floyduk's Posts

Blurb mentioned on PhotoWalkthrough
General Interest

I’ve already had a number of emailed questions frrom viewers about Blurb books, most of whom will go on to try Blurb out. And now that you’ve launched the international "set your own price" sales scheme I’ll be sure to mention your company again.

John

Posted by
floyduk
Mar 5, 2008 9:30am PDT
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floyduk
 
Blurb mentioned on PhotoWalkthrough
General Interest

I just wanted the Blurb folks to know that made mention of Blurb and how much I like the product on my latest show since I’m giving away a copy of my book as a competition prize. The show is about photography and post processing and you can find it at photowalkthrough.com. The blurb mention is towards the end of episode 63.

John

Posted by
floyduk
Feb 20, 2008 8:29am PDT
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floyduk
 
International Authors - code drones, scribe slaves and pariahs!
General Interest

That at least was a cogent and plausable explanation of what makes this difficult for blurb. Thanks for that.

What it really comes down to, though, is that this is something Blurb’s competitors can do.  As long as Blurb wants to play in the same paddling pool as big-boy Lulu they’re going to have to play by the big boy rules.

To put a nice spin on this – I want to give Blurb my business because they have a superior product. But right now I can’t and both Blurb and I are missing out on making some money as a result.

Posted by
floyduk
Feb 20, 2008 6:35am PDT
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floyduk
 
International Authors - code drones, scribe slaves and pariahs!
General Interest

First off – let’s not assume I know nothing about business. I’ve been a director in 3 UK Ltd companies and a managing director of one of them. My current company does a little business overseas but we don’t pay anyone royalties. I do understand sales tax fairly well, though. And this issue has nothing to do with sales tax. Your paragraph about Apple stores shows that you’re still talking about sales tax so let’s be really clear and define some terms.

Sales tax is a tax added to the cost of a sale when someone buys a product or service. In europe we call it VAT (value added tax) but it’s basically the same thing as american sales tax.

Income tax – I’m guessing most everyone who has a job knows what this is. ;-) It’s a tax on your income. ALL forms of income are taxed here in the UK and, I suspect, in most countries. That includes salary from a full time job, income from side-businesses, rent payments,  interest payments and so on.

Import duty – a tax levied on goods purchased overseas and imported into the country of the person buying the goods. 

Ok we’ve got those definitions out of the way. Let’s look at the actual thing I’m asking Blurb to do. I have a book that I’d like to publish on Blurb. I would like to get paid a royalty for the sale of each of my books. Let’s call me John and let’s call Blurb Blurb. Then let’s invent a customer who wants to buy my book. Let’s call him Fred.

Step 1: Fred comes to Blurb to buy John’s book. Blurb charges Fred for the book and adds sales tax.

Step 2: Blurb sends the book to Fred. If Fred is overseas from Blurb his purchase may trigger an import duty as it arrives in the country. If it does then Fred is resposible for paying it, not Blurb. 

Step 3: Blurb sends John a royalty payment.

Now for the important bit: 

Step 1 is a sale and attracts sales tax. The sales tax is between Blurb and Fred and their two governments. It has nothing at all to do with John.

Step 2 is not a sale and does not attract sales tax. Any import duty is Fred’s responsibilty. Likely the goods will not be delivered to Fred until he pays the duty.

Step 3 is not a sale and does not attrract sales tax. It is a royalty payment and is essentially income. John would have to delcare the income on his tax return and pay income tax on that royalty payment.

I simply do not believe  that an american company can be held responsible for collecting income tax for a UK citizen. We have a PAYE (pay as you earn) scheme for employers to do exactly that here in the UK but an american company could not join that scheme and in any case income tax is only collected under PAYE as a main salaried employment – not on side businesses.

John

Posted by
floyduk
Jan 6, 2008 5:09pm PDT
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floyduk
 
International Authors - code drones, scribe slaves and pariahs!
General Interest

Yes I’ve heard this argument before. I *could* buy books wholesale and then do the sales, order processing and delivery myself. But that’s a lot of work and expense. I want to spend my time producing my show – not selling my show merchandise. I want to pay Blurb to do that for me.

Tony’s points above are well made but once again we seem to be getting stuck on this notion that the problem is with charging VAT on books purchased and posted to the EU. What Blurb are saying they can’t do is pay *royalties* to EU authors. That wouldn’t be a VAT issue at all. It would be an income tax collection issue. I simply don’t believe that a US company can possibly be held responsible for collecting UK income tax. How would that tax be delivered back to the UK chancellor?

John

Posted by
floyduk
Jan 6, 2008 3:37pm PDT
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floyduk
 
International Authors - code drones, scribe slaves and pariahs!
General Interest

I’m confused. It seems like what you’re talking about is the need for US companies to charge EU VAT on sales to EU customers. That might or might not be true but it’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about payments to the authors, not charges to the book purchaser.

But regarding that EU VAT on purchases from USA companies thing – does that mean all those american companies selling to the EU without adding any sales tax are breaking EU law? USA law? And who is going to do anything about it?

John

Posted by
floyduk
Jan 4, 2008 10:42am PDT
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floyduk
 
An idea for international authors
General Interest

I was thinking about this question of how non-US citizens might be able to sell books through Blurb and I have an idea that I’d like to run past you folks.

If I was to sell my book to a customer and take payment for it myself through paypal, I could then place an order for the book through blurb myself and set the delivery address to my customer’s address. Blurb would then, presumably, ship the book to my customer wherever they are in the world. Blurb would get paid by me instead of my customer and I’d get to keep my cut of the sale price.

How does this sound? Clearly I would be responsible for any tax implications arising from this additional income. Blurb wouldn’t have to worry about that. And the only down-side to the process is really that it’s one extra step in the process where I have to basically re-type my customer’s order into the Blurb system.

Any thoughts?

John

Posted by
floyduk
Jan 4, 2008 8:49am PDT
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floyduk
 
a book by non u.s. citizen in blurb bookstore
General Interest

I’m confused. You produced a book – presumably by quite a bit of hard work. And then you handed it over to Blurb and said, "here, sell this and keep all the money"? Blurb must love you.

John

Posted by
floyduk
Jan 3, 2008 6:22pm PDT
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floyduk
 
International Authors - code drones, scribe slaves and pariahs!
General Interest

I’m pretty sure that the european VAT system is irrelevant to a US company. I believe there’s some kind of tax treaty in place. If there wasn’t then there are a great many companies starting with Google and Amazon that wouldn’t be able to pay royalties to international authors like they do.

I have had a book ready to roll out with Blurb since August last year. I’m desperately keen to publish it but unwilling to do so without getting paid. And I’m getting a bit peeved about how long this is taking to sort out. 

Can someone from Blurb please tell us if this is EVER going to happen and if so an approximate realistic idea of when? I no longer want to go on holding my breath here.

John

Posted by
floyduk
Jan 3, 2008 6:13pm PDT
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floyduk