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Andie P

Amazon...what do you make of this?

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It seems I don't see things the same way as some others here.

 

So, Amazon avoid paying tax. Totally legitimate, more power to their elbow. Yes, those taxes get spent on student nurses etc, but they also get spent on a whole host of things I totally disagree with, and I see those as the problem, not the fact that a company, who contributes to the economy of this nation through other routes, has managed to avoid some taxation.

 

But then, I don't think my spending at Amazon has negatively effected my spending at my local independent. Yes, it's affected my spending at Waterstone's, but if anything the amount I've spent at the local shop has gone up as my enthusiasm for reading (partly stimulated by my Kindle and by the ready availability of Amazon) has risen.

 

And don't underestimate the negative effect of charity shops on the high street. After all, they avoid paying some of their taxes (rates) to the detriment of other local shops. OK, they're for a good cause, but the effect is just the same, and if somebody is buying a book through them (for which the charity hasn't paid), then that's another sale lost for the book shop.

 

As for Borders and Waterstone's. I'm not sure quite why there is so much nostalgia. They are/were big corporate entities, and themselves have done as much damage to local independents as any internet seller. Waterstone's staff aren't even half as knowledgeable as they used to be,which was once upon a time a good reason to shop with them.

Edited by willoyd

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I doubt I'll be stopping buying books from Amazon. There are three branches of Waterstones that I visit each week near my work and their sf/fantasy selections are pathetic (unless you want Twilight or The Hunger Games, which I don't) so, short of my occasional visits to Forbidden Planet, online is the best place to get the books I want.

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And don't underestimate the negative effect of charity shops on the high street. After all, they avoid paying some of their taxes (rates) to the detriment of other local shops. OK, they're for a good cause, but the effect is just the same, and if somebody is buying a book through them (for which the charity hasn't paid), then that's another sale lost for the book shop.

 

 

Good point about charity shops. It appears I am gonna be bad whatever I buy, as I don't buy brand new books from the High Street. At a reading rate of 8 books a month, I could not justify paying out £60 + a month on a reading habit.

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I doubt I'll be stopping buying books from Amazon. There are three branches of Waterstones that I visit each week near my work and their sf/fantasy selections are pathetic (unless you want Twilight or The Hunger Games, which I don't) so, short of my occasional visits to Forbidden Planet, online is the best place to get the books I want.

 

It's a good point, they have such a small horror/sci-fi/fantasy section that I rarely find what I want and it is never on offer. There is a nice independent bookstore just across the road from Waterstone's that doesn't get much business because of it.

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I guess I'd have to say that probably about 40% of our books come from Amazon/Amazon Marketplace. The used bookstore that is in our area, yes, only one, is not, usually, a good source for what we want to read. Of course that doesn't mean we don't walk out with an armful sometimes. :) But one of the real bulk purchase points for us is the local Library Sale, and last week there was a Symphony Book Fair in New Orleans that supports the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. We came away with 4 overflowing, large canvas bags of books that day.

 

Barnes & Noble is a source as well, but only when they have 30 or 40% off, that pretty well matches Amazon's prices. Of course I'd like to buy locally, but we are the only ones that are going to worry about our pocketbooks or our reading wants/desires. I see no common sense in paying 25-30 USD for a book locally that I can purchase for approximately half that price on Amazon.

 

AIE: Not to mention that B&N and the local second hand stores do not have near the selection that Amazon has. BTW, every time I've seen Book Depository on Amazon Marketplace, I'll check out BD's website for the same book, and they always have stated on the site that the book is "not available at this time"!

Edited by pontalba

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I buy most of my books either from second hand shops, Amazon or discount bookshops like The Works. There aren't many independent book shops convenient for me so I can't buy from them. When I go to Waterstones I always come away disappointed because they rarely have the book that I want where as W H Smith usually does.

 

I can read anything from 4-10 books a month so I have to be aware of money constraints so while I appreciate that Amazon and Play are avoiding paying taxes until I get reasonably priced independents in my area I will continue to use them.

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Good choice, cookie. I wouldn't read half the books I do if I paid full price. I wouldn't have tried such a variety of authors either.

Edited by dex

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I think this is life these days! All companies do it to a greater or lesser extent! You have to think of the benefits too though! Like they allow writers to publish for free. They offer writers money for people looking at their books for a month etc etc! Plus, even though they pay no tax, their employees do, like those who work in their distribution wahrehouse in Doncaster for instance! So the picture is not always as clear cut as others put forwards!

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Tax avoidance schemes are a concern to every government and a lot of them are trying to minimise them as much as they can, but I don't think they're doing enough. Amazon cannot be blamed for avoiding tax, it's perfectly legal to have your headquarters in countries where you are not taxed heavily. A lot of companies do this and a lot of wealthy people do as well. I haven't stopped buying things off amazon because of this. Amazon is convenient, the variety is huge and I always get good quality products. Not everyone has the time to go and order books from book stores and the internet has catered for the busy lifestyle we now live in.

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I take on board all that has been said, but just because something is legal it does not mean that it is moral. Sadly this sort of thing will continue to take place until there is a complete change in mindset - for both the companies themselves and their consumers (and yes, I buy from Amazon as well, mostly because it is convenient for me to do so).

 

While it is true that the tax that we pay does often go towards things that we disapprove of (as a vegetarian I hate the fact that some of my tax goes towards propping up the meat industry), much of it also goes towards the essentials that we all need and depend on - the NHS for example, education, The Police and so on - and no matter who we are and what we do for a living, we all need all of these things. It is the education system that we have in this country that has enabled Amazon to be the success that they are, because a company is nothing without its staff, and it is that same education system that has both qualiifed and enabled all their staff, from the lowest to the highest paid to do their jobs. Amazon and others like them should imo think on that long and hard. We all as citizens have a duty to give back to society - including paying our fair share of taxes. It may not be an ideal system, or perhaps the fairest, but it is the only one that we have.

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The Police and so on

 

I reckon Sting's got enough money ... sorry, couldn't resist :giggle2:

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I reckon Sting's got enough money ... sorry, couldn't resist :giggle2:

 

Right, that's it!

 

Steve, come and sit at the front, as you clearly cannot be trusted at the back of the classroom. :D

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I buy the majority of my books from Half Price Books, which is a used book seller. I do this because I limit myself on my budget so I can save more money to have later when I retire. I have no idea what HPB tax policy is. The rest of the books I purchase though come from Amazon, exactly for the reasons that Delaila stated above - it's convenient, lots of variety and the products are good quality.

 

I'm not a good person to ask about taxes since my opinion would take up way too many posts, but I don't believe that our tax system pays for as much of the essentials that people in the UK depend on. I suppose what Amazon is doing is sort of like a company housed in New York but selling their products out of South Dakota, so they can pay fewer local taxes. There's still the federal taxes, but otherwise each state here has their own tax policy. I guess I'm saying that I have no problem with this, since I like it when businesses prosper. It in turn creates more jobs, more businesses, more money flowing through the system, etc.

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Right, that's it!

 

Steve, come and sit at the front, as you clearly cannot be trusted at the back of the classroom. :D

 

Yes, miss. Sorry, miss :(

 

:giggle2:

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I only buy digital these days, so it's from Amazon. Also, as an independent writer, Amazon opens up options in publishing and distribution that simply don't exist without them (yes, I'm aware that you can also e-publish through B&N, Sony, Apple, etc., but non one has the same market share as Amazon). I know that their policies often leave some things to be desired, but I feel that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

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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.

 

Unless you're Amazon, apparently. What they're doing isn't illegal, but still . . .

 

Companies such as Amazon collect the VAT levy from consumers before passing it on to governments. In the case of Amazon's UK ebook sales, it only has to pass 3% to Luxembourg. If it was based in the UK it would have to hand over 20%.

 

According to a contract seen by the Guardian, Amazon starts negotiations with its publishers on the basis that the UK VAT rate of 20% must be knocked off the cost price.

However, its base in Luxembourg allows it to benefit from a European tax anomaly and pay only 3% VAT on digital books sold to UK readers. Subsequently, Amazon charges the difference between the UK VAT levy imposed on publishers and the actual 3% that it pays, which amounts to an extra £1.38 of profit every time it sells a £10 ebook in this country.

 

It then negotiates further substantial discounts on top of the VAT subsidy, which in some cases can result in publishers receiving less than 10% of the price paid by the online customer.

 

http://www.guardian....s-pay-vat-ebook

Edited by Karsa Orlong

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I also read about this in the Evening Standard...

 

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/facebook-amazon-google-starbucks-you-owe-us-900000000-8312300.html

 

My view is that it is one of those stories than angers the everyday man on the street, but if there are loopholes then people will take advantage and I guess you can't really blame them. It is also difficult when these stories attack a 'faceless' corporation. You could get angry with Jimmy Carr because he was an individual.

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I had always purchased from Amazon, it is so much cheaper than anywhere else. After hearing about this, i dont think i want to continue buying from them now. Going to have a look around and see if i can find any second hand bookshops nearby! :)

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I buy probably 85% of my books from Amazon, both new and used. They have THE best selection, and a lot of the manga I read can't be found anywhere else. Plus their Marketplace gives a lot of struggling, small used bookstores a way to reach more people. Otherwise, I go to places like Half Price Books, Goodwill, or another used bookstore. Amazon is based here in Seattle, so I still have to pay sales tax on my purchases. I know that part of the reason they've been trying to get away with not charging sales tax in other states is to stay competitive. If Amazon doesn't have an office or distribution center in your state, I think they can get away with not charging sales tax. Other online retailers do the same thing. But I know that states are getting fed up and are going to start forcing companies to collect sales tax. I'm not sure what the issue is with Amazon UK, or other international divisions, but I doubt that Amazon is doing anything very different than what other international corporations do.

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One thing Amazon have been doing for a while which really puts me off using them is the awful delivery services they use in the UK. Yodel, HDN and the like are dreadful and complaints just fall on deaf ears.

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I use them on occasion, If everyones so bothered why not stop them advertising on here? Maybe someone should start a petition.

 

 

 

 

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I used to use amazon all the time but what i do now is find books on amazon (much better site than waterstones) and once i have found what i want use watersones reserve & collect. That way i get to nip into waterstones shop but get the internet price :D

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