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Old 06-07-2010, 01:13 PM   #1
drofgnal
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Sales Tax and Ebook prices.

I haven't seen it discussed here, but when did Amazon start charging sales tax for ebooks? Seems to be not uniformly applied. A couple of books my wife bought (she has the kindle, me the ipad on one account) had sales tax charges. Seems I had a couple in the same period that didn't have sales tax applied.

Another dismaying problem I see is the price of certain books, particularly things in paperback already. I was looking at Robert Harris' Imperius. It is 9.99 in the kindle store, but 5.99 in paperback from Amazon? A small sampling of 4 or 5 paperbacks showed the same trend, the ebook noticeably more expensive than the paperback?

What is going on here? Seems I wish I had just kept in the paperback realm and got rid of them after reading at the local used book store.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:23 PM   #2
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Due to agency pricing Amazon and other retailers must now charge sales tax if a given publisher has a presence in your state.

As for pricing. If the ebook, under Sold By, has a publisher name and says This price was set by the publisher then Amazon has no control over the price. The publisher sets the price and Amazon can't discount it. This is again part of Agency Pricing.


You mention Robert Harris' Imperius, do you mean Imperium? (can't find a book called Imperius) If so the only pbook versions I see for sale are by third parties, Amazon isn't selling it at all (maybe out of print?). Not sure if it's the same book though as the K version shows up as $10.99 for me.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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Thanks,

Yea, Imperium. Price indeed set by publisher. Still much higher than available paperback I just saw in a bookstore. Seems to be a trend for ebooks to be more expensive than their paperbook counterparts. New hardback books are still a deal, but even there the difference is eroding given the usual 30% discount you can get new.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:47 PM   #4
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I live in NY and every publisher in the world has an office here and there is still no sales tax on any physical book.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:26 AM   #5
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not that I like paying taxes, we really need to rethink the whole internet vs. state sales tax thing and just bite that bullet. States are going broke because they simply are not getting the sales tax revenue. Even non-citizens contribute via sales tax.

I just think it is a needed fix for the US economy. Sure we might buy a few less items but most of us will still buy online for the convenience alone. Even ebooks...and I like my Amazon Prime membership more than I ever liked my Costco memebership. But the whole tax thing just has to happen.

Anyway, sorry to wander off in "that" direction here but I just felt it's relevent to the whole idea of sales tax to people who live in states with a sales tax, especially those that have a sales tax and no income tax.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:24 AM   #6
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My post was less about sales tax and more about the double wammy of Kindle ebook prices (particularly those that are available in paperback) and sales tax. Prices have definitely increased. Seems more prevalent since the ipad came out, which I now also own. I've checked some ebooks I'm considering purchasing, that are currently available on paperback and all are more expensive than the actual paperback. I'm assusming the publisher is fixing the price as all have the exact same price on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Ibooks.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drofgnal View Post
Thanks,

Yea, Imperium. Price indeed set by publisher. Still much higher than available paperback I just saw in a bookstore. Seems to be a trend for ebooks to be more expensive than their paperbook counterparts. New hardback books are still a deal, but even there the difference is eroding given the usual 30% discount you can get new.
there are many threads about this in the "NEWS" section. a lot of folks are choosing to actively boycott these books by making that selection in the review column. publishers won't "get it" until they realize how many sales they are losing. especially if these books are available on the darknet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorz View Post
I live in NY and every publisher in the world has an office here and there is still no sales tax on any physical book.
I think a publishing office presence is different than a sales presence
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:01 AM   #8
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Here in the UK (and I think the same applies for much of Europe) we have the annoying situation that ebooks are subject to the full rate of VAT (17.5%, likely to rise under the new government to 20%), but physical books are zero-rated. This is related to an EU directive that HarryT refers to elsewhere - EBooks are regarded as a download, like software.

Geo restrictions notwithstanding, I try to get as many books as I can in the US as not only is the price cheaper most of the time, the tax is lower too.

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Old 06-08-2010, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brecklundin View Post
not that I like paying taxes, we really need to rethink the whole internet vs. state sales tax thing and just bite that bullet. States are going broke because they simply are not getting the sales tax revenue. Even non-citizens contribute via sales tax.
.
Sorry don't agree. States are going broke because they all jacked up their spending during the boom times. It's like you or me financing an expensive car while we have a nice part time job, then losing that job. Had we squirreled away the money, we'd be in fine fiscal shape and driving along fine in our Civic.
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