Amazon will soon start collecting sales tax from Florida residents. That is expected to bring an extra $80 million a year to the state coffers for politicians to squander on whatever program du jour meets their fancy. Florida residents might remember when gambling was supposed to bring new tax revenue for schools. The new funds did indeed to schools, which suffered matching cuts in funds from other areas for a net gain of about zero. Politicians in the state are quick to justify new revenue schemes by pointing out that the state has no income tax. So how about taking the new tax revenue and putting it toward much-needed books for schools? Maybe the state politicians aren’t aware that Amazon sells books at discount prices.
Meanwhile, rumors abound that Amazon is considering buying Sears and K-Mart. Well rumors at Forbes Magazine anyway. It is suggested that Amazon would benefit from such a move because it would pick up roughly 2,400 stores it could use for distribution and on-site pickup by consumers. Then, like Walmart, it could advertise “free delivery” (to a store they would ship to anyway) and become the darling of the big box stores. The average size of a K-Mart store is between 80-120,000 square feet, Sears stores run up to 225,000 square feet. That’s a lot of square footage (and rent) for a retail operation that was built on keeping overhead low by not having storefronts. Instead, perhaps Jeff Bezos at Amazon would consider buying Barnes & Nobles outlets and running them like bookstores.
Amazon purchased the discovery site GoodReads a while back and basically left it alone until now. It was just announced that a new feature will allow you to automatically roll your Amazon e-book purchases into your GoodReads list. While many people like the idea that no one can tell what they are reading on their daily train or bus commute, this new feature will let everyone you know on GoodReads see every embarrassing title you’ve purchased. One possible solution to this worrisome problem might be to shop at a bookstore and use a protective cover when traveling by public transport. Then again that might be far too simple.