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Andie P

Amazon...what do you make of this?

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I came across this on Facebook, I have heard this before, apparently Amazon don't pay tax because their head office is in Jersey or somewhere. It's an interesting argument because Amazon do provide reasonably priced books, much cheaper than in a bookshop. What do all you lovely people think?

 

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Edited by Andie P

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If that is true (and I have no evidence to prove otherwise, or a reason to think it can't be true), it really makes one think. I don't order from Amazon myself, but I just as easily could, and I'd hate to think that because I want to get a book cheap I am hindering some serious tax money from being paid.

 

I wonder if it's the same with play.com.

 

It's an important subject you've raised, Andie P.!

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It's definitely the same with Play.com, as they're based in Jersey.

 

I suspect this largely applies to CDs and DVDs/blu-rays, as I'd heard about Amazon dodging VAT by sourcing those items from the Channel Islands.

 

I'm not sure that applies to books, though, as there's no VAT on paperbacks/hardbacks, by HMRC rules. There is VAT on ebooks, though, so Kindle books attract it, and Amazon certainly charge it!

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I have just been doing some research on the net and it appears that it is true, also it appears that play.com don't pay tax either as their head office is in Jersey. I have read (not sure how true it is) that a Japanese company are buying play.com. If they keep their head office in Jersey...that's interesting.

 

Andie P x

 

If that is true (and I have no evidence to prove otherwise, or a reason to think it can't be true), it really makes one think. I don't order from Amazon myself, but I just as easily could, and I'd hate to think that because I want to get a book cheap I am hindering some serious tax money from being paid.

 

I wonder if it's the same with play.com.

 

It's an important subject you've raised, Andie P.!

 

Frankie, where do you get your books from?

 

Andie P x

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It's definitely the same with Play.com, as they're based in Jersey.

 

I have just been doing some research on the net and it appears that it is true, also it appears that play.com don't pay tax either as their head office is in Jersey.

 

Darn! Well, I've always promised myself that when I'm a grown up and have a decent, steady job I will buy more from the local stores. They just don't have the selection that would appeal to me. But of course they could order the books for me but that takes time.

 

Frankie, where do you get your books from?

 

I used to get my books from play.com when I was still with ex (they didn't accept my own credit card for some reason, eventhough it was the same kind as ex's). Now I'm doing most of my shopping at BookDepository (so will have to investigate that one, too!) and sometimes (but rather rarely) at Adlibris, which is an online bookshop for the Nordic countries.

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Yes, I no longer buy anything from Amazon because of their tax avoidance policies. Amazon UK has hundreds of employees, who were educated in the state educational system, who are kept healthy for work by the NHS and who get to work using public transport and the road network. It seems only fair that the company should make a contribution to the costs of all those things.

 

The sign in Andie's photo sums up perfectly what the problem with Amazon is, for me. For the sake of a couple of quid on the price of a book, I'd much rather support my local (tax-paying!) bookshop.

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To be honest, if I could afford to buy full price books from bookshops I would, but to help the store not because they are taxed. Absolutely everything else we pay for in this country is taxed. We are one of the most taxed countries in the world, I don't think they will miss a bit from the Amazon book store.

 

I mostly buy my books from eBay. Which is a corporation that pays taxes, and I have to pay for postage, some of which is taxed.

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Yes it is true - although they are based in Luxembourg rather than Jersey. It was I believe a topic of discussion on this weeks Panorama, which I have not got round to watching yet. Sadly, not much about Amazon surprises me, and this I suspect is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to theirs (and others) dodgy dealings. I love the way that this book shop has turned it round though - it will be interesting to see if it works.

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I didn't know any of this, might think twice now.

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There is another side of the coin though. The fact that Amazon parcels and packets go through Royal Mail is about the only thing that is keeping Royal Mail in existence. I am not kidding. Without the huge contract we have with Amazon we would have folded and there would be no more universal delivery service.

You would either be at the mercy of private delivery companies (in the cities) who could charge what they liked or in rural areas you would have to go to a depot to get your letters, as it would not be economically viable for these private companies to deliver them to your door.

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There is another side of the coin though. The fact that Amazon parcels and packets go through Royal Mail is about the only thing that is keeping Royal Mail in existence. I am not kidding. Without the huge contract we have with Amazon we would have folded and there would be no more universal delivery service.

You would either be at the mercy of private delivery companies (in the cities) who could charge what they liked or in rural areas you would have to go to a depot to get your letters, as it would not be economically viable for these private companies to deliver them to your door.

 

That's an interesting side of the story. I thought it would trigger some opinions, I am still sitting on the fence!

 

Andie P x

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They also have a massive distribution centre near Milton Keynes which employs over two thousand people. They still pay other taxes, they just miss out on corporation and some VAT tax.

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and here's what Tim Waterstone thinks of it all...

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/06/tim-waterstone-attacks-amazon-tax-avoidance

 

I wonder who the direct quote re Harrods etc is from... Poppy's link details the bar code scanning policy they advocate in the US... that stinks and brings us right back to Amazon's bottom line being the big fat buck at everyone else's expense.

 

No doubt about it. If we continue to support online bookshops like Amazon (1 in 4 books in the UK are currently sold by Amazon online!), physical bookshops will vanish in 20 years let alone public libraries. I for one do NOT want that to happen. My mind's made up and I won't be buying anything from Amazon from now on after reading about their policies.

 

If I'm buying physical books, I'll buy in the High St, not online and if I'm buying ebooks (for my Sony never a Kindle!), I'll buy from retailers who still allow me to walk around their stock and browse it in person. I can afford the extra few quid I'll pay for this privilege. Maybe me doing my little bit will prevent me living long enough to see the day the last bookshop closes its doors in the UK.

 

So, am I just an old fogey or does the axe I'm grinding actually have an edge to it?

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VAT's irrelevant. All companies do is act as tax collectors for the Government, and pass on the VAT that you pay on goods and services.

 

Amazon don't "just miss out on corporation tax", they've made a conscious decision to avoid paying it. Corporation tax is the principal vehicle by which corporate bodies pay their fair share of the cost of the public services they benefit from. These aren't insignificant sums we're talking about. Corporation tax in the years in question stood at 26 per cent. If Amazon made as little as five per cent profit on that turnover, then that's £91 million lost to the Exchequer in tax revenue. That's an awful lot of nurses, doctors, teachers, firefighters, school buildings .....

 

The effect of allowing companies to dodge their responsibilities like this is that the rest of us end up paying more tax to make up the shortfall. That's why this country feels like it's so heavily taxed.

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What about the little bookshops and private sellers who sell their second hand books on Amazon though? If I am not buying for the kindle then this is where I usually get my books, as some of them are only a penny. I never at any time buy brand new books, so I never go into bookshops.

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They are still paying Amazon sellers fees. The books themselves might be a penny, but they are bumpin up the cost of postage to pay for those sellers fees, which stil go into Amazon's profits.

 

If you can't afford new books then why not try charity shops, at least that way the money is going to a good cause. Or what about borrowing from the library? They can always order books for you if they don't have what you want.

Edited by Talisman

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Well it looks like Amazon's reach grows yet further - Waterstones are to start selling Kindles:

 

http://www.telegraph...-hardbacks.html

 

Interesting, because I think Waterstones sells Epub format ebooks, which the Kindle doesn't take 'out of the box' does it?

Edited by Karsa Orlong

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I buy 95% of my books second hand from either second hand book shops or ebay. I don't really buy new books because of the price, but this has made me think more about using smaller shops!

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This really is an interesting story with lots of different angles. Although I must admit that the whole debate has made me think twice about my buying behaviours, I will try and buy more from second hand stores/ebay.

 

I was driving around today and passed two second hand book shops I have never noticed before!! I will have to pop into them on pay day!

 

Andie P x

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I'd like to buy from secondhand bookshops but I've not seen any in my local area... And the only bookshops we have are Waterstones and WhSmiths, no small independents that I have found. I am very guilty of buying at least 50-60% of my books from Amazon. I will make an effort to buy less from there and more from ........ somewhere else!

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Well it looks like Amazon's reach grows yet further - Waterstones are to start selling Kindles:

 

http://www.telegraph...-hardbacks.html

 

Interesting, because I think Waterstones sells Epub format ebooks, which the Kindle doesn't take 'out of the box' does it?

 

Well, the last big box book store that teamed up with Amazon went the way of the cuckoo-bird. Anyone remember Borders? heh

 

Do y'all have Books-A-Million over there? They are a big box book store in the U.S., and they sell Nooks, the e-reader for Barnes & Noble.

 

Strangeness.

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They are still paying Amazon sellers fees. The books themselves might be a penny, but they are bumpin up the cost of postage to pay for those sellers fees, which stil go into Amazon's profits.

 

If you can't afford new books then why not try charity shops, at least that way the money is going to a good cause. Or what about borrowing from the library? They can always order books for you if they don't have what you want.

 

I do enjoy buying from charity shops and spending time hunting even if I don't end up buying. There are 8 in my town at last count, the only problem is when you want a particular second hand book or DVD which never shows up. This is where the second hand booksellers on Amazon always come up trumps. Often a book for a penny plus the postage is still less than the kindle price and often less than half what it would be for a brand new book, even if it was available..

I am not against Amazon turning a profit - as I say it is propping my job up- but I do agree that they should be paying their share of tax. It is really down to the governments to change the laws and force their compliance.

About using the library, my pattern of reading doesn't seem to fit the library service very well. I am always zipping about between work, the gym or taking the kids somewhere. There never seems the time to even visit the library, and I would not be able to spare an hour to browse.

Edited by vodkafan

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Anyone remember Borders?

 

We had borders here too, I loved the places. One of my favourite ones was three floors, with a coffee shop in the corner where you could take your purchase, sit and relax. They had a big glass wall that looked out onto the natural reserve as well. I can't remember who bought who, but when they closed, we lost the Angus and Robertson book chain stores too.

 

We can still buy from their online site here though, same with Angus.

Edited by Devi

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I'd only recently begun visiting Borders when they went out of business. My husband, before he moved down here, used to use the Borders up in New York all the time. He loved it there. I liked it a lot, but the nearest one to us here was about 40 miles away. So, not so convenient. There were only two in the entire New Orleans metro area! What killed them was their teaming up with Amazon for their online business. Borders finally pulled out, but it was too late financially. They were down the tubes.

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