Every so often I review books and movies on Slow Food Fast, but as of yesterday, I’ve dropped my affiliate links to Amazon.com. In the past few weeks they’ve decided to fight tooth and nail not to pay sales tax like everybody else and support the states where they sell. First they cut off any Californians who had joined their affiliate seller program, which is annoying and kind of insulting. Not that I’d been getting anything much out of it, but I’ve also been a customer for years.
They’re even lobbying right now to add a ballot measure reversing California sales tax law for internet businesses. Their excuse is that they’ve built their empire on a tiny profit margin and paying sales tax will ruin the penny-seller pyramid. At the same time, they seem to believe they’ve got favored trading status and that any minor threat to their current model can be countered by threatening to withdraw their hiring. Forget that.
I live in a state that’s bent over backwards to court big business and internet retailers, given them all kinds of tax incentives and concessions for years so they wouldn’t move to Nevada or Delaware, and as a result has been absolutely gutted budgetwise. California takes in about a quarter of the nation’s new immigrants each year, has higher unemployment figures than most of the country, LA County alone has more than 300,000 women and toddlers enrolled in the not-very-generous WIC program, and basic services are being cut right and left to meet the state’s budget deficit. The poor–and that’s starting to include more of the middle class here too–are paying for Amazon.com’s free ride.
And yet Californians represent one of Amazon.com’s biggest markets.
Even the (now former) California affiliates are thinking Amazon should be ponying up like the rest of us. If you sell here, you should be paying sales tax here.
And our sales taxes have finally gone down recently. For years they were up to 9.75 percent. Two days ago I bought a pair of jeans and was shocked–8.75 percent. Apparently that’s dropping further into the 7 percent range for online purchases.
But Amazon’s looking to sue, as they did (and lost at trial) in New York.
Where can you get the books I recommend on this site? Alibris pays sales tax in California, and I’d recommend them.
Or, if you’re in Southern California, head to Vroman’s in Pasadena. Not only is Vroman’s a century-old independent bookstore, both branches are well stocked for hip, academic and traditional booklovers. And the staff are personable, they do lots of readings events, have a huge cooking section, and do online orders if you need something special. The bigger branch on Oak Knoll has a nice café as well.
Filed under: books, Food Politics, movies, shopping, unappetizing | Tagged: affiliate programs, Alibris.com, Amazon Associates, Amazon.com, California sales tax, independent bookstores, Internet booksellers, online retailers, Vroman's Bookstore |