This week, the American Booksellers Association began adding state-specific fact sheets to the E-Fairness Action Kit (E-FACT) on BookWeb.org, ABA's member website. Fact sheets are now available for California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Mexico, and Tennessee. Over the next month, ABA will add fact sheets for each of the states that collect sales tax but do not yet have e-fairness laws. ABA launched E-FACT in January to provide booksellers with a wide array of state-specific tools to help them in their e-fairness outreach efforts.
"These fact sheets will provide legislators with hard data about the economic value that independent booksellers as a whole bring to the state," said Oren Teicher, ABA CEO, who stressed that no bookstore-specific data is included in the fact sheets. "By combining the data from these facts sheets with anecdotal, frontline information as to how the current sales tax inequity is negatively impacting their business, a bookseller has the ammunition to make a solid case for sales tax fairness," Teicher said, adding that the fact sheets are great "leave behinds" following face-to-face meetings with legislators or their staff.
The fact sheets provide general economic data on independent bookselling in each state. This includes:
- Overall annual sales for the state's ABA bookstore members;
- Total sales tax collection;
- Number of ABA bookstore locations in the state;
- Approximate number of people employed by independent bookstore members; and
- Estimated overall payroll.
For booksellers in the 42 states that collect sales tax but do not have e-fairness legislation, E-FACT provides booksellers with state-specific template letters to their state legislators and governor calling for e-fairness. Booksellers can simply go to E-FACT and navigate to their state, where they will find the relevant documents that can be adapted and then e-mailed to the appropriate person. In the coming weeks and months, E-FACT will also include op-ed pieces, FAQs, relevant articles, and practical suggestions for advocating on behalf of e-fairness.
"No one can more effectively advocate on behalf of sales tax equity than indie booksellers," said Teicher. "A visit or call to your state legislators can be a major factor in getting sales tax fairness introduced in your state, or in getting a bill passed. Moreover, if you know a state legislator personally or professionally, we urge you to speak to him or her about this critical issue -- or, if you prefer, let us know and provide us with an introduction to the legislator."
Booksellers who have questions, need assistance, or want more information on ABA's e-fairness efforts should contact Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at (914) 373-6662 or via e-mail at email@example.com.