Web Features

Locked "Set your price" mid-solution for Europe? Why not redeem profits as gift-coupon?

I have followed the "Set your price" issue for those of us in Europe. As you know Europeans do not have such an option available.

I do understand the statements made by Blurb, about having to examine European tax systems etc. for making it possible without any problems. Also, If I remember correctly, they say they have to state profits per country which makes it complicated etc. In such a case I bet that not all countries will be listed as eligible!

Other friends in this forum have proposed to use paypal for incurring profits, which to me seems logical but Blurb says it’s already being examined within the above framework.

So I would like to ask: Why not seek the following intermediary solution?

Everybody can set his/her price. Profits can be redeemed the normal way (if in the US). For the rest of us, why not use the redeemed profits as a gift-coupon for our next printing? No tax-issues are related to such an option, since all financial transactions are recorded within the same country (ie US or the Netherlands).

I guess not all people will be happy with this solution, but for some of us that publish books less frequently, it feels good if you can finance your next small book production with profits from the last one. Such an option, after all, may prove much better than nothing!

So, how about that?

Posted by
larios
Oct 9, 2007 5:28am PDT
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larios
 

This is a good compromise and well thought out. I would certainly sign up for that option until the matter is resolved properly.

However! All I* want in the meantime – until they get it all sorted for real – is to recognise that if you have a dotcom enterprise, your customers come from every country and the advertising of your services should take that into consideration.

At the moment the information on the site about setting the price is downright misleading until you get THREE pages in and then ONLY if you go looking.

I want it to say *US RESIDENTS ONLY on ALL the advertising for the Set Your Price. It wouldn’t take a gemius to change that wording and it would CERTAINLY stop a lot of the gripes in the meantime. I, for one, wouldn’t be complaining that I was misled had I seen that on the first page rather than :

Set Book Price

You set your price for your book. You keep the profits.
(Yes, it’s that simple.)

Start earning profits

For the vast majority of the WORLD it ISN’T that simple and it is rude of a company these days to alienate so many of their potential customers by being so USA focused.

Posted by
SusanCollins
Oct 9, 2007 5:58am PDT
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SusanCollins
 

Larios/Susan;

My feeling on this is that the issue is being blurred by Blurb for no apparent good reason!

I do not get dinged when I sell my anything on Amazon; I do not get dinged when I sell anything on eBay…

It is MY responsibility to report any profits I make directly to my tax authority on my annual tax return. If I fail to do so, then I am responsible – not Amazon or eBay or anybody else for that matter… and that is generally the case throughout the whole of Europe and the western world…

Come on Blurb – time to open things up here; it’s not rocket science!

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Oct 9, 2007 6:09am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Lee,

As for your question about “no rocket science”, how true. However, you need to try to understand that tax law and regulation in different country is complicated. Any company that goes into International business, THEY must comply with tax, business license and all other legal factors into compliance. If any business did not comply with law and regulations in that country, I can assure you that that government will go after the business failed to comply, that business will be fined, may be banned in doing the business, or face a lawsuit.

I believe that Blurb want to avoid that “illegal” business, they want to make sure that all of important legal issues, license, and of course eCommerce software, shipping application AND do the appropriate database to keep track of all of your book sales. Again, it varies from country to other, depends on what business tax law requires any company to report. In the case of US Treasury, IRS, all companies are required to file specific form, AND virtually all taxpayers are required to file, no matter what. IRS will know. I suspect that your tax authority/agency already know about everything about your salary or wage, or entrepreneur, they all know. They expect you to comply and file.

All in all, that is to say, it is very complicated, heavy-hand and serious stuff involved, it is not fun to set everything up. But that is what this is all about. It is not like opening your bank account instantly in person and your account open instantly and you can look into your banking online instantly, probably usually within 24 hours. It is not like that with the side of business or companies going into International market overseas. It is not like that. They have to go through painfully slow steps with license of doing business, and all that. Sometime Blurb doesn’t have any control over International government’s redtapes, it is totally beyond our or Blurb’s control.

Please try to understand and at least try to be patience. Supposedly, if Blurb is to headquartered in London, England, or in Paris, France, I can assure you that people like me here in the states complain about this, why didn’t Blurb offer this here in the states right away. Just because of same issues facing every International companies set up license, tax reporting and all. There are lot of things need to be done all together, it takes time. It takes MONTHS, if not a year, but taking some months. Some international government process things faster than others. I can tell you that US government agencies are famous for painfully slow as snail with all redtapes, and we all have to live with it. That is now it is, I guess.

Posted by
brianbonitz
Oct 9, 2007 10:26am PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Hi Brian;

Please don’t take this the wrong way – but your response is a prime example of the differences of approach to "the tax man" between Americans & us Brits or Europeans…

I am firmly of the "can-do" school of thought rather than the "can’t-do"...

As it happens I have a great deal of knowledge about dealing with different tax authorities in different countries, including the USA. I have run a very succesful small multi-national business for several years, and we sell our product through a great many channels, including our own sales-outlets, re-sellers, Amazon, eBay and others across the globe…

I cited the two prime examples of Amazon & eBay (successes in anybodys book – no pun intended!) since they are directly comparable to the business model that Blurb could easily employ if they stop listening to so-called "experts" who’s only interest is to put out scare tactics with the objective of lining their own pockets!

I concede that the IRS is "feared" far more by US citizens than we Europeans "fear" our authorities. That is NO reason why we Europeans should suffer from Blurb’s lack of creativity!

As I said above, it is MY responsibility to report MY income to MY tax authorities on MY annual return. Nobody else’s! If I am irresponsible – that is my look-out! I don’t need or want baby-sitters!

Don’t get me wrong; I try to bitch & complain positively because I think that Blurb has the making of a GREAT piece of software, has a GREAT potential product, and could be a real WINNER; but it is in VERY real danger of losing faith with its non-US user-base.

It is immensely frustrating in this global age when we Europeans deal with US companies that have such a closed-door approach to life outside the USA! It may of course just be fear of the unknown… If that’s the case – get somebody in who does know, and can do!

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Oct 10, 2007 2:19am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Anyone from Blurb?

Posted by
larios
Oct 11, 2007 2:27am PDT
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larios
 

Compensating via credit, as opposed to actual currency, is a good idea…and one we have been bantering about as a future enhancement to the Set Your Price program. That said, a credit remains a form of compensation and needs to be taken into consideration.

What you might interpret as quiet on this front is anything but. We have been busy prepping for the holiday season, getting v1.9 out the door, moving more of our books to the Indigo, bringing another printer on-board, implementing the Swiss Post shipping option, and a list of other deliverables. In parallel to this, I have been working with legal and accounting firms in the U.S. and throughout Europe to ensure we are accounting for the extension of this service properly. I think we have a workable solution and now need to assess the development required given we have a holiday deadlines fast approaching. I’ll pass along updates when I have them.

Posted by
norcaljhawk
Oct 11, 2007 11:46am PDT
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norcaljhawk
 

Thanks! I really appreciate your answer. Mostly though I appreciate your efforts!

Congrats.

 

 

Posted by
larios
Oct 11, 2007 12:01pm PDT
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larios
 

All….

I wanted to tell you that my ability to get this feature in before our internal development cut-off fell short.  Know that we are working on this feature and, currently the plan is to deploy it sometime in Q1.

I know this message will be received with a mix of disappointment and frustration and all I can say is that I apologize and appreciate your patience. 

Posted by
norcaljhawk
Nov 5, 2007 7:04pm PDT
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norcaljhawk
 

Great to know that something is happening but can anyone tell me what ‘Q1’ is? Thanks.

Posted by
pensans
Nov 6, 2007 12:47pm PDT
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pensans
 

Good question. In a lot of businesses, the year is divvied up into four quarters. Q1 = the first quarter, which is January – March. Q2 is the second quarter, which is April – June, and so on.

So, the hope is that we will have an International SYP feature ready by early next year.

Posted by
JackLyon
Nov 6, 2007 2:36pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Well that sounds fantastic. Great news, thank you. I look forward to it. Thanks Blurb.

Posted by
pensans
Nov 7, 2007 11:25am PDT
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pensans
 

Thanks pensans. We’re really looking forward to being able to offer this feature to all Blurb authors across the world. And thanks all for your patience.

Posted by
JackLyon
Nov 7, 2007 3:28pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

I am really happy about that too but wondered whether you could introduce a service to let us authors know how many books have been ordered via blurb even if we do not get any money from it. That would give me an idea of the convesarion rate between views and sales. Thank you by email would be great.

Posted by
downshifting
Nov 11, 2007 8:14am PDT
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downshifting
 

I appreciate your hard work. Thanks. And yes, would it be possible to know if there are sales on a given book anyway?

Posted by
frankieper
Nov 12, 2007 2:39am PDT
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frankieper
 

Totally agree with the OP (original post)... I would love this option even for US residents. No check in the mail, no taxes to pay, just free books / magazines from blurb (and at some point you might even join forces with bigger websites and offer coupon on – say – Amazon or other giants)

Is there any official statistic available for what is the average profit of any given published item on Blurb? My guess is less than a few hundred dollars is the average. So why go through all this hassle for a few hundred bucks? Just give the option to redeem the credit (to US and non US people) and only for US to request a check. This solves every problem and makes most of us happy anyways…

Thanks Blurb,

Francesco 

Posted by
gallarotti
Nov 21, 2007 1:25pm PDT
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gallarotti
 

Hi – any date for us europeans for the set your Price Pption or a viable alternative – Thanks

Posted by
naftalina007
Nov 22, 2007 3:09am PDT
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naftalina007
 

Q1, you say. Well, fingers crossed.

Posted by
shoesonwires
Nov 22, 2007 9:12am PDT
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shoesonwires
 

I am a Canadian planning to publish my first book soon, and I would like to offer yet another perspective on this debate.The book I am planning is about our travels in SE Asia, and I would like to use the profits from my book to help the children and families of Cambodia.  So no, I do not want credit with Blurb, I want real hard cash that I can donate to a good cause.  And I echo the comments that I am responsible for my taxes not Blurb, so I do not understand what all the fuss is about.  If I sell something on eBay I do not expect eBay to be responsible for my taxes, and quite rightly they are not.  So what exactly is the problem here?  Why cannot Blurb simply put my money into an account (like the PayPal model) that I can access control?  This system of mailing out physical cheques and charging a $5 processing fee is simply archaic.I understand Blurb that you are working on this, but please make it simple and elegant and stop fussing about the tax angle.  Why not simply partner with PayPal and allow us to manage our sales through them.  They charge a small commission but it would be worth it to get control.  This would also deal with the other issue I see raised on these forums, that of getting a record of who you sell to.  Well, if I sell something using PayPal I automatically get a record of who I sold to.

Posted by
glenlan
Nov 27, 2007 11:02am PDT
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glenlan
 

I agree with glenlan. I’d love to sell through Blurb, but as a Canadian, cannot. It’s time to resolve this issue. It can’t be THAT complicated.

Posted by
cantudoit2
Dec 3, 2007 12:32pm PDT
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cantudoit2
 

With all due respect for the posters here, you guys aren’t thinking this through.  Blurb is a start-up.  They have investers, lawyers, accountants and priorities.  For them to be a responsible company, they have to take them and the US and foreign tax entity’s requirements into account.  When dealing with multiple tax codes, it is THAT complicated.  They have at least as much interest in getting it up and running as all of you since it will drive book sales.  But, I suspect that a very high percentage of their sales are in the US and while they obviously want to encourage foreign sales they have to pay the bills, so their first priority has to be their largest market.  Suggested options such as Paypal, or credits don’t resolve the underlying issue of reporting that the IRS, and I’m sure others, require. Give them time to get it right. The first Windows was a nightmare, and Amazon and Ebay had serious shortcomings when they first started.  It’s an evolutionary process that has already resulted in huge improvements from when Blurb started less than 2 years ago.

Posted by
yonosey
Dec 5, 2007 10:24am PDT
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yonosey
 

I think that the whole thing is just wonderful that we can keep the profits made if we sell. I really think I have  a chance with this. How do you GET the profits though?

Posted by
howold
Jan 29, 2010 4:05pm PDT
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howold