on The Book Designer:
Perhaps you have seen grumbling on social media and across the internet about #Audiblegate and Audible’s return policy. In case you haven’t been following the controversy, let me tell you what it’s about – and why all independent publishers should care.
What’s happening is that Audible, the dominant retailer of audiobooks in the US, has been actively encouraging their customers to return their audiobooks in exchange for newaudiobooks. The reader/listener gets a new book at no cost. No questions asked, regardless of how much of the first book they listened to (even if they finished it), up to a year after they purchased it. Sounds great, right?
The problem is that when the first book gets returned, the royalties earned by the narrator, producer, and author of that book get pulled back as well. So the listener gets to enjoy our work — but we don’t get paid.