Amazon.com Sets New Disclosure Standards and New Returns Policy

Posted on February 9, 1999

Online retailer Amazon.com has announced that beginning March 1 it will list for customers which feature placements on its site are paid for and which are not. At the same time, effective immediately, the company is implementing a new book-return policy.

The company stressed that its recommendations are not and have never been for sale to anyone. Only books selected by Amazon.com editors qualify for publisher-supported placement.

"We have the largest staff of book editors online or off, and for a book that doesn't meet our standards, there is no amount of money that would cause us to feature it," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. Bezos added that, "as a Web-based store with a real community of book lovers, we're being held to a higher standard than physical stores. And you know what? That's the way it should be."

The company will now make it possible for shoppers to know which placements have been purchased by publishers and which have not. Beginning March 1st, Amazon.com will list every paid-for placement in its store, breaking with standard industry practice. "We believe we're the first retailer to list this information for customers, and we hope it will start a trend," Bezos added.

The company is also widening its book-return policy to reinforce its belief in the quality of its editors' recommendations by allowing customers to return any book Amazon.com has recommended, even after it has been read. Previously, the company's returns policy required books to be in unread and new condition.

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