Thank you Audible for Return Item Feature

There are already so many reasons to like Audible, the most popular audiobook shopping site out there. Beside the large collection, their easy to use monthly subscription service, and ability to keep your purchases and redownload them forever, today I was amazed to find another feature just by mere luck. As I haven’t been driving a lot lately, I ended up with unused credits which translated into long to-listen to purchased audiobooks. Last one I listened to was Inferno by Dan Brown. I had activated my subscription just for that. And boy was I disappointed? Anyways, I went through my list of books, only to find an option to return books I didn’t like! What the hell was that all about? It’s a digital book. How can I return it? I clicked the link, and found Inferno, which I had rated very low, eligible for return. Two clicks and BAM!

audible book return option


Seriously! Does it get much better? I already listened to the whole book. I did not complain or anything, and they had no reason to even offer the return in the first place. I don’t think I know a bookstore that would allow a return after so many months because I finished and hated the story! But I guess they can afford it, and most importantly, they want to, because they want to keep customers happy. There is no real competitor for Audible out there right now, and unlike the conventional way of thinking, they’re making sure they keep a big distance between them and number two. Surprisingly I could not find any details even in the help section about what makes a book eligible for return. Perhaps Inferno was just that bad? Or perhaps they’re keeping the rules a secret to protect against fraud.

How can they afford it you ask? Sure there are those of few who would jump at the chance, leave this page right now to down vote their last book, in hope of getting mere $15 back! But here is the good part:

  1. Not everyone is a scumbag.
  2. With time, they will be able to tell scumbags from honest customers.

What is the cost?

Not sure how the deal works. They could be paying from their own deep pocket. I doubt a publisher would approve such return.

What are the gains?

  1. Customer trust: Customer will have more faith in the service, and will be more willing to try new books (i.e. spend money).
  2. Happy customers: Not only do customers trust Audible now, but they’re also very happy to stay with them. (Guess who’s keeping his account active despite like of time?)
  3. Filter bad books?: If my hypothesis is correct, this might be related to you giving a book bad rating. I surely don’t think they would return a book you gave five star to, unless you claim it was by mistake purchased and you already have it. So that way, they’re encouraging users to review the book, and let others know they didn’t like it. They can also personalize the experience for that specific customer in the future. For example, I never want to hear about a Dan Brown book again.

So thank you Audible for this great feature.

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