I have mentioned many times that I’m an Amazon associate, and I have been very happy with Amazon. It look me years to build up to the point at which I regularly received a commission that allowed me to buy books, but I persevered. I still usually earn between $20-30 a month in gift certificates to Amazon, excepting the odd really good month, but that allows me to buy two or three books each month.
Some of the states have begun passing laws that require online retailers to charge sales tax, and as a result, Amazon is dropping associates in all of those affected states. I haven’t heard of any pending legislation in my home state of Georgia, but I admit the trend has me worried. Being an Amazon associate is what keeps me in books and allows me to run this blog. Affected states include California, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Connecticut—and soon, Arkansas. Massachusetts is also considering a law. If I were ever to move to any of these states, Amazon would drop me as an associate after more than 10 years. According to this New York Times piece, Amazon doesn’t have any fulfillment warehouses, corporate offices, customer service, or other facilities in Georgia, so I might personally never be affected, but it does have such facilities in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and it does not collect tax in any of these states. Amazon collects sales taxes in Kentucky, New York, Washington, North Dakota, and Kansas.
If Amazon is not willing to work with associates in states with these tax laws, then I hope they are at least informing associates when impending legislation is being considered in their state legislatures so they can choose whether to write their representatives or drop their affiliation with Amazon. A lot of associates are understandably angry and feel Amazon is throwing them under the bus. Amazon has indicated they plan to challenge the new law in California.