Thanks to our insolvent state government, I need to go back and change all my book links. I never made much from the Amazon affiliate program, but it usually managed to cover Kitten’s school books. Oh, well, at least they haven’t closed the public libraries … yet …
Since I’m changing the old links anyway, I thought I’d give you all a chance to voice your opinions. Shall I continue to reference Amazon.com, or would you rather my book links took you to Barnes & Noble?
P.S.: For my rss subscribers, I apologize for the flood of old posts. Every time I make a change, it seems the feed releases the post anew. I’m afraid this will continue for a few weeks, since I’m using the affiliate mess as an excuse to do other long-neglected blog clean-up tasks as well. With 596 published posts, that will take awhile. I hate housecleaning!
11 thoughts on “Poll: Where Do You Buy Books?”
Just link to the site where you make a commission.
I like betterworldbooks.com best, but I don’t know if they have a commission program. If you can get a commission, do what works best for you. I’d go with anything other than Amazon, just because it’s not good to have one huge company controlling the whole market.
I’m not sure whether I’ll make a commission either place, but I do like Amazon for all the information and cross-linking they provide. They have a very robust reviewing system that usually gives me a good idea whether I will like a book or not, and the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature leads me to books I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Barnes & Noble tries to do these things, too, but they aren’t as good at them — fewer reviews, fewer selections.
I’ll have to look into betterworldbooks…
You can link to wherever you want. I prefer Amazon because I get very cheap prepaid shipping. 😀 I do think it is a little disingenuous for online retailers to not charge/pay state sales tax. I think they should charge it for either the state the purchase is made “from” (the address of the card holder) or the state being shipped to. Catalog companies have been doing this for years, and some online companies do. Obviously, that is a little too political, but my opinion. Sorry.
The rule for catalog companies is the same as for online companies: You pay tax in the state(s) where you have your store(s) or office(s). So, for example, if I buy homeschool supplies from the Rainbow Resource Center catalog, I pay sales tax because they are in Illinois — but a customer from Indiana would not have to pay sales tax.
To make any other rule would unduly burden any small business that tried to sell by mail or online. If “everybody pays sales tax for their state” had been the law when Rainbow Resource Center started 20 years ago, they would never have been able to get off the ground. Can you imagine having a home business and being required to keep track of 50 different sales tax laws, with all their associated forms and deadlines? You’d be so busy with those that you wouldn’t have time to run your business!
The difference with the new law is that Illinois (and several other states) is trying to define an affiliate blogger as the equivalent of a store or office for that company. That is illogical. Affiliate programs are more like paid advertising — like putting an ad in a newspaper or magazine — except that the company pays only when a customer actually buys something.
The big-bucks target for these new laws is Amazon.com, of course, but if this interpretation holds it could hurt many small businesses who are not big enough to fight it. Amazon is big enough that it could just pay the tax and forget it, but it has decided to fight. I respect that decision, even though it hurts me.
BTW, this battle has been raging for many years, long before the Internet came along. It was catalog companies vs. the states in the old days. Now the small catalog companies have mostly moved online, and Amazon is fighting for them as well as for itself.
Very, very interesting. I suppose that I have mostly worked with catalog companies that also have B & M stores. On the other hand, I do know that you only have to pay LL Bean sales tax if you live in one of the states that has a brick and mortar store. So, the new law is trying to identify affiliate bloggers as b&m stores. I think that’s rather silly, too. You’re right in that it is much more like paid advertising.
The thing you said earlier, Kristina, about possibly collecting taxes in the state the item sold comes from (where the business is) would not be so burdensome to small businesses. They have to learn the rules and bureaucratic hoops for their own states anyway. And to treat an online sale as if it were a virtual visit to a store has some logic to it.
I believe that idea was tried early on, when mail-order catalog sales were the big thing. But it turned out to be illegal, as only the federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce.
That is why Illinois and other states are looking for ways to declare that online businesses have a “physical presence” in the state — to take the purchase out of the “interstate commerce” category, so they can treat it as if the buyer and seller are both Illinois (or wherever) citizens.
I recently discovered B&N’s version of Amazon’s “Prime”. It’s *much* less expensive and right now you can get a few free month’s trial. So even though I purchase a lot of non-books and digital items at Amazon (w/o Prime, but w/ Amazon Mom), I plan to start moving over to B&N for books. I also LOVE their Nook app on my android phone. I have the Kindle one, too, but it’s not as nice, except for WhisperSync.
Oh, and yeah, our crazy, insane state is nearly driving me to the edge of leaving and living in another state! It’s costing an additional $100/month this year for hubby’s state income tax. That’s money we DON”T have. Then with the business taxes going up and local sales tax, I’m expecting loads of price increases just to buy anything…which makes buying online all the more the right place to shop!