Audiblegate and the easy exchanges fiasco

At the moment, Audible is pushing 'easy exchanges' allowing people to return audibooks and get a new book for the same credit. They then claw back the royalties from the author and narrator. From January 2021, Audible has agreed to pay authors for returns made after seven days but they are still encouraging returns for up to a year after purchase - even if the book has been read to the end. Authors and narrators will still pay for returns made within seven days under the new system, and, again, exchanges and returns will be permissable on books that are 100% listened to. It's also likely that the cost of returns absorbed by Audible will be spread over all of us in the form of reduced payments for books bought with 'credits'. And of course, as I understand it, Audible are on record as having stated that most exchanges and returns take place within seven days of purchase. In short their efforts to compromise do look suspiciously like the same tired turd dusted with glitter and put in a newer, spanglier box. Audible already pay Gareth and I an extra specially small royalty for having the temerity to sell our books elsewhere (25% instead of 40%) so frankly, this strikes me as a bit cheeky.

As far as I can tell, over 50% of my books are 'exchanged' and I am not paid. Except that I can't be sure of that because Audible is refusing to provide meaningful sales figures. They do not separate out returns but provide us with a rounded up or down figure which is offset to include them. Clearly from the point of view of marketing etc, I've no clue as to whether I'm achieving any results. Some books may be selling but if as many are returned as are sold the bulk of the sales may never be reported to me. It's not a great way to run a business.

I apologise to any listeners who use Audible but until the matter is resolved, I'm sure you understand that I'd be mad put any more books on there. People tend to download the first book and then exchange it for the box set meaning that the two cancel each other out. I don't want to lay myself open to this sort of abuse with even more books.

If you are an Audible listener my books are in many libraries. You can use a library for free - yep, no monthly fee - and you just download the app and borrow the book at zero cost, but the author and narrator get paid as well. Win-win. My full length audiobooks are also for sale in my author shop ranging in price from £5.99 - £7.99 with the shorts priced for less.

For more information about the situation behind my decision, or #Audiblegate as they are calling this, please see these two articles:

Alliance for independent authors
Audiblegate 2

Hopefully this is temporary and it will be possible to sell all my books through Audible in future but for the moment it doesn't make commercial sense.