Booksellers Urged to Get Word Out About Prime Numbers

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    On April 4, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Civic Economics released a new report, Prime Numbers: Amazon and American Communities, detailing Amazon’s growing negative economic impact on American communities.

    Prime Numbers report coverThe report quantifies the retail space and employment displaced by Amazon and estimates uncollected sales tax for both Amazon and third-party sellers using its Marketplace. It demonstrates that “as Amazon and other online retailers grow, this shift is catching state and local governments by surprise. Sales tax collections are coming up short of expectations as products move into the community and are delivered to consumers undetected by revenue agencies. Commercial districts and shopping centers struggle to fill long-established spaces while far-flung distribution hubs rise from green fields.”

    In light of these findings, booksellers are encouraged to promote discussion and take action to ensure that Amazon competes with their stores on a level playing field. ABA and Civic Economics have made available a variety of resources to support booksellers’ efforts.

    At www.civiceconomics.com/primenumbers.html, booksellers can download the full report and find infographics depicting the report’s key findings. These include highlighted essential findings and heat maps of the United States showing Amazon’s uncollected sales tax.

    Prime Numbers: Amazon and American Communities State Summaries allow booksellers to select their state and access infographics detailing both the value of retail goods sold by Amazon and third-party vendors and graphics showing the number of displaced shops, displaced retail jobs, and uncollected sales tax by state.

    Additional infographics and images pertaining to the study are available for download in BookWeb.org’s DIY. These files include images that can be used for social media posts as well handouts summarizing the information revealed in Prime Numbers.

    Booksellers are encouraged to help increase the awareness regarding the implications of Amazon’s dominance for communities by promoting Prime Numbers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Suggested copy and instructions for social media posts are also available on BookWeb.org.

    On the advocacy front, booksellers in the 45 states with sales tax laws should have received an e-mail from ABA asking them to share the report with state and local officials. The Advocacy Action Kit offers template letters by state urging legislators to require Amazon — and other third-party marketplaces — to collect and remit sales tax on third-party sales. Additionally, booksellers can find template letters focused on how Prime Numbers’ findings pertain to antitrust law in ABA’s Antitrust Action Kit.

    Bookselling This Week would like to hear from booksellers who have found any of these materials useful. E-mail editorial@bookweb.org with details about your efforts.