After complaints from book authors, Amazon is tightening its guidelines for the return of electronic books.

So far, buyers of e-books in Germany have been able to return the e-books they have purchased quite easily within 14 days and have the purchase price fully refunded.

This practice is to be provided with a higher hurdle in the future, Amazon confirms on request.

Spiegel Online first reported on the change.

Tillman Neuscheler

Editor in Business.

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In the future, returns will be made more difficult for those buyers who have already read more than 10 percent of the book.

Those who have exceeded this limit must "in future contact customer service to request a return - instead of using the self-service function," said an Amazon spokesman.

Only after contacting a customer advisor will it be checked in individual cases whether the e-book can still be taken back.

Amazon is thus accommodating authors' complaints about the previously very lax return policy.

"The return rules for e-books urgently need to be changed," says Lena Falkenhagen, the federal chairwoman of the Association of German Writers (VS): The potential for abuse is far too high.

The book is often presumably read within the 14-day period without the authors being paid for it.

"You can't return a bitten bun either," says Falkenhagen: "If you've read more than 10 percent of a book, it's no longer a bad buy." In America, Amazon has promised the Authors Guild writers' association that it will introduce the higher hurdle for returns by the end of January .

In Germany, Amazon has not yet set an exact date, but it can be heard from business circles that

Sales of e-books have grown over the past 15 years, but growth leveled off again after the 2020 Corona boom.

Overall, e-books account for 5.7 percent of the total book market.

Exact numbers about returns are not available.

When asked, Amazon responds: "Our e-book return rates are consistently low."