Sunday, February 12, 2006

Interesting News in the Bookselling World

Senators Reach Compromise on USA Patriot Act Reauthorization
Readers are still a casualty as are civil rights in this country.

Barnes& Now Collecting Sales Tax on Online Purchases in 38 States
B&N is not collecting sales tax in Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, while Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon do not have sales taxes. Definitely time to move... It's Feasible for Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax Looks like the days of shopping online and avoiding sales tax may very soon be a distant memory.

With Amazon, Alibris and B&N deciding not to increase the shipping allotment received by booksellers after the hefty USPS postage increase, and the push to universally collect sales tax, one has to wonder what this means for the future of bookselling. More pointedly, what does this mean for the very small seller who was "invited" by Amazon to sell their past purchases? Will Amazon stop inviting every customer? Once social security, tax id and "resale" numbers and pertinent business licenses (where applicable) are required and income is reported to the IRS, will there be the ever-increasing multitudes of people who think bookselling is an easy way to make money? How many hobby sellers will remain? Will the average price of books rise again? So many questions and perhaps only a relatively short time may pass before we get some answers.

Back to the postage increase- IOBA, the Online Independent Booksellers Association, sent a letter to the major venues that did not increase the postage reimbursement booksellers receive. The letter requests an increase, of course.

IOBA also seemingly has come under question in this blog. Since Blogger readers are not privy to the private discussions on Alibris' booksellers' forum and are clueless to the actual discussions that took place, I find it interesting that the person who posts that blog has removed all ability to post comments or questions. It is very easy to make one-sided editorial comments that may be erroneous, incorrect or unclear, and imho, the comments are.

IOBA members referred a fellow Alibris seller back to Alibris because the problems under question were caused by and under the control of Alibris. IOBA members have no control over any of Alibris' operations. To allude otherwise is irresponsible.

Of course, it is very possible I do not understand what was said in the above mentioned blog. I do not know where "shipping" was deferred back to Alibris even after re-reading the original discussions on Alibris several times. The blog's meaning, aside from an attack, remains very unclear to me.

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