The booksellers want us all to know that they're very hard done by. The tax system perversely benefits Amazon, not they themselves and Something Must Be Done.
British bookshops pay 11 times the rate of corporation tax paid by Amazon, according to a report that has prompted outrage from booksellers.
They also complain about the business rates system, of course:
The report, from economics consultancy the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), also revealed that UK bookshops pay £131m in tax (including £12m in corporation tax), equating to 91p per £100 of turnover, which is 11 times the amount of tax paid by online retailer Amazon, which contributes 8p per £100 of turnover.
The rates system we've dealt with elsewhere. Rates are a tax upon the landlord of the property you use. If you're using more expensive property, as a retail footfall place will, then your landlord will be charged more tax.
But the real joy to us here is of that argument about corporation tax which is, as we know, a tax upon profits. Usually the complaint is that the existence of profit means either that the consumer is being ripped off or the workers are not gaining the full value of their labour. Amazon doesn't do this both by lowering prices to the consumer and also paying its staff very well.
This is an outrage of course.
Which is where the chutzpah comes in. The booksellers are actually both insisting that they make more profit than Amazon - at least on a turnover basis - and that they are thus enriching the capitalists more than Amazon does, plus demanding that something be done about this appalling state of affairs so that they can continue to enjoy their higher profit margins.
What is it about the concept of a tax upon profits that they've missed?