot, you can do that with a toggle (if you pay $5).

DynamicSpot app on Android shown expanding music player, in the style of Apple’s Dynamic Island in iOS 16.

DynamicSpot in action on a Google Pixel 6

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This summer, a former Twitter employee who worked on platform and content moderation policies testified anonymously before the congressional committee investigating the violence at the US Capitol on January 6th.

While she remains under NDA and much of her testimony is still sealed,  Anika Collier Navaroli has identified herself, explaining a little about why she’s telling Congress her story of what happened inside Twitter — both before the attack, and after, when it banned Donald Trump.

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Policy Editor Russell Brandom digs into a phenomenon we’ve all seen on social media before:

I call it the Bootleg Ratio: the delicate balance between A) content created by users specifically for the platform and B) semi-anonymous clout-chasing accounts drafting off the audience. Any platform will have both, but as B starts to overtake A, users will have less and less reason to visit and creators will have less and less reason to post.

And now it’s coming for TikTok.

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Source: https://www.theverge.com/2022/9/22/23367699/amazon-ebook-kindle-return-policy-change-refunds