Saturday, March 31, 2007

Random ideas chucked into the ether...enlighten me...

The book trade is elitist (I use that word in the lazy way it is usually bandied about) and it is in our interest to be so...

Books are exempt from VAT cos they are seen to have "educational" value. If books are treated as "media" or products like any other then why the hell should they be exempt? This is something many newcomers to the trade have totally failed to grasp or appreciate.

Many internet sellers are avoiding paying tax. This is unfair on trad retailers who pay hefty rates bills.

Amazon makes a good deal of money charging third party sellers comission. These third party sellers are often running nice little businesses, undercutting traditional shops, but pay no tax. Ask the second-hand bookseller over the road about this. It really pisses him off!

What is the tax situation for the likes of Amazon? Do they pay any equivalent of rates? If not why not? Their lorries use the roads, they are a burden on services like any business and so should pay their fair share towards these costs - I know nothing about this really - anyone enlighten me?

1 comment:

  1. Amazon would certainly pay business rates on their offices and warehouses ; indeed Amazon would be no different to other larger businesses and be surcharged (currently at 3%?? ) to ensure that local authority gets premium to counter-balance single unit holders (below the threshold Rateable Value) Small Business Rate Relief. Amazon would also have UK corporation tax responsibilities.

    The underlying imbalance is caused by the far lower business rates payable on warehouse sheds : local rating officers always assess extra for shops - compared to offices of similar sq ft area - due to the road frontage window display areas.

    Listers on Amazon Marketplace pay a listing fee, plus 15% commission from sale, and cut from the shipping charge (this is intended to subsidise A-Z guarantee)

    Having been involved in the secondhand booktrade (I sat on Abe Advisory Group in 2001/2); there is no future in general stock, and hasn't increasingly been for this whole decade. You trade up (market) or you go under. Selling a few books has become a second or retirement occupation ; the charity shops have eroded the bottom end terrestially (with their 80% business rate relief - difference paid to local authority out of central government funds i.e. the taxpayer - and free trade waste collection). Incidentally, I ceased listing on Abe in April 2002 when they introduced commission charges as well as a monthly listing fee ; although I still retain share ownership in the international bookdealer's co-operative website TomFolio.