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Taxes: The Long Reach of New York State

So I published this book.  Sales have
been very good so far and I thank you.  As of now you can only purchase
the book online 
at  This way of buying is fine, but many have been asking me to also make it
available in local stores.  I very much understand the need to see
something “for real” before making a purchase.  Several stores have
expressed interest and are excited about having the book on their shelves.  Talking
Leaves has even suggested a signing event. But…

The publishing and marketing world is not easy.  Although I
have been working diligently to get the book into Buffalo retail outlets there
are many roadblocks to getting it into stores.  One of those roadblocks
is the State of New York.  What?  The state of New York blocking
commerce?  How could that be?  

Because is a direct seller, they do not have wholesale
pricing. This means there is minimal, if any, margin available for retailers – whether
it be Amazon or Talking Leaves (typically 40% from traditional publishers).  To
get that margin, I must rely on the 10% discount given only to the author on
bulk orders, plus a carefully calculated markup that keeps the final price
reasonable (I get $0 in this scenario).  So with that in mind, I have
calculated a cost that I can charge for the book to make it work for the
retailers.  When I went to place the first order for my retailers a new
cost appeared on the invoice, you guessed it…10% New York State (and
locality) sales tax!  Even though I do not live in New York State, was not
placing the order within New York State and the company selling the books is
not located in any way in New York State – New York wants its cut. The simple
fact that the order is being sent to New York is enough for the state to ask
for a tax payment.  Even though the book is destined to a retailer, who
will be required to ask for another 10% upon sale to its customers, New York
wants its payoff.  Needless to say this has dimmed prospects for Buffalo:
Architecture in the American Forgotten Land
gracing local store shelves.

double tax seemed outrageous to me, so I called Blurb and received some relief
in the form of a bureaucratic paper trail work around. To eliminate
this money grab by New York, I will need to fax or mail a valid reseller’s
certificate for each retailer to Blurb, followed by an original signed order
form for each separate order.  The refund will be processed and returned
quarterly. Oh boy!    

are only 3 states that charge this tax: Washington, California, and New York.  So,
New York is reaching into my pocket making it difficult and possibly impossible
for me to provide a product to New York retailers that New Yorkers would be
interested in.  Good going guys.  Even so, I will try to have some
copies in stores by mid-July.  In the mean time, online orders are very
simple to place.  You will have to pay the tax though.

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