• <b>Bonhams: History of Science and Technology. Wednesday, December 6, 2017. New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 95. Turing. <i>Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals</i>. Offprint. London, 1939. Robin Gandy's Copy. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 98. Zernike, Fritz. The 1953 Nobel Prize for Physics: The Invention of the Phase-Contrast Microscope. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 111. Apple 1 Computer, operational, with exceptional provenance. $400,000 to $600,000
    <b>Bonhams: Voices of the 20th Century. Wednesday, December 6, 2017. New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 1074. Bruce, Lenny. An unreleased 16 mm film by "Count" Lewis DePasquale featuring Lenny Bruce. $7,000 to $10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 1254. Hirohito. Manuscript in Japanese, "The Emperor's Monologue," transcribed by Terasaki Hidenari. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 1095. Goldman. Emma. Large archive of correspondence, much of it to Warren Starr Van Valkenburgh. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: History of Science and Technology. Wednesday, December 6, 2017. New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 109. Wozniak and Jobs. The First Digital "Blue Box", Berkeley, 1972. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 46. Newton, Isaac. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. 1st issue. London, 1687. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 49. Newton. Autograph Manuscript in English, a portion of a draft of Newton's study on revelation. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams: Voices of the 20th Century. Wednesday, December 6, 2017. New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 1027. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1st edition, 1st issue. Scribners, 1925. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 1042. Hemingway., Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls. Presentation copy, one of 15 copies. Scribners, 1940. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 6:</b> Lot 1215. A 48-star American Flag, flown from LCT-703, sunk on Omaha Beach, December 1944. $15,000 to $20,000
  • <b>Les Collections Aristophil:<br>December 20, 2017</b>
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> SAINT-EXUPERY, ANTOINE DE. Kodachrome Film (16mm) showing Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Consuelo on a boat, 1942. JOINED: Guestbook for the Boat, signed, with a drawing of the Little Prince. 15 000 to 20 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> CANDEE, HELEN CHURCHILL. Autograph manuscript. TITANIC, 40 leaves. Original account of the most famous shipwreck, by a survivor of the ordeal. 300 000 to 400 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> TITANIC. Collection of 7 documents relating to the shipwreck of the Titanic (14 April 1912). 20 000 to<br>30 000 €
    <b>Les Collections Aristophil:<br>December 20, 2017</b>
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> DUPLEIX DE CADIGNAN, JEANBAPTISTE. Signed autograph manuscript. Thirty years of memoirs related to military services and important information on the American War of Independence.<br>40 000 to 50 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> CURTIUS. Faiz et Conquestes d'Alexandre [Histoire d'Alexandre le Grand]. In French, illuminated manuscript on paper and parchment, 16 large miniatures. 300 000 to<br>500 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> NELSON, HORATIO. Signed autograph letter, ‘Nelson & Bronte,” aboard the Amazon, 14 October 1801, addressed to Sir William Hamilton. 4 000 to 5 000 €
    <b>Les Collections Aristophil:<br>December 20, 2017</b>
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> GIROLAMO FRANCESCO MARIA MAZZUOLI DIT LE PARMESAN. Le couple amoureux. Pen and brown ink. 80 000 to 120 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> SADE, DONATIEN-ALPHONSE-FRANÇOIS, MARQUIS DE. Autograph manuscript. The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage, 1785.<br>4 000 000 to 6 000 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> MIRÓ, JOAN. Signed autograph correspondence to Thomas and Diane Bouchard (1949-1976). 50 000 to 60 000 €
    <b>Les Collections Aristophil:<br>December 20, 2017</b>
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> BALZAC, HONORÉ DE. Signed autograph manuscript, Ursule Mirouët, [1841]. One of only two manuscripts of novels by Balzac in private hands. 800 000 to<br>1 200 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> LENOIR, ALEXANDRE. Essai sur l'histoire des arts en Egypte pouvant servir d'appendice au grand ouvrage de la Commission. autograph manuscript with numerous additions and corrections. 40 000 to 50 000 €
    <b>Collections Aristophil, Dec. 20:</b> SCHRÖDINGER, ERWIN. Autograph manuscript [Spring 1946, sent to Albert Einstein]. 1 500 to 2 000 €
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14:</b> William Oden Waller studio, <i>Manhattan Mary</i>, gouache and graphite, 1927. Sold for $77,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28:</b> Missionary archive of Samuel W. and Gideon H. Pond, Minnesota, 1833-93. Sold for $112,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:</b> Richard Hakluyt, <i>Novus Orbis</i>, first printed use of “Virginia” on a map, Paris, 1587. Sold for $80,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17:</b> Aegidius Romanus, <i>Lo libre del regiment dels princeps</i>, first edition in Catalan, Barcelona, 1480. Sold for $50,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> William Faulkner, <i>The Marble Faun</i>, first edition, signed & inscribed, Boston, 1924. Sold for $22,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5:</b> Henry Ossawa Tanner, <i>Flight into Egypt</i>, oil on canvas, circa 1910. Sold for $341,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>The Lonely House</i>, etching, 1923. Sold for $317,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7:</b> George Washington, Autograph Letter Signed, to his spymaster Benjamin Tallmadge, New Jersey, 1780. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:</b> Saul Leiter, <i>Waiter, Paris</i>, chromogenic print, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: </b> A. M. Cassandre, <i>Normandie / Maiden Voyage</i>, 1935. Sold for $20,000.
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio!</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio!</b>

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>Cowan’s Auctions: Fine Books, Including the Alan Culpin WWI Art Collection – Live Online Auction. Dec. 18, 2017</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> Unique Association Copy of Signed Limited Roosevelt, African Game Trails, Extra-Illustrated. $5,000 - 7,500
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> 24 Volumes Henry James in 1/2 Morocco - Alvin Langdon Coburn Frontis Illustrations. $3,000 - $5,000
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> French Surrealism by Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, 1930 Limited Edition in Lovely Condition. $3,000 - $5,000
    <b>Cowan’s Auctions: Fine Books, Including the Alan Culpin WWI Art Collection – Live Online Auction. Dec. 18, 2017</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> Unique and Beautifully Written Manuscript of 650 Quarto Pages - Unpublished History of Belle-Isle-En-Mer, 1754. $3,000 - $5,000
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> William Beebe's Classic 4 Volume Work on "The Pheasants," Signed and Inscribed in 1919. $2,000 - $3,000
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> Three Volumes of Washington's War Era Letters Published in New York in 1796. $1,500 - $2,000
    <b>Cowan’s Auctions: Fine Books, Including the Alan Culpin WWI Art Collection – Live Online Auction. Dec. 18, 2017</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> 19th C. Vintage Album with 48 Sepia Toned Albumen Prints by Fratelli Alinari et. al.<br>$1,500 - $2,000
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> Report of Phipps' Voyage in 1773 In Search of a Passage to India Via the North Pole. $1,500 - $2,000
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> 17 Volumes of Wallace's American Trotting Register, 1874-1891. $1,500 - $2,500
    <b>Cowan’s Auctions: Fine Books, Including the Alan Culpin WWI Art Collection – Live Online Auction. Dec. 18, 2017</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> Rare First English Edition of Monardes, Joyfull Newes, 1577, Woodcut Illustrations.<br>$1,500 - $3,000
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> 6 Volume Shakespeare Presented to Virginia Congressman Involved in the "Trent Affair". $1,200 - $1,500
    <b>Cowan’s, Dec. 18:</b> Classic Lothar Meggendorfer Movable Book Complete with 8 Chromolithograph Plates, Ca. 1890. $750 - $1,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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