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Businesses Handhelds The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Amazon Overcharging Publishers For Tax 184

00_NOP writes "Amazon is taking fire in the UK for insisting that publishers pay them for 20% VAT (sales tax) when in fact the online retailer is only paying 3% VAT. 'The firm is able to wield such power over publishers because it has a near monopoly of the UK digital book publishing market. According to reliable estimates, it sells nine out of 10 ebooks in the UK, while using its Luxembourg tax status to wring more profitable terms from publishers. ... In private, British authors and publishers express fears that Amazon's dominance will send the industry into further decline.' Given that the Kindle is rubbish at displaying maths and science and that Amazon is as dangerous a monopoly as Microsoft ever was, is it not time that regulators and consumers stood up to them?" Amazon is also facing criticism right now for allegedly shutting down a woman's account and remotely wiping her Kindle, then refusing to provide information about why it did so.
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Amazon Overcharging Publishers For Tax

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:34AM (#41727917)

    that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:37AM (#41727941) Homepage

    So Amazon has completely cornered the market because of stupidity? how does not make any sense?

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:39AM (#41727965)

    Overcharging, potentially illegal actions? Pfft, who cares.

    Whats that, you say its bad at displaying maths and science? Someone get the firing squad.

    Seriously, what on earth do its shortcomings have to do with whether the government needs to take action?

  • Piling on? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camg188 ( 932324 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:46AM (#41728011)
    What does the kindle's failure to display math and science symbols correctly have to do with Amazon potentially being a monopoly?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:49AM (#41728045)

    Publishers insisting on DRM, engaging in infighting, and pushing multiple incompatible standards have given Amazon a device monopoly just like music publishers gave Apple. It's stupidity because they had five years to see what was coming. It's publishers monopolistic greed that enabled Amazon's position, and Jeff Bezos is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:01AM (#41728153)

    I don't recall seeing the Kindle being advertised as a maths/science textbook replacement anywhere.
    Kindles don't support footnotes, which is also a pain but equally irrelevant to the issue of how much or little tax Amazon pay.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:04AM (#41728193) Journal

    What I want to know is where the http://pixelqi.com/ [pixelqi.com] guys are hiding... They had a workable device, shipping in nontrivial volume with the OLPC XO-1, and then seemingly dropped off the map.

    All the refresh rate of an LCD panel(because it is one); but, in transreflective mode, looks more like e-ink than any LCD I've ever seen and has the option to do color if you crank the backlight....

    We know(because all but the nastiest LCD tablets running Android or iOS can and do do it) that contemporary low-power ARM chipsets are up to the challenge of crunching PDFs; but e-ink displays are mostly too small to display 8.5x11 or A4 pages, too slow for panning/zooming/etc, and PDF reflow is crap. If they would just start existing, the Pixel Qi screens would fairly efficiently solve this problem, at lower cost and lower power than standard LCD panels; but nobody seems to have heard a peep from them.

  • by tsa ( 15680 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:14AM (#41728285) Homepage

    I understand my car can't fly but I think that is not acceptable at all either. Never again will I buy a car.

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:14AM (#41728289)

    Having been totally baffled by the summery. Which is incredibly confusing. Nothing has changed, VAT works like it always does the final customer pays it ALL thats the books buyer paying 20% http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=502578 [amazon.co.uk].

    This is purely about dodgy maths. Amazon make deals on percentage of Gross Price with the publishers the UK full retail price of the book [net price+20%vat], not on the net price + [Vat in Luxenbourg] 3%. where publishers would get a slightly larger piece of pie . Neither Amazon or the Publishers pay a penny in tax so I fail to see why this is an issue. A better argument would be to standardise of Amazon taking a percentage of the net price as opposed to gross price, but all this should not matter, its really whatever they have negotiated between themselves.

    This is a ridiculous Anti-Amazon article, I suspect to distract from the disgusting behaviour that Apple and 5 Publishers are involved in

  • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:16AM (#41728309)

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

    I have heard this saying before. But I have never understood why I should consider it to be correct. Don't the malicious often feign ignorance?

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:44AM (#41728549) Homepage Journal

    Because they are actively selling goods they must know to be unfit for purpose. What if a retailer sold you something they said was wine when it was simply water? Would you not think that was an issue even if they did it thousands of times and refused to stop when the problem was pointed out to them?

    Personally, I'd be far more concerned when they came to repo the "wine" they sold me, not for non-payment, but for some arbitrary reason they made up to justify said repossession without refund.

    Seriously, why is that not the bigger focus here? Amazon can repossess your digital stuff without refund or recourse!

    See, shit like this is why I only spend money on tangible goods.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:47AM (#41728573) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, what on earth do its shortcomings have to do with whether the government needs to take action?

    The fact that a company can take something that you paid for from you, without just cause or fiscal reciprocity, is something the government should definitely take action against.

    If you or I did that to someone, we would be called "thieves;" why would Amazon be considered any differently?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:08AM (#41728777)

    Yep, they sold me a book about the evolution of storytelling. The paper version contained some figures that they just left out in the Kindle version. And that made the book unreadable. Thank you Amazon, I will certainly buy Kindle books from you again.

    I fail to see how this is Amazons fault. The publisher is responsible for converting books to Mobi and submitting them to Amazon. Blaming Amazon for an eBook that was missing figures would be like blaming them for spelling errors in a print book.

  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:51AM (#41729295)

    I don't recall seeing the Kindle being advertised as a maths/science textbook replacement anywhere.

    "Amazon" didn't create the book, the publisher did. It's not up to Amazon to audit every text book they sell to see if it's correct. The publisher should have proofread it -- it's pretty simple to do, on the Kindle emulator that Amazon supplies for exactly that purpose. Kindle itself uses a subset of HTML in a specific font to display text. If that doesn't work, you have to use images. It does support GIF, JPEG, PNG.

    Probably the publisher just ran it through some automatic converter that couldn't handle the symbols. For specialised stuff like that you have to do a lot of custom coding.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday October 22, 2012 @01:26PM (#41730687) Homepage Journal

    mcgrew's razor: never attribute to stupidity that which can be explained by greedy self-interest.

  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @02:50PM (#41731759)

    The problem is that many slashdotters seem to jump to conspiracy theory conclusions about *everything*, even if totally ridiculous.

    How much are THEY paying you to say that?

The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky