Friday, September 6, 2013

Can We Charge A Book Tax?

So many times I pay a toll, a tax, a service fee, or some kind of “extra” and I often question why. It seems it’s getting worse. If only books could be sold this way, as some kind of mandatory expenditure, would the industry flourish.

On a recent hotel stay in Toronto I recall paying a local tax, a provincial or federal tax, some energy use fee, and some other baloney charge. The hotel also charged a parking fee. What’s next? A cost to take a shower, turn on a light, or go to the toilet?

When I bought tickets to a baseball game online, I paid a “service fee,” a “handling fee,” and a “shipping fee.” However, I used a computer without talking to a customer service rep and I printed my tickets out from my computer. What a joke.

There’s just no honesty to all of these charges. They are mere excuses or attempts to legitimize their successful attempt to hose consumers. The business gets to advertise a lower, draw-you-in price and then hit you with taxes, fees, and charges that become so exorbitant and abusive.

Though I abhor the process, maybe we should sell books this way.

The cover price might seem appealing but once your are lured in, why not have the consumer pay add-on fees such as a “paper surcharge” or a “digital device tax?”

Or even better, maybe the purchase of a book can be the add-on tax or fee that people pay for something else that they’ve purchased. For instance, for every movie ticket that you buy, there’s a $12.99 surcharge that gets you a trade paperback book. Or, the next time you shop online for a washing machine you automatically pay $1.99 for an e-book tax.

To encourage literacy and more book sales, we should tax people when they take anti-book actions. It’s like paying a sin tax, only one pays for not buying a book.

Basically, every man, woman, and child needs to spend $100 a year on some form of book, and we’d have a healthy $31 billion industry. One way or another, society’s entrepreneurs or governments will figure out how to generate revenue to support the publishing world.

Have you paid your reading surcharge today? Get in line.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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