Flash! Amazon makes a statement on the new collection of sales tax

 Flash!  Amazon makes a statement on the new collection of sales tax

I’ve written recently a couple of times about people seeing taxes collected on Kindle books when they didn’t see that before.  This recent post  addresses the issue.

Basically, sales taxes (which are levied by states) are collected on internet sales when the purchaser lives in a state where the seller has a physical presence (a building and/or a sales force), and the state would have collected sales tax if the sale had taken place in person.

So, if you live in Pennsylvania, and you buy an e-book from a seller online, and if Pennsylvania taxes e-books, and if that seller has a physical presence in Pennsylvania, the seller will collect sales from you at the time of your purchase. 

So, why now and not before?

Amazon is not selling you the books when you buy books under the “agency model”.  The publisher is selling them to you, Amazon is just processing the sale.  The question isn’t where Amazon has a physical presence, it’s where that publisher has a physical presence.

Is Amazon a “sales force” for the publisher?  Amazon is indicating that they are not the “seller of record” for books sold under the agency model.

Amazon statement

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


2 Responses to “Flash! Amazon makes a statement on the new collection of sales tax”

  1. Deb Dyson Says:

    I believe one of the components to the new Amazon publishing 70% deal for authors is that they allow TTS. If I purchased the book when they had TTS disabled and the author enables TTS for the future, will I be able to access the TTS or will mine continue to be blocked?

    Thank you for your help!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Deb!

      It would likely still be blocked for you…although that scenario is unlikely.

      First, as to why: the way that text-to-speech is blocked is by having code in the book file. When you re-download a book, you generally get the same version you got originally. This can be good and bad. When people bought books that had TTS enabled and then it was blocked later, it was not blocked for them. On the other hand, if you get a book with formatting problems and the publisher fixes it later, it is not fixed for you.

      Now, as to why it is unlikely: currently, only certain major publishers (to my knowledge) are blocking text-to-speech. The 70% deal affects publishers who use Amazon’s DTP (Digital Text Platform). Those publishers are often the authors themselves: but I doubt almost any authors would ever have chosen to block text-to-speech, even if they had that option.

      So, since text-to-speech is not being blocked by independent (indies) anyway, and the 70% only affects indies, I don’t think that will make any difference.

      What it will do is ensure text-to-speech when people newly publish independently, which some major authors have done and more may do in the future.

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