Audible Makes Tiny Change to Its Execrable Return & Royalty Policy

It seems that if multiple author groups line up against it, Amazon can be forced to make a change to it policies – just not a major change.

Audible sent out an email Tuesday morning to authors and publishers who are signed up with ACX. The email informed us that starting 1 January, Audible would pay a royalty on any audiobook which is returned more than seven days after it is purchased.

The email does not acknowledge the other issues raised recently, including the lack of clarity in sales reports (we’re not told how many audiobooks are returned) and Audible’s decision to actively promote returns as a feature of an Audible subscription.

While this is a small improvement, we still need to keep fighting Amazon on the other two points.

Here’s the text of the email. The relevant paragraph is at the end.

Launched in 2011, the Audiobook Creation Exchange has paved the way for exponential growth in audiobook production and consumption, today supplying over 200 audiobooks in store per day to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The ACX online rights marketplace and production engine is available to all authors, publishers, literary agents, narrators and studio pros in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland. ACX.com connects and educates independent authors and rising actors—many of whom are among 20,000 professional actors who have worked with Audible in the past 5 years—in the art of audiobook performance and creation, and provides title-promotion tools and methods to drive sales and audiobook awareness, allowing our creative stakeholders to reach new audiences on Audible and beyond. Free programs, including ACX University and the Promo Code Tool, seek to level the playing field and further expand opportunity for authors, narrators, rights holders and producers alike.

As you know, we’ve been working to address some ACX authors’ concerns about Audible’s overall exchange policy, and we appreciate your feedback. The intent of this program is to allow listeners to discover their favorite voice, author, or story in audio. In instances where we determine the benefit is being overused, Audible can and does limit the number of exchanges and refunds allowed by a member. But as designed, this customer benefit allows active Audible members in good standing to take a chance on new content, and suspicious activity is extremely rare.

We hope this helps convey perspective to our valued writers and ACX partners as to the impact of our current returns policies. However, in recognition of these concerns, moving forward and effective as of January 1, 2021, Audible will pay royalties for any title returned more than 7 days following purchase. This adjustment does not impact our customers’ current benefits of membership, and we look forward to continuing to welcome millions of first-time listeners, enabling our members to discover new content they enjoy and growing the audience for our valued creative partners.

Respectfully,
The ACX Team

Thanks, Tim!

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

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