• <b>Sotheby’s New York: The Magnificent Botanical Library of D. F. Allen. October 26, 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Redouté, Pierre Joseph, and Claude Antoine Thory. <i>Les Roses</I>. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1817–1824. Est. $225,000 to $325,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Trew, Jakob Christoph. <i>Hortus Nitidissimis Omnen Per Annum Superbiens Floribus</i>… Nuremberg: Johann Joseph Fleischmann, 1750 [–1786]. Est. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Trew, Christoph Jakob, and Benedict Christian Vogel. <i>Plantæ Selectæ</i>…[Nuremberg:] 1750–1773; Supplement, [Augsburg:] 1790 [–1792]. Est. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Sotheby’s New York: The Magnificent Botanical Library of D. F. Allen. October 26, 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Jacquin, Nikolaus Joseph von. <i>Plantarum Rariorum Horti Caesarei Schönbrunnensis Descriptiones Et Icones.</i>Vienna; London; Leiden, 1797–1804. Est. $180,000 to $250,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Weinmann, Johann Wilhelm. <i>Phytanthoza Iconographia; Sive Conspectus Aliquot Millium, Tam Indigenarum Quam Exoticarum</i>… Regensburg, 1735–1737–1745. Est. $120,000 to $180,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b><br><i>The Centenary Edition of the Works of Ian Fleming</i>, one of 26 lettered sets, 18 volumes, London, 2008. $25,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> William Faulkner, <i>The Marble Faun</i>, first edition, signed & inscribed to Dorothy Wilcox by Faulkner & Phil Stone, Boston, 1924. $18,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Maurice Sendak, <i>Where the Wild Things Are</i>, first edition, signed & inscribed to William Archibald, New York, 1963. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Anne Frank, <i>Het Achterhuis</i>, first edition, in first state jacket, Amsterdam, 1947. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Roald Dahl, <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</i>, first edition, signed, New York, 1964. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b><br>Ray Bradbury, <i>Fahrenheit 451</i>, first limited edition bound in Johns-Manville Quinterra, New York, 1953. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Benjamin Graham, <i>The Intelligent Investor</i>, first edition, in original dust jacket, New York, 1949. $4,500 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Anna Sewell, <i>Black Beauty</i>, first edition, inscribed, London, 1877. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Arthur Conan Doyle, <i>A Study in Scarlet</i>, first American edition, Philadelphia, 1890. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> James Fenimore Cooper, <i>The Last of the Mohicans</i>, first edition, two volumes, Philadelphia, 1826. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Amelia Earhart, <i>20 hrs. 40 mins. Our Flight in Friendship</i>, limited first edition, signed, New York, 1928. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Philip K. Dick, <i>World of Chance</i>, first edition, signed, London, 1956. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio!</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio!</b>
  • <b>Results from Bonhams’ sale of <i>Fine Books & Manuscripts Featuring Exploration and Travel</i></b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Columbus. De Insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis. Basel, 1494. SOLD for $751,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Cook in Tahiti. [Playbill]. [Germany, c.1840.] SOLD for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Aa, Pieter van der. Naaukeurige versameling der gedenk-waardigste zee en land-reysen. Leyden, 1706-8. SOLD for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Dürer. Underweysung der messung [and two more]. Nuremberg, 1525-8. SOLD for $175,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Cortes, Hernan. A Pleito signed by Antonio de Mendoza in the case of Hernan Cortes. 1542. SOLD for $8750
    <b>Results from Bonhams’ <i>The Air and Space Sale</i></b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Russian Kholod 5D67 HFL Rocket Engine. SOLD for $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Neil Armstrong Apollo Era Training Glove. SOLD for $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Full Scale Sputnik-1 EMC/EMI Lab Model. SOLD for $847,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> SOLRAD GREB Spy Satellite Engineering Dummy. SOLD for $10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Soviet LK-3 Lunar Lander Model. SOLD for $25,000
  • <b>Sotheby’s London: Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection. Part I: Music. 26 October 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Beethoven, Ludwig van. Autograph Manuscript of the Canon "Ewig Dein" Woo 161, signed at the end ("...[Ewig] Dein...Freund Ludwig Van Beethowen"). Est. £120,000 to £150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Brahms, Johannes. Autograph Manuscript of the "Geistliches Wiegenlied", Op.91 No.2, for Contralto, Viola And Piano, the original version of 1864, signed and inscribed at the end by the composer. Est. £200,000 to £250,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Chopin, Frédéric. Autograph Manuscript of the Opening of the Étude Op.25 No.2, in A-Flat Major, signed and dated ("Paris Ce 28 Avril F. Chopin"). Est. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London: Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection. Part I: Music. 26 October 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Haydn, Joseph. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jos Haydn[Paraph]"), to the Baden Choirmaster Anton Stoll, 30 July 1802. Est. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Verdi, Giuseppe. Autograph Working Manuscript of a scene from Ernani. Est. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Verdi, Giuseppe. Highly Important Series of Thirty-Six Autograph Letters Signed to The Librettist Salvadore Cammarano, written between 1844 And 1851, the greater part unpublished and unrecorded. Est. £250,000 to £300,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2017 Issue

The Decades-Old Amazon Sales Tax Battle Comes to an End, But a Second One Begins

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Opening physical bookstores signaled the end of the Amazon sales tax battle.

A war was waged between Amazon and the states over the issue of sales tax collection for almost two decades. It was a pitched battle, with states passing legislation, going to court, and looking to Congress for help in their attempt to force Amazon to collect sales taxes. They lined up their allies, notably local merchants, while Amazon had theirs, such as anti-tax groups. The larger Amazon became, the fiercer the battle raged. However, over the past few years, Amazon has been conceding the battle state by state, and now, it has finally succumbed. The end came with a whimper, virtually unnoticed. By then, only four states remained where Amazon was not collecting taxes. As of April 1, the battle was over. But now, a new one begins.

 

In the early days, when Amazon was but a babbling brook, selling only books, it garnered the ire of traditional bookshops with whom they competed. While Amazon already had the price advantages of low overhead from having no physical stores, and the financial wherewithal to be unprofitable while it built its business, it also had another ace up its sleeve. Outside of its home base of Washington State, it did not have to collect sales taxes. In those states that have a sales tax (most), that generally amounts to a 5%-8% discount, in some states even more. It's possible you may even have purchased something at some time from an online retailer in part based on that consideration.

 

Main Street shops, in combination with state taxing authorities, did everything in their power to force Amazon to also collect sales taxes. Every time they lost. It all goes back to something known as the Quill doctrine. Long ago (1992), in pre-internet days, the state of North Dakota attempted to get catalogue retailer Quill Corp. to collect their sales tax. North Dakota lost in the U. S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution gives sole authority to regulate interstate commerce to the federal government, so only the federal government could compel out-of-state sellers to collect sales taxes for another state. Many attempts were made to convince Congress to pass such a bill, but it never got to the floor. Congressmen are loathe to do things that raise taxes. It tends to be unpopular with voters.

 

However, the Court also said that there are situations where an out-of-state based retailer can be compelled to collect those taxes. That is when the retailer has a "nexus" with the state. A "nexus" is some sort of presence in the state. So, while Amazon could not be compelled to collect taxes in a state with which it had no connection, if it had a store, an office, a warehouse, or some such presence, it would be considered an in-state retailer. It could then be compelled to collect taxes on behalf of that state, even if their headquarters and internet operations were someplace far away.

 

In the early days, that meant little to Amazon. But, Amazon has grown to an astounding size over the years. Shipping everything from Washington state became unproductively slow and expensive. It began opening warehouses around the country – nexus! It negotiated special deals with some states who desperately wanted Amazon's presence, real estate taxes, and jobs, but increasingly, Amazon had to add new states to the list with which it had a nexus. Now, Amazon is starting to open retail book stores in various states, and who knows, maybe they intend to have stores in all 50 states eventually. The handwriting was on the wall. It was time to concede.

 

Actually, the surrender meant little when it was finally tendered last month. By then, there were only four tax states left where Amazon was not already collecting sales taxes – New Mexico, Maine, Idaho, and Hawaii. My guess is those don't represent a substantial percentage of Amazon's sales. The only states where Amazon still will not collect sales tax are Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Alaska. That is because those five states do not charge sales tax. There's something to remember when deciding where to retire. Hope you like cold weather.

 

So, did Amazon end up losing the long war? If so, this was a pyrrhic loss. In the time Amazon fought this war, it made the most of its competitive advantages. It grew from nothing to a monster, selling not only books but just about everything else. Today, Amazon no longer needs that extra boost to prosper. It's size gives it more than sufficient buying power to be competitive on price, an ability to stock everything under the sun, and its concession to nexus on local warehouses enables it to provide fast delivery. Add to that the convenience of buying at home, a favorite of younger people who don't much like going to stores, and you have a huge winner. Some stock analysts are now predicting that Amazon will be the first company to achieve a $1 trillion value. Amazon may have lost the war on sales taxes, but it won the only one that matters – financial success.

 

But, at the beginning of this article, we said a new battle begins. What is left to fight? The answer is "marketplaces," and that might be you. Today, many sales on Amazon's website are not made by Amazon itself, but by smaller, independent sellers. Amazon does not collect sales taxes for those sellers unless those sellers request they do. My guess is there aren't many who request that service for states other than the one in which they are situated. They don't have to. Apparently, a substantial part of Amazon's sales are made by such sellers, possibly as much as 50%. There is a lot of potential sales tax revenue remaining out there to help fill state coffers. New York and a few other states are already planning legislation to demand such taxes be collected. Along with Amazon, there are other large businesses such as eBay, and countless smaller ones.

 

AbeBooks, the largest marketplace of independent booksellers, does not collect such taxes. On its website, the firm explains, "Due to the complexity of international and e-commerce tax laws, AbeBooks does not collect or remit any taxes or duties on behalf of our booksellers. Booksellers are responsible for the collection and payment of taxes for items sold through our websites." If you are an old, rare, or used book seller, the chances are you sell books in Abe's marketplace. Round two begins. Welcome to the next frontier!


Posted On: 2017-05-01 08:52
User Name: PeterReynolds

Do these laws require us to collect taxes? There is a megaseller whose listings say "we do not send to Denmark". But as far as I know the issue with Denmark only arises if you send a large quantity there in the course of a year. Would this be the case with US states? Having visited USA, I have always found the sales tax thing bizarre - that you can go into a dollar store where everything is a dollar but be required to pay more. Here in the UK VAT is "hidden" for retail purchases - only firms selling primarily to businesses advertise prices without our national sales tax already included (we don't have local sales tax). The reason why they are not included for businesses is that businesses claim the VAT on things they but back as a deduction from the VAT on things they sell.


Posted On: 2017-05-01 14:43
User Name: AE244155

At the moment, you would only have to pay a state sales tax if you have a presence in that state, which naturally you do not. Amazon now has a presence in so many states they concluded it was best to start collecting it for all. However, they only collect sales taxes on the items that they sell on behalf of themselves. They do not collect it on sales they make on behalf of independent vendors. Those companies that only sell on behalf independent vendors, such as eBay and AbeBooks, do not collect any sales taxes at all. That is likely to be the next target of states - forcing vendors like those to collect sales tax. The early such proposals are targeted to independent sellers with high volumes of sales, so most booksellers may escape such legislation if it is adopted anyway. My guess is eventually everyone will have to pay, but that is still many years away.

Americans have rejected VATs because we are suspicious of any new taxes, assuming they will be in addition to existing taxes (such as the sales tax) rather than in place of them. We also don't much like hidden taxes as they are easier to raise without our noticing it. Americans are more tax averse than Europeans!


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Sotheby’s Paris: Books & Manuscripts. 30 October 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> MARCEL PROUST. Du côté de chez Swann. Grasset, 1913. First edition. One of 5 copies on Japan paper, inscribed by the author to Louis Brun. Est. €400,000 - 600,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> Saint-Exupéry. <i>25 Autograph Illustrated Letters to his Friend Charles Sallès</i>. Est. €30,000-50,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> French Revolution, 1793. Déclaration des droits de l’Homme. 2,55 x 1,30m. A monumental wallpaper poster of the 1793 version, with hand-colored highlights. Unique copy. Est. €100,000 - 150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> GIAMBATTISTA PIRANESI. <i>Vedute di Roma</i>, 1748-1775. 107 etchings. An exceptional copy, printed and bound before 1780. Est. €50,000 - 80,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> Picasso, Pablo -- Fernando de Rojas. LA CÉLESTINE. [PARIS, EDITIONS DE L'ATELIER CROMMELYNCK, 1971.] One of the 30 copies hors commerce (n° X). 66 original etchings by Picasso. Signed. Est. €30,000 - €35,000

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