Independent U.K. Booksellers Fight Amazon

Amazon was alleged by MPs to avoid U.K. taxes by reporting its European sales through a unit based in Luxembourg.

“We pay our taxes!” independent booksellers are telling customers across the country in the latest fight-back against Amazon.

They put signs in their windows reading: “Can pay, do pay! We pay our taxes.” and “Your money, your bookshop, your community, we pay our taxes.”

Recently, the author Jeanette Winterson suggested that the unpaid tax be used to fund the U.K.’s struggling public libraries. “Libraries cost about a billion a year to run right now. Make it two billion and charge Google, Amazon and Starbucks all that back tax on their profits here. Or if they want to go on paying fancy lawyers to legally avoid their moral duties, then perhaps those companies could do an Andrew Carnegie and build us new kinds of libraries for a new kind of future in a fairer and better world?” she said in a lecture at the British Library.

Source: Guardian, November 19

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3 responses to “Independent U.K. Booksellers Fight Amazon

  1. This week’s On the Media on NPR is titled “Publishing: Adapt or Die”. Tax avoidance would seem to be meer child’s play for Amazon. http://www.onthemedia.org/2012/nov/23/

  2. A losing battle. State subsidies work. Quebec forces school boards to buy books from small, local bookstores. Whining signs in windows are useless.

  3. I believe that Amazon does remit salex tax to several states in the US (and thus must charge it to customers in those states) – so it can be done, it’s a matter of political will and the will to enforce. Arguments heard in the late 1990s that we should encourage e-commerce by not imposing taxes on e-transactions are surely obsolete by now.