Recently there have been a few posts on various sites about something that has begn to be called Audiblegate.

You can read one of them here.

It seems that Amazon is at it again. This time using it’s audio books.

This is what they are doing:

 In order to persuade people to sign up for audio books, they are telling them, that they can return a book if it doesn’t meet their expectations. They then get a credit for another book.
 This sounds great—for the reader. Not so much for the narrator and author as they have their royalties removed when it happens.
 There seems to be no limit to the number of times a reader can return a book, nor do they have to have an unfinished book. Audible don’t question. So a reader can read a book from a series, or by a particular author and enjoys it. So much that they think they want to read more.

 They return the book and get book 2 in the series, or another by the same author absolutely free. The author and narrator get NOTHING. ZILCH. NADA. ZERO. The reader can go through a whole series and pay nothing. And they have 365 days in which to return the books.

I will explain to you now, in simple words why this is so unfair. (Although unfair is a rather weak word for what is going on.)

It costs money to produce a book. Yes, you can get it published on Amazon, Lulu etc for nothing, but that’s not all of it. If the writer has a publisher, the publisher spends money.

 Let’s start with the narrator. A narrator doesn’t sit down in his/her bedroom with a pc and any old microphone. They need a professional standard studio, soundproof and with professional standard equipment. That cost a lot of money.
 The narrator receives the book from either the author (indie) or the publisher and reads it. He/she then contacts the author to discuss any pronunciations or anything else the author wishes.
 Then the narrator begins to narrate. Sometimes he/she will send each chapter to the author as it is finished, but sometimes it’s the whole book. This takes weeks of work.
 Now let’s look at the author, and what happens when a book is written.
 First the author gets the idea and plans how they are going to tackle it. This might be detailed on paper, or it might be in the author’s head.
 The author writes the book. This might take anything from a few months to a few years, depending on the book and the author, of course.
 The author begins editing. He/she checks for spelling/grammar, places where there needs to be more in the way of describing the world, so we’ve not got people acting in a vacuum, and the opposite, cutting parts that don’t add anything and are probably boring.
 There are checks needed to ensure the correct names are used throughout. It’s not uncommon for an author to change a character’s name and miss the odd place where it’s the original name. And they need to ensure they’ve not got a character with blue eyes at the beginning and brown at the end, or a dead character miraculously returns.
 Then it can go to a professional editor. These don’t work for free. If the author is with a publisher, the publisher bears this cost.
 Design of the cover is also a cost. Professional designers cost money! Again, this is something the publisher will bear this cost.
 After this, the book will probably go to one or more beta readers who will pass their opinion and say where they found things confusing, boring etc.
 Only then does the book go for publication. But that’s not the end. No one will find a book just because it’s been published. There are millions of books out there. Books need promotion. Publishers do some. (Some more than others) but the majority is up to the author. There are some free marketing websites, but the vast majority require money.

So I ask you. Is it fair that Audible is removing royalties from authors, narrators and publishers for books returned and allowing readers to read as many as they wish without giving the people who produced said books any payment for their hard work and cash spent?
Can you buy a book at a bricks and mortar bookstore, then return if for another, saying you didn’t like it, getting the next, and subsequent books free? No! So why should you be able to do this on Amazon (both book store and

I appeal to all readers. DO NOT TAKE PART IN AUDIBLE’S RETURNS.

5 thoughts on “Audiblegate”

  1. What a horrible loop-hole. Presumably, now that this has been spotted Amazon will have to right the situation, otherwise, in the long-run they’ll lose writers, and therefore, content.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with all you say here, Vivienne. I have a couple of my poetry collections available through Audible (part of Amazon). For one book the narrator did a royalty share, whilst, for the other I paid for her time. In addition I always pay to have my poetry books proof read prior to them going on sale. So, as you rightly say, this new system is unfair. If someone genuinely does not like a book they do have the absolute right to express their perspective in a review on various sites (including Amazon/Audible) and this is where the matter should stop. I suspect that there are very many honest readers out there who would not return a book in this manner. However there will be others who will do so. Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly there are people who don’t value the work put into publishing a book in any format and seem to think they should get them for, if not nothing, then for as little as they can. I think the most common prices for an ebook, which seems to be about 1.99, is something of a disrespect for the work put in by everyone concerned.
      But only well-known authors can command anything more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, this sucks Big Time! You have nailed exactly the issues involved here. Authors are the modern peasants. We don’t own anything, including our talent, hard work, and skill. It all belongs to the Lord and Lady of the Manor. If you earn a few dollars by the end the year after a wide variety of expenses, you’re lucky. Usually it a money losing situation and now the few dollars you’ve earn are clawed back Lord Amazon! Really! How is it that they aren’t losing a penny while we get screwed? And the publishers aren’t much higher on the Crap List than we are. We have to do everything for ourselves if we have a shadow of a chance but then we come up against the distribution and marketing wall. Depressing. As if Covid isn’t enough to send us all into receivership… 😡 RJ Mirabal (aka RJ The Story Guy)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A good analogy, RJ. The big publishers are only interested in writers who are already highly successful, or are a celebrity. And those are the only books they push even if they have published a relative unknown.


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