Friday, 1 April 2011

Why we're not Kindling yet...


This looks like an absolute no-brainer, however, it is not quite what it seems. What could and should be a great leap into the future will falter at the first hurdle. It looks great. Publish direct to Amazon Kindle and you don’t even need a publisher. An author or publisher will get 70% of the price Amazon charges and we set the price. It takes seconds to upload your book. Just think, you could bring out all of those out of print books whose rights have reverted to you. Or one that is for such a niche market, no publisher will touch it.

Amazon Kindle UK now exists but because all the publishing actually happens in the States, they will withhold 30% for tax.

If you have an American tax number that says you are exempt from US tax, they will let you have everything and then it’s up to you to report your earnings to the UK authorities. However, they will not issue the letter you need to prove to US tax people that they may be holding some of your money. Smashwords will issue this letter incidentally. Even with the letter, you have to risk your passport being sent to Texas for three months. Or you can go to a US approved notary and pay £400+ for the privilege of having a copy made. You can go and get it done at the US Embassy and I have heard of one person sending her passport special delivery and getting it back a few days alter by special delivery. Maybe a day in London wouldn’t be so bad. Whatever happens, it will probably take three months. Once you have that number, though, it does mean you can open a US bank account. You could then have your money paid directly into that.So, it’s difficult even for individuals.

Small publishers face even more problems. The US tax form does not seem to recognise the term LLP. Bridge House is being knocked back every time we say we are that sort of company. We certainly do not match the other types they describe.

Amazon suggests you ask your tax advisor. We did. The best they could suggest is that one of us opens a US bank account as an individual. This does not seem a very good way of doing business.

Some have suggested telling the UK Inland Revenue that the US is withholding payment. Apparently, they’ve been awarded tax refunds.

Oh, and one final Amazon nicety. Even with the US tax number, they are still deducting the 30% from your earnings. They have forgotten to change the forms!

We really must get this sorted.

Let’s hope that these are just teething troubles. The Kindle is really exciting. We want our books out there on it. Lots of people are how talking about it, so lets hope it gets solved soon. At the moment, we daren’t risk your royalties.

3 comments:

Jarmara Falconer said...

Wow, how very interesting! They don't tell you that in the small print. Thank you for sharing this with us. Good Luck Bridge House, I hope all works out for you all

jean said...

I am an author who has been published every which way, conventionally and self-, and have been gnashing my teeth over kindle hurdles for 3 years now, from amazon.com to amazon.co.uk .I have now uploaded via kindle but I have also uploaded via smashowrds (currently the only way a non-US publisher can reach some of the other platforms) I did wonder why Bridgehouse wasn't taking the e-book route and I wonder whether the publishers who have are paying the 400. Incidentally, that explains why texas rejected my tax form - with no explanation as to WHAT was wrong with it!

Creative said...

Bridge House actually does have an e-book out there and so far we've been paid .... not a single cent! it's actually a charity that is being deprived.
The £400 isn't the problem - it would come out of the cost of the book - i.e. our profits.Even a trip to London would be okay. None of that helps. They just will not pay an LLP. We have heard a rumour that it's to do with terrorist organisations.
I mentioned it at Society of Authors last week abd Penny Grubb of ALCS later confirmed other horror stories she'd found after she got home.
But Amazon needs to do something: if it's not sorted soon, publishers will stop publishing to Kindle.
Smash Words act with integrity, actually.

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