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Andie P

Amazon...what do you make of this?

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I mostly use Amazon for the bibliographical data they provide and for the 'look inside' function. One of the biggest disadvantages to buying online for me is that fact that I can't see the size of the print on beforehand, so the 'look inside' feature is heaven sent. I can't use it to buy anything, though, as I don't have a VISA card and am in Belgium. I can only pay online using Maestro or PayPal and Amazon provides neither.

 

Funnily enough, one time I ordered books from Amazon and then came to the conclusion that I hadn't paid them and there was no way for me to pay them, as I only have Maestro and PayPal. They were shipped already. I mailed Amazon to tell them I hadn't paid and they found a solution for me. Only when they said in the mail 'we appreciate your honesty' I realised that if I'd kept my mouth shut, I would've gotten them for free :P

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Sadly Amazon are not the only ones - a lot of large corporations do this sort of thing - Vodafone, Boots, Starbucks just to name a few. We all though buy from them (I know I do) and so I guess we are all at least partly to blame. I admit that I use Amazon a lot, and not just for books. I buy mostly Kindle books which of course you to have to get from Amazon, but I also download music from them, buy DVD's and recently I also got a phone from them. The reason I guess is convenience, but also because I do a lot of online surveys for which I am paid in Amazon vouchers. I don't think I could afford to read as much as I do if I didn't do this. 

 

The truth is though that book sellers have been in trouble for a long time because of many different factors - including the practise of discounting. No one pays full price for books anymore and when everything is so heavily discounted that is bound to affect sellers profit margins. Perhaps the only real solution is just to pay everyone more so that we have more money to spend in the first place, but I suspect that wouldn't work either as now matter how much you have you still want more!

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Amazon is a site that completely changed the book reading experience for the reader, and they do deserve the credit for this. About the Tax i am sure they do give their federal tax every year. there are no company that can avoided their due tax.

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I don't dispute that and yes sure they deserve credit for their success, but this undeniably comes at a price for authors. Take my own experience and something I am communicating about with them at the moment. Ten years ago maybe slightly more I published a book - that book was duly put on Amazon for sale where it did reasonably well for a self published book at least at that time. Then Kindle came along and so I uploaded a Kindle version as well so that there were 2 ways to buy and read it. Paper sales started to dwindle and so I took the print version out of circulation. You can only now buy this book on Kindle or of course get a used paper version. Despite the fact that this book has been out of print for at least five years, Amazon are claiming to still be able to sell brand new ones and are selling these at a knockdown price. This would ordinarily not be a problem were it not for their price match policy which means that they have reduced the price of the Kindle version in line with these paper copies that do not actually exist, at the same time leaving me out of pocket. I did not ask them to do this, they did it of their own accord without even consulting me. I didn't even know they had done this until I looked at the books page one day and noticed it. I have explained to them that they are selling books that don't exist and they are looking into this. If they insist that these paper books do in fact exist (which I know they don't) I will try ordering one and see what happens! Then I can go back to them and say told you so!

    

As for their taxes or lack of them, there are plenty of companies that do this and Amazon are far from isolated - they are all at it - BT, Vodafone, Boots, Google and plenty more besides. Don't get me wrong, I buy from Amazon like we all do, but that doesn't make what they and others do right. If you don't believe what I say then feel free to Google it - there is heaps of information about this sort of thing out there. It has been all over the news for years and isn't exclusive to our country either - it happens everywhere.   

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